MARK ON THE WORLD - THE SONG EXPLAINED

On the release of our video for the song "Mark On the World" I decided to write about the song itself as many of our friends and supporters have asked me about the lyrics.

Muscle Souls doesn’t usually write songs with a lot of imagery, metaphors and other literary devices that cloud the meaning of the song.  We’re more inspired by the tradition of the great soul and pop music of the 60’s and 70’s that said things plainly, elegantly, straight to the heart of the matter.  Although we too enjoy the mystique of a cryptic lyric, life is short so let’s not get too bogged down with fancy words and hide behind a flimsy wall of obscure references known only to the artist.  Let’s leave that to folk music!
 
But the song “Mark On the World” was going to be different.
 
I often say to people, “Life isn’t neat and tidy.”  You don’t go from a bad relationship to a good one, a bad job to a good one, a bad day to a good one without some effort, friction, stress, anxiety, hurting someone…sometimes yourself in the process.  Let’s face it, sometimes you have to jump out of a leaky boat even if the water is on fire.
 
Like most people, I was shocked, horrified, angry and saddened all at once witnessing the events that took place on September 11, 2001.  In the following days, the artist in me persisted in trying to find a way to express my thoughts and feelings about that terrible day.  From local community stations to major radio stations, songs started to pop up expressing anger, disillusion and sometimes, extreme maudlin sentiments.  As a writing approach, songs about falling towers or kicking some elusive, unknown foe’s ass didn’t sit right with me.  After all, I was merely a witness.
 
How could I write about something without actually writing about it?  How could I write a lyric about a specific event without using the words that would tie it forever to a time and place?  How could I write a song that doesn’t admonish anyone or give advice as if I know the answers to the questions why, why, why?
 
I thought about the people who were gone.  I thought about the people left behind.  No matter what your belief of what happens after we die, those of us still left standing are left to deal with the loss.  I thought about how some people went to work that day and just didn’t come home.  I thought about the petty arguments we may have had that morning.  You forgot to lock the door.  You didn’t walk the dog.  You left the gas tank on empty, which made me late for work.  The kids forgot their lunch and so many little things that are of no consequence in the bigger picture.
 
I thought about how someone didn’t come home that day, and that pile of laundry they said they would do yesterday turned into to a wonderful shrine today. How someone must have lifted that pile of laundry and wept into it, trying all at once to apologize for yelling at them that morning and at the same time, hold them in their arms again, smelling the scent of their cologne.
 
It was a very tricky topic to write about indeed because for a moment, the world stopped that day.  The words needed to be distilled down to simple phrases.  The music had to be strong, triumphant, to charge on with a only touch of sweetness in the final descending chord structure.  The only way I could see approaching it was to try to write it from the perspective of the person who was gone, the person who no longer had concern for those petty little arguments, a person who, if they could speak to us might say, “I’m sorry for the mess I left behind but I love you and I’m trying to tell you, you will find the strength to carry on. Because now, I’m a memory.”
 
John Palubski
November 6, 2015
 
 
For those interested, here is the complete lyric.
 
Mark On the World – words and music by John Palubski
 
Toothpaste pills and sugar spills
Coffee rings and unpaid bills
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
Longing looks and dog-eared books
Laundry heaps and unheard pop hooks
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
People offended, friendships ended
And many more things to be mended
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on…
The world, when it stops
You’ll see the place I lived
So now, let it spin
Find another place to begin, to begin
 
Toothpaste pills and sugar spills
Coffee rings and unpaid bills
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
On the skids, banging pot lids
Music to my two great kids
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
Don’t say I didn’t leave my mark on the world
 
Finally, here's the video!
 

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