Seen as simply the agonizing rejection felt by a man deserted by the woman he loves, the lyrics from the song “Black” by Pearl Jam moves from the writer’s reminiscence about his good times with his former love to coming to terms with the fact that he had been deserted, left heart broken by the love of his life as Pearl writes in this line: “Oh the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything…”.
Pearl’s lyrics contains both imagination, emotion and melody and it does create a unified expression of agony and rejection. Pearl expresses the emotions of agony of loosing his love. He portrays his world to be upside down and he feels like a failure being laughed at by everyone; even lower that he imagines he has become a laughing-stock for children at play “I’m surrounded by some kids at play I can feel their laughter,…”. And his lyrics does incorporate imagination as he pictures his lost love during his reminiscence as untouched and pure inanimate objects “Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay”. He also imagines “[a]ll five horizons [revolving] around her soul”. This lyrics has a unified expression of agony and sense of betrayal “[h]ow quick the sun can, drop away…All the love gone bad turned my world to black”.
In the last three lines, Pearl paint a picture of surrender when he finally realizes that he can no longer have his love back. I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star In somebody else’s sky, but why
Why, why can’t it be, why can’t it be mine
He ends the song with the last line asking why his love can’t come back to him and still expressing pain and agony over his loss of her love.
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