The Story of Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity

It’s fascinating how some songs can trigger an emotional response so strong that it can easily shatter down all the walls we keep on building around our hearts. I’ve always said that one important strength of a song comes from its ability to let people feel vulnerable for a few minutes. We live in a world where the constant hardships of life turned many people into emotionally-constrained beings, rarely letting go and allowing sincere feelings, even sadness, to pass by their existence. I didn’t want to get too philosophical but that’s how I see it – a song can be the perfect outlet through which we can experience emotions and feelings we keep on stuffing deep down inside our souls. For me personally, Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity is one such song. Every time I listen to the haunting acoustic intro and Geoff Tale’s thrilling vocal performance, I feel this immense doze of sadness and pain that is actually freeing me from my apathetic prison, called daily life. To me, it’s a song that lets me get out of my comfort zone and for that I will always appreciate it. Honestly, before it became such a huge part of my life, I had no idea how commercially successful it was. With this in mind I thought that maybe this gorgeous tune touched the hearts of many people like me who would love to read a few selected pieces of interesting information about it, along with my interpretations!


– The American progressive metal band Queensrÿche has had a long and immensely prolific career. However, to the general audience “Silent Lucidity” remains their most famous and instantly recognizable tune. Written by the band’s lead guitarist Chris DeGarmo, this rock symphony was the second single from their highly successful 1990 record, titled “Empire”.

– The power ballad was accepted with open arms from both fans and critics. Grammy nominations, MTV awards, top chart positions in the USA and the UK – just a few of its notable achievements. There was no way this song could have failed; you don’t get to listen to such euphonious rock creation every day.

– “Silent Lucidity” was placed at number 21 on VH1’s list of “Greatest Power Ballads”! Personally, I think this is a well-deserving spot and definitely in my top 30 as well!

“I love that song. I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful piece. And although I didn’t write it, I had a lot to do with shaping the destiny of that track through my melodic contributions and the way I sang it, and also in the mixing of the song and that kind of thing.
It had a strange beginning. It started out as simply just acoustic guitar and voice. And it wasn’t until we were almost finished with the record, just in the last week of working on the record, that we added all the other instrumentation to it,” said Queensrÿche‘s lead singer Geoff Tate in an interview for Songfacts.

– In terms of instrumentation, “Silent Lucidity” impresses with its humble but shivering acoustic intro that skilfully builds up tension before it finally reaches the point of absolute tranquillity. The instantly recognizable opening riffs, along with the lines “Hush now, don’t you cry, wipe away the teardrop from your eye…” is in my opinion the best part of the song. I have always said that a song needs to have a strong intro and this right here is the perfect example of how it should be done! Brahm‘s “Lullaby”, played be a cello at the end of the song is another pleasant moment of the tune. Soothing rhythm, mesmerizing melody and quiet, but truly powerful symphonic composition – “Silent Lucidity” is the perfect song for your trip to serenity.

– It would be very difficult to come up with just one interpretation of the lyrics of Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity. So many things are happening within those words; not to mention that some of the lines carry a subjective meaning to different people. Obviously, one thing we can all agree on is that the song is about lucid dreaming  – a state in which dreamers are fully aware that they are dreaming and are able to exercise some control over their actions in the dream. Such an intriguing concept for a song!

‘Silent Lucidity’ is probably one of the most genuinely out there things we’ve ever done. It’s about what they call ‘lucid dreaming’. Or ‘dream-control’. Basically, just opening up the doors to your subconscious mind, and learning how to master your dreams. Actually be able to steer and control them,” said guitarist Chris DeGarmo for Kerrang! Magazine in 1990.

– If you are lucid dreaming, you are capable of taking the wheel and basically do what you feel like doing – you are free to explore this new world and be yourself. I know that the song is addressing this specific phenomenon, but metaphorically, to me the lyrics represent people’s personal growth as they break down the strong walls, built around their souls – “The walls you built within come tumbling down and a new world will begin.” Furthermore, another interpretation I have for the lyrics is that they are a message to people who must embrace death and cross-over to a new magical dimension – a new world where you can feel safe, free to fly, learn how to control your life and where all of your dreams are alive, waiting for you – “…You’re safe from pain in the dream domain, A soul set free to fly…”

Live at 1991 MTV Awards


“Silent Lucidity” Lyrics

Hush now, don’t you cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You’re lying safe in bed
It was all a bad dream
Spinning in your head
Your mind tricked you to feel the pain
Of someone close to you leaving the game of life
So here it is, another chance
Wide awake you face the day
Your dream is over… or has it just begun?

