Took me twenty years to notice this basic word play.

CG49089CG49089 Posts: 108
edited March 2 in The Porch
So... Like many of you, I've deeply loved the song "Black" for over twenty years now.

I realized something yesterday about a line in the song, that kinda blew me away, even though it seems somewhat obvious in hindsight.

One of the classic lines from the song is...

"I take a walk outside. I'm surrounded by, some kids at play. I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?"

And it occurred to me that there is a really cool  wordplay between "sear" and "see her". 

I think a lot of people who have gone through a difficult breakup have been through a period where they see the former lover everywhere they go.

I always liked the use of the word "sear" in that lyric, and this realization added another layer of brilliance for me. 

I found myself wondering if Ed had originally written "see her" and grabbed the wordplay later.

Anyway, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, I thought I might share that with y'all, in case some of you, like me, had never noticed this little detail in one of the ultimate Pearl Jam songs.

Cheers.




Post edited by CG49089 on

Comments

  • densandensan Posts: 245
    f-me. Thank you so much. 
    Dennis
    I have a poster problem. 
  • michielpj82michielpj82 Posts: 28
    That's awesome. Never noticed that, but it totally makes sense.
    Thank you!
    '06: Antwerp, Paris // '07: Werchter // '09: Rotterdam // '10: Werchter // '12: Werchter // '14: Amsterdam 1 // '18: Amsterdam 2, Pinkpop
  • JammalamboJammalambo Posts: 1,179
    I remember reading the lyrics so many years ago, and some sites were reporting "sear", others "see her".. There were things like this in other songs too.. "Everything has chains/changed", "Spilled my tincture/Steal my t-shirt" in Corduroy, and for some time I thought it was "Glorified version of a pellican" in Glorified G thanks to some other misunderstood lyrics.. and my mother tongue is italian, so all of this added to the confusion. Ed likes to play on words, it seems.
  • AndySlashAndySlash Posts: 3,122
    i never knew it was anything but 'see her'. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • KN219077KN219077 MontanaPosts: 394
    I’ve always thought this, mostly because I always hear see her even when I know it’s sear.
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,307
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
    http://www.livefootsteps.org/user/?usr=3652
    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 13,300
    I don't think it is suppose to be a wordplay.
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • lastexitlondonlastexitlondon Posts: 4,265
    I don't think it is suppose to be a wordplay.
    Me either. In fact I've never had it sound like "see her". Always sear
    brixton 93
    astoria 06
    albany 06
    hartford 06
    reading 06
    barcelona 06
    paris 06
    wembley 07
    dusseldorf 07
    nijmegen 07

    this song is meant to be called i got shit,itshould be called i got shit tickets-hartford 06 -
  • JammalamboJammalambo Posts: 1,179
    edited March 4
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Post edited by Jammalambo on
  • jonbond1779jonbond1779 London, UKPosts: 1,154
    Reminds me of the word-play in 'In my Tree' - 

    Im just holding on to my inner-sense (Innocence) - this blew my mind! 
    "Bring it back, to the clean form. To the pure form"
    28/09/04 - Boston, MA, USA
    20/04/06 - London, Astoria, UK
    18/06/07 - Wembley Arena, UK
    11/08/09 - Shepherds Bush Empire, UK
    18/08/09 - 02 Arena, London, UK
    25/06/10 - Hyde Park, UK
    26/06/12 - Amsterdam, Holland
    27/06/12 - Amsterdam, Holland
    08/07/14 - Leeds, UK
    11/07/14 - Milton Keynes, UK
    13/06/2018 - Amsterdam, Holland
    18/06/2018 - 02 Arena, London, UK
    17/07/2018 - 02 Arena, London, UK
  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 13,300
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?

    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,307
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
    http://www.livefootsteps.org/user/?usr=3652
    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 13,300
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    That line makes the most logical allusion that it's about a breakup. 

    So, wonder why that would be the "general assumption" comes off as a bit weird.
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,307
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    That line makes the most logical allusion that it's about a breakup. 

    So, wonder why that would be the "general assumption" comes off as a bit weird.
    Completely disagree. 
    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
    http://www.livefootsteps.org/user/?usr=3652
    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 13,300
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    That line makes the most logical allusion that it's about a breakup. 

    So, wonder why that would be the "general assumption" comes off as a bit weird.
    Completely disagree. 
    That's okey. 

    But I hope there is not a bunch of other logical conclusions and general assumptions out there in the world you go around wonder about. :)

     "All the love gone bad
    Turned my world to black
    Tattooed all I see
    All that I am"

    Why do people jump to the conclusion that the song is about a relationship?!?!?!
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,307
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    That line makes the most logical allusion that it's about a breakup. 

    So, wonder why that would be the "general assumption" comes off as a bit weird.
    Completely disagree. 
    That's okey. 

