I’ll start with the obvious, the most commonly used figure of speech in songs‘ lyrics in the whole wide universe according to me: metaphor. And it’s best example, “Indak,” by Up Dharma Down, where dancing with another is used as metaphor for having an affair.
O iindak na lamang sa tibok ng puso mo
At aasahan ko na di mo tatapakan ang aking mga paa
The story in the song though, is open-ended. To know what happened to Armi Millare, you have to listen to this. Never gonna dance again—just as I thought.
Then, for non-beginners, there’s dream within a dream, and there’s metaphor and simile within a metaphor. Like in the first verse of Eraserheads’ “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong.”
Hika ang inabot ko
Nang piliting sumabay sa’yo
Hanggang kanto ng isipan mong
Parang sweepstakes, ang hirap manalo
The whole verse is a metaphor for arguing with someone (a girlfriend, whom the frequency of winning an argument with, is rare as steak), while “kanto ng isipan” is the metaphor and “parang sweepstakes,” the simile within. (Not really sure if a whole verse can be considered or taken as one big metaphor. In case not, then, fine.)
And since we already touch on simile, we can now move to Moonstar 88’s “Ligaw” where the lyrics switches from metaphor to simile then back to metaphor. But before that, the title and chorus of the song is also a play the word “ligaw” which is used to mean “to get lost” but is actually also referring to “ligawan” which means “to court” or “courtship.”
Hayaan mo akong basahin ka
Para ka kasing tula
Sana ako’y iyong katugma
Another favorite from the same song:
Ano ‘tong dagang gumagapang sa akin dibdib?
The last line, however, while clearly meant for feeling nervous, excited, or her heart beating faster, as in “may daga sa dibdib,” I can’t help but sometimes take literally—the image that’s conjured in my head is that of a rodent crawling on top of a lady’s bosom. Maybe it’s the result of watching too many horror movies or maybe, it’s because the word gumagapang (crawling) isn’t really accurate for the feeling it’s used to describe. So, the brain is confused to associate the words with the old idiomatic expression.
Pero ito, malamang hindi mo ito alam. Kanta ito ng Rivermaya mula sa album na Tuloy Ang Ligaya. Title nito “Karayom,” si Mike Elgar ang sumulat at kumanta.
Natusok ka ng isang karayom
Na gingamit mong pantahi ng butas na palda mo
Talagang ganyan, ‘wag kang matakot
Hayaan mo at bukas ay wala na ang kirot.
Matagal-tagal ko rin inisip kung metaphor ba ito. Mga isang minuto. O lyrics lang na may double meaning. O di kaya innuendo? O di kaya, isa itong idiomatic expression? Sa komiks ko unang nabasa ang kwentong tulad nito. Dun sa kwento, nakita nung nanay yung anak niyang babae na may dugo sa palda. Alam ng nanay na ang boyfriend ang huli nitong kasama. Sabi ng dalaga, natusok daw siya ng karayom. Iba ang inisip ng nanay. Inisip nito na isinuko na ng anak niya ang Bataan, ang proverbial na Bataan. Syempre, yung ending, pinakita na naupuan lang pala nung dalaga ang karayom na naiwan sa ibabaw ng kama na siyang dahilan upang matusok siya sa puwet.
Sa likod ng mga tala
Kahit sulyap lang Darna
Noong una, ang naiisip ko sa linyang ito ay yung tipong may exaggeration, na para bang habang lumilipad si Darna, sa kalangitan, o sa likod ng mga tala o mga butuin, ay sana ay masulyapan o mapansin ka niya. Di ko alam kung may super zoom-in vision si Darna o kung makikita ka niya habang nasa ulap siya at nasa lupa ka at nakatingala sa kanya. Pero sabi ko nga exaggeration. Di naman literally lumilipad siya sa kalawakan o sa likod ng mga butuin, pwede naman na lumilipad lang siya, mababa lang, tapos, wish mo, masulyapan ka niya at mapansin.
But I like the more literal interpretation of that particular line, which I didn’t realize until somebody told me about it. That the stars being referred to in that line is no other than the stars on one of Darna’s garments. And what the person in the song wants to glance at or SEE are hidden behind those stars. In short, b–(BLEEEP)!
At dahil nauwi na rin tayo sa karayom at likod ng mga tala, dadako naman tayo sa “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo,” ng Bloodhound Gang. Wala sigurong metaphor dito. Hindi ko rin alam kung anong tawag sa figurative o literary device na ginamit nila dito. Basta ang alam ko, pareho ito sa ginagawa dati ni Ogie Diaz, yung tinatawag ng “Jun-Jun” yung ano ng lalaki at “Jennifer” (tama ba? O Jennylyn?) naman yung sa babae. Ewan ko, naisip ko pwede rin nating tawagin na “Ding Dong” at “Marian” para mas sosyal.
Vulcanize the whoopee stick
In the ham wallet
Cattle prod the oyster ditch
With the lap rocket
Batter-dip the cranny axe
In the gut locker
Retro-fit the pudding hatch, ooh la la
With the boink swatter
It’s just really creative WAYS of saying “put the you know what in the you know where” or substituting tools and things for the male and female genitalia (I like how the word genetalia makes all this sound technical/medical/scientific). But let’s get to the chorus, where the band gets both self-referential and ironic.
I Brazilian wax poetic, so pathetically
I don’t wanna beat around the bush.
Obviously, the first line has Brazilian wax and wax poetic combined. But the second line is where it gets really interesting. There’s meta in the speaker saying he doesn’t want to beat around the bush, which refers to what he’s saying in song’s verse, but at the same time, it’s ironic because, by substituting words and expressions to what he really means to say, he’s actually being indirect, he’s actually beating around the bush, AND note the pun (very much intended) on the word “bush.” So, it’s a triple-double for ya, meta, irony and pun. You’ll get an A for sure if you use this as example. That is, if it doesn’t offend your teacher, which I’m 90% sure it will.
(To be continued….)