There’s a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run through in the night
Relax child, you were there
But only didn’t realize and you were scared
It’s a place where you will learn
To face your fears, retrace the years
And ride the whims of your mind
Commanding in another world
Suddenly you hear and see
This magic new dimension

I- will be watching over you
I- am gonna help you see it through
I- will protect you in the night
I- am smiling next to you, in Silent Lucidity

[spoken during solo]
(Visualize your dream)
(Record it in the present tense)
(Put it into a permanent form)
(If you persist in your efforts)
(You can achieve dream control)
(Dream control)
(How are we feeling today, better??)
(Dream control, dream control)
(Help me)

If you open your mind for me
You won’t rely on open eyes to see
The walls you built within
Come tumbling down, and a new world will begin
Living twice at once you learn
You’re safe from pain in the dream domain
A soul set free to fly
A round trip journey in your head
Master of illusion, can you realize
Your dream’s alive, you can be the guide but…

I- will be watching over you
I- am gonna help to see it through
I- will protect you in the night
I- am smiling next to you….


References:
Lyrics retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
“Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5856
“Silent Lucidity” Official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Lucidity
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Behind the Lyrics of EAGLES’ “Hotel California”

This informative publication is for all the people who still, after all those years, believe that Eagles’ biggest hit single “Hotel California” (1977) is a song about a hotel…in California. In a recent conversation I had, I was once again reminded that even though the popularity of the track is immensely high – on a worldwide level, the lyrics continue to remain misinterpreted, even from people who claim they are fans. Of course, that is somehow understandable because the true meaning of the song is very well-disguised in clever words and genius metaphors. I grew up with Eagles and even as a kid with quite limited English language skills, I could somehow sense that there’s so much more behind that generic title. I will briefly talk about the lyrics and how to correctly interpret them. For those of you who already know, you can just sit back and listen to the song!

eagles-hc

“On just about every album we made, there was some kind of commentary on the music business, and on American culture in general. The hotel itself could be taken as a metaphor not only for the myth-making of Southern California, but for the myth-making that is the American Dream, because it is a fine line between the American Dream, and the American nightmare,” said Don Henley in a 2013 documentary.

Don Henley has actually given a lot of interpretations of this song, all of them somehow connected and adding to each other, following a similar theme. Let’s trace back some of the things, officially stated about this track.

– “A sociopolitical statement.”

– “It was really about the excesses of American culture and certain girls we knew. But it was also about the uneasy balance between art and commerce.”

– “It’s a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America which was something we knew about.”

– “It’s a song about a journey from innocence to experience.”

– “We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest. Hotel California was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.”

There have been many “wild interpretations” of the song, especially when it was first released back in 1977. Everyone was simply obsessed with finding out what was the deal with that hotel (some people even thought it was all about drugs).
Basically, what we have to understand is that every little word is a giant metaphor for losing sacred things in life like youth, humility, innocence and goodness and falling for corruption, immorality and selfishness. “Hotel California” is a cynical piece of art, telling us that the integrity of people and consequently the American dream are long gone and all we fight for nowadays is simply…money and fame. LA has always been seen as this beautiful, gorgeous place, full of opportunities, happy people and fulfilled desires. However, that may not be necessarily the case. The track tells us the exact opposite – LA is not a paradise and what happens underneath the lights is highly disturbing and definitely sinful.

~The way I see it…

To me this song was always about the greed and depravity of the music industry and the wicked businessmen who ruthlessly control everyone and everything in the scene. Not that things have changed much since the mid-70s – music is a business and will always been seen that way. Los Angeles was and still is the mecca of the music scene. We have to think about the time period too. By 1977, big companies were already investing millions of dollars and fighting for music domination. Music started to be seen as a serious money-making business when the Beatles conquered the world so it was natural for the corporate side of music to keep on expanding and finding ways to get more and more money. I think Eagles did a brilliant job with the lyrics, exposing how evil, shallow and wrong this whole industry was at that time. For instance the last line – You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!– …tells me that the artist are working for a label and they have contractual obligations so they can’t have their freedom.

Furthermore, the chorus – Welcome to the Hotel California, Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face” is obviously a well-written sarcasm. Even Don Henley sings it with a little bit of bitterness, adding to the whole metaphoric experience of the track.“Plenty of room at the Hotel California” – there will always be a place for more and more, but there is a price…

Finally, I would like to finish by saying that it is indeed quite difficult to fully interpret and make sense of this song. To many people it’s about drugs or just simply committing to a world full of money, fame and sin. What I want to emphasize on, though, is that this song is NOT about a random hotel in California and this song has a METAPHORIC meaning, definitely open to interpretation. Any thoughts?

 

Lyric Video

Hotel California Lyrics

🎶 On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say… Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! ” 🎵💕🎶

 


References:
“Hotel California” Songfacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1121
“Hotel California”, retrieved from https://jdmitchelldesigns.wordpress.com/tag/hotel-california-was-our-interpretation-of-the-high-life-in-los-angeles/
“Hotel California” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California
“Hotel California” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~