The "Simple Man"

The "Simple Man"

A by LyricistWannaB

Just some thoughts on the lyrics to the song "Simple Man" by Skynyrd, written in a moment when I was incredibly moved by them. It's my first foray into something other than creative writing for quite some time.


      I was just jogging through a Farmer's Market where there was a guy playing funky drum beats on funky looking drums and random people were dancing. "Simple Man" by Skynyrd came on my iPod right as I passed through the market and I was reminded how amazing the lyrics are to this song. It's some of the best advice I've ever heard as far as how to live your life.

      It's so easy to get caught up in the rat race, function in the moment, function day to day, but never fully live, and take the world in with awareness. This life can be shallow. Did you notice the odd beauty of the tree with the mangled branches? Did you notice the elderly couple strolling hand in hand and still smiling? Did you feel the raindrops on your skin or did you just note that it was raining? You function day to day, fulfill all your obligations, bring others contentment maybe even happiness. You have your life in order, but your existence is robotic and empty. You're likely not even aware of it; you just are. You likely don't think about your life too much. You just exist day to day, bound by invisible chains. Perhaps you are repressing inner pain, perhaps you are a product of your upbringing or perhaps you just are for no apparent reason.
    On the flip side, it's easy to get caught up in over-analysis, over-thinking, over-feeling, the various details of life. It's also easy to get caught in the past or be ruled by fears related to the future. This can be anxiety-provoking, depressing, even paralyzing. It can cause you to hurt yourself and become your own worst enemy, as the expression goes. And in turn, you also hurt those you care for most and you feel even worse-the vicious cycle. But all this awareness, overabundance of emotion can also lead to positive things. You recognize beauty (I use this word VERY loosely) every day, maybe in places that others don’t see anything significant or they miss it altogether as they walk or run straight ahead, never turning themselves toward the sky. To be aware of beauty is a blessing. To be overly aware in general is a curse.

     Ok, finally back to the song lyrics. Simple in the song, does not mean shallow. She (the mother) encourages her son to "Be something you love and understand," to have self-awareness, but not be overly aware. She tells him to get his strength from inside and from faith, "Forget your lust for the rich man's gold. All that you need is in your soul" I could go on with pointing out lyrics here. In my opinion, the lyrics describe having a beautiful, healthy balance in life where you can feel satisfied and fulfilled, but also have depth. However this depth isn't to the point where it's debilitating. When you are balanced is when you can best be a positive in other peoples' lives too.

     The world is not all peace, love and happiness and it never will be; I truly wish it could be and to the idealists who sincerely believe this, I admire you (as long as it's not your way or the highway). Keep an open mind. This goes for pessimists too, the people who believe everyone and everything is evil or sucks. Can extremes occur along with open-mindedness? This is seemingly a tangent….one thing I really connect with is that the advice in the song is very realistic as opposed to idealistic. The most obvious evidence for this in the lyrics is that she wants her son to be “satisfied” not “happy”. Life is not a fairytale. Cinderella didn’t leave the building; she was never in it to begin with.
     I also feel that some people appear to have this balance on the surface, perhaps even the people who are identified as having their act together more than the average joe, but inside they are tortured or unaware souls. As I said above it's some of the best advice I've ever heard, expressed through straightforward, but poetic song lyrics. Brilliant song and I'm not really a Skynyrd fan! I'm neutral.
    And how I yearn, at times, to be the "simple man." For those who have achieved a balance, and I know there are quite a few people who do, including some family members and friends, how the heck do you do it?!?! And while the extremes aren’t healthy places to be, I often wonder who is better off of the two extremes? Let's say you were forced to choose one? Of course, most people are in the gray area somewhere; balance has range and variety. If a continuum isn’t applicable to how people live their lives, I don’t know where it would be applicable.



© 2009 LyricistWannaB

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Seems you've written a brainstorming type of a story here in the lines...but you got my attention to go beyond the first paragraph...and break up the entirety to give the reader your thoughts on paper...really comes down to each individual...but you do put the matter to see where one falls in the narrative...

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Added on July 31, 2009
Last Updated on August 1, 2009
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Hi fellow writers. Welcome to my creative dumping ground! I absolutely love to write, but do not consider myself a writer. It's a hobby I'm passionate about and use to comfort and cleanse my chaotic .. more..