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Time capsules are a trendy way of preserving the past for a period of time, in hopes of capturing physical proof of the advances in our society. Therefore, I am not surprised that many educational institutions have embraced the concept of a time capsule. However, this creates a problem: How can singular items be chosen to represent multitudes of ideas, creations, and people? The only logical conclusion to this dilemma is to allow those being represented to choose an example that they feel best represents the majority, which in this case would be the entire class. Therefore, as a fellow classmate, I feel that The Verveís ìBitter Sweet Symphony would be an excellent choice for the time capsule because all aspects of the song have the ability to symbolize our class.
Music is composed of many different parts: the melody, bass, and accompaniment. In the bass line of ìBitter Sweet Symphony there is a reoccuring music strain that is heard throughout the entire piece. This is an example of a recording process known as sampling, in which a small portion of an already existing song is reproduced and inserted into a new song. In this case, The Verve was able to utilize the Rolling Stoness The Last Time in collaboration with their own music to invent a new sound. Just as The Verve took a sound from the past, students are taking the experiences and knowledge of the past as they embark on the new millenium. We are not repeating our past failures, but instead are molding them into something that can be adapted into a new concept and a new way of thinking. Mistakes of the past can lead to the triumphs in our futures. As lyricist, lead singer, Richard Ashcroft states, just take [what is given to you] and use your imagination (Bittersweet Triumph). The use of sampling also symbolizes how our past and our heritage will always surround us and be our base. Together we are able to create a melody that will stand out and be something more beautiful and unique than before. The sample of The Last Time is heard throughout the entire song, just as our different cultures are always present in our lives.
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Life is like a rollercoaster, full of ups, downs, twists, and turns, moments of fear, and rushes of total exhilaration. Bitter Sweet Symphony embodies this concept with lyrics that personify not only lifeís truimphs and pain, but also an individualís ability to overcome both. Richard Ashcroft sounds off about the futility of cradle-to-grave existence, while simultaneously repeating the concept of possible change (Willmott). This sounds like the work of unbeatables, people who've been through all the madness they can take and come out of the other side stronger than every (Willmott). I feel that this exemplifies not only our classroom, but the entire UTD campus. Noo neís life is without struggle or heartache, and everyday students are faced with seemingly unbeatable odds. However, with a little strength and faith, and taking life one breath at a time, humans are able to ìmake ends meetî (Dark Star).
Prejudicial stereotypes are unfortunately a common occurence in this day and age. Everyday, people are classified into a certain ìmold, one which may or may not be an accurate representation of true character. For example, even on the first day of Rhetoric 1302, students were looking around the classroom analyzing the other students, trying to fit them into a mold based on previously obtained stereotypes. Students looked for physical traits that might represent to them a common ground on which to base a conversation. Incidents like this happen in most everyday situations. Whether we accept our molds, or struggle to break free of them is purely free will. In the chorus, Ashcroft states that he is ìa million different people from one day to the nextî (Ashcroft). This is not the ramblings of a directionless, schizophrenic freakshow, but instead a spiritually charged attack on societys stereotypes (Willmott). We all have the ability to change and we should look for that ability in others instead of making hasty generalizations about another personís character. Ashcrofts lyrics are written from a ìuniversal mind and employ the listener to embrace a more dangerous, more free ìstate of mind (Bittersweet Triumph). This is a positive message designed to help persuade the listener to analyze his/her own state of mind, hoping to bring about change.
Bitter Sweet Symphonys smooth melodies possess a timeless quality that will not only accurately represent our classroom now, but also in the years to come. The Verve wrote this song with the intention of creating a sound that was ahead of its time (Bittersweet Triumph). As we embrace the new millenium, we are witnessing the future unfold before our eyes. Music styles may change over years, but this epic, lushly orchestrated piece of music with a powerful lyrical hook is capable of continuing to touch audiences in the future (Powell). The fact that popularity of The Rolling Stoneís The Last Timeî is still existant is proof that this selection has enduring attributes. The mixture of classical instuments, modern composition, and universal lyrics create a sound that not only can be appreciated by current generations, but may also transcend itself into a new interpretation that will be representive of future generations.
Ashcroft was taught at a young age by his step-father about the concept of visualization. He sums up this idea as ìbeing able to construct the future, to somehow have an influence over the future (Bittersweet Triumph). Taking this knowlege, Ashcroft tried to create a sound that would be ubiquitous, and I feel that he has succeeded. Bitter Sweet Symphony represents all aspects of life: sex and violence, melody and silence (Ashcroft). The song juxtaposes seemingly negative lyrics with positive images of the ability to change, and to escape from stereotypes and molds. The music surpasses most contemporary its time, with a sound that is ìimmense from the word ëgoí, and is capable of inspiring future generations (Willmott). Therefore, I feel that The Verves Bitter Sweet Symphony would be an excellent choice for the UTDs time capsule because of the songs limitless ability to symbolize our classroom.
Ashcroft, Richard. ìBitter Sweet Symphony. Urban Hymns. Perf. TheVerve. Virgin Records, 1997.
Bittersweet Triumph. Rolling Stone. June 1998.
Dark Star. The Face. Sept 1997.
Powell, Betsy. ìBitter Sweet Success. Toronto Star. <http://drakh.ocd.net/~ssharma/verve/interview/30.shtml>.
Willmott, Ben. Single of the Week. NME. 14 June 1997.
Whiley, Jo. The Jo Whiley Show. Interview with Richard Ashcroft.