    But I hope there is not a bunch of other logical conclusions and general assumptions out there in the world you go around wonder about. :)

     "All the love gone bad
    Turned my world to black
    Tattooed all I see
    All that I am"

    Why do people jump to the conclusion that the song is about a relationship?!?!?!
    When did I say it wasn't about a relationship?  People have relationships all the time and they have pitfalls, and then have regrets because there is no way to make amends because tragedy intercedes. 


    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
    http://www.livefootsteps.org/user/?usr=3652
    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • JammalamboJammalambo Posts: 1,179
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    You don't need to state the obvious, and I also think you're aware that not everything in art is always an "allusion".
    This thread wasn't even about the actual meaning of the song, anyway, but.. "the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway." I fail to understand how this (approximative) thing relates to the song in any way.
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,307
    PB11041 said:
    PB11041 said:
    I always wondered why a general assumption was that this was about a break up.  It always seemed pretty much that this was about the shock of unexpected death of someone and dealing with the permanence that they are never coming back.  
    Maybe because that last line "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life..." doesn't make much sense if you're referring to a dead person?
    Really?  Because no one in art ever makes allusions.   You could be a star in the sky that someone sees, a new star that gets discovered by someone else, the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway.   
    You don't need to state the obvious, and I also think you're aware that not everything in art is always an "allusion".
    This thread wasn't even about the actual meaning of the song, anyway, but.. "the idea of the big bang and evolution is we are all made of star dust anyway." I fail to understand how this (approximative) thing relates to the song in any way.
    Suit yourself. 
    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
    http://www.livefootsteps.org/user/?usr=3652
    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • javis el errantejavis el errante Buenos AiresPosts: 6,111
    edited March 5
    Soo what does "sear" mean?  To help those who speak English as a foreign language and don't have a dictionary at hand or don't like Google...
    ... I am not in the business of being liked anymore ...

  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 47,229
    I think I always thought it was "see her" anyway, and only just now realize that it's "sear", lol. I'm going to keep pretending it's see her!
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • jeffbrjeffbr SeattlePosts: 6,485
    Soo what does "sear" mean?  To help those who speak English as a foreign language and don't have a dictionary at hand or don't like Google...
    Well, it isn't a normal use of sear in English, so even native English speakers could find the usage a bit awkward. To sear something, like a steak, is to put it on high heat for a quick, good and browning.  Crank up the heat and throw down the meat. So why Ed sears is a bit awkward. Does it mean he's super pissed? Or does it mean he got totally burned? Is he raging? Is he browning and crisping?
    "I'll use the magic word - let's just shut the fuck up, please." EV, 04/13/08
  • javis el errantejavis el errante Buenos AiresPosts: 6,111
    jeffbr said:
    Soo what does "sear" mean?  To help those who speak English as a foreign language and don't have a dictionary at hand or don't like Google...
    Well, it isn't a normal use of sear in English, so even native English speakers could find the usage a bit awkward. To sear something, like a steak, is to put it on high heat for a quick, good and browning.  Crank up the heat and throw down the meat. So why Ed sears is a bit awkward. Does it mean he's super pissed? Or does it mean he got totally burned? Is he raging? Is he browning and crisping?
    Thanks a lot Jeff
    ... I am not in the business of being liked anymore ...

  • HesCalledDyerHesCalledDyer MarylandPosts: 14,350
    jeffbr said:
    Soo what does "sear" mean?  To help those who speak English as a foreign language and don't have a dictionary at hand or don't like Google...
    Well, it isn't a normal use of sear in English, so even native English speakers could find the usage a bit awkward. To sear something, like a steak, is to put it on high heat for a quick, good and browning.  Crank up the heat and throw down the meat. So why Ed sears is a bit awkward. Does it mean he's super pissed? Or does it mean he got totally burned? Is he raging? Is he browning and crisping?
    Thanks a lot Jeff
    In the context used in the song, it means to feel scarred, burnt.  To feel a sudden scorching pain.  He's surrounded by kids at play, laughing & having a goof time.  It's something that should bring him joy, but he still feels burned. Scarred by a love gone wrong.
  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 13,300
    Oh, in my teenage mind when I read "sear" I just pictured it meaning "looking away into the distance" or something to that effect.

    "I can feel their laughter
    So why do I sear"

    as in 

    "I can feel their laughter
    So why don't I focus on that and instead am looking into thin air with my mind far away"

    Haha. 
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • lastexitlondonlastexitlondon Posts: 4,265
    edited March 6
    To sear in this instance is bitterness
    brixton 93
    astoria 06
    albany 06
    hartford 06
    reading 06
    barcelona 06
    paris 06
    wembley 07
    dusseldorf 07
    nijmegen 07

    this song is meant to be called i got shit,itshould be called i got shit tickets-hartford 06 -
  • javis el errantejavis el errante Buenos AiresPosts: 6,111
    Thanks for the explanations 10C fellas, I really appreciate it
    ... I am not in the business of being liked anymore ...

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