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A Semiotic Analysis of Popular Pop Music

An Academic Paper presented to

Dr. Claudette A. Baluran

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course

ENGLISH 240- English in the Media

By:

Ivy Claire Defensor

AB-English 4B
I. INTRODUCTION

Music greatly influenced our lives. It influenced the way we think and even the

way we act. Music has a power to manipulate us without knowing it. We havent

realized how it affects the way we talk, act, and perceive things around us. Music

broadens our knowledge of what is happening in the world. We have different cultures

around the world and each country has a different style of music. This style was spread

because of media. Through different kinds of media, we can easily access to different

kinds of music produced by talented artists. As people access to these different types of

media texts, they perceive these texts differently. A popular song which can also be one

of the media texts may be perceived differently by the individuals since human beings

have different perception of things. As we analyze and perceive things, we need to

know more about the Semiotics to understand what signs can do and how music

use these signs to influence us.

Semiotics involves the study not only of what we refer to as signs in everyday

speech, but of anything which stands for something else (Chandler, 2007). Signs can

be a form of words, images, gestures and even sounds. The term semiology was first

introduced by Ferdinand de Saussure. Semiology is defined as as science which studies

the role of signs as part of social life (Saussure, 1983). From the concept of semiology,

Charles Sanders Peirce expanded and called it as semiotics. Semiotics is defined as

formal doctrine of signs (Peirce, 1931). Saussure his introduced the signifier (sound

image) and signified (concept) while Peirce on the other hand, introduced the icon

(resemblance), symbols (convention) and index (causal connections). In semiotics,

denotation and connotation are terms describing the relationship between the signifier

and its signified, and an analytic distinction is made between two types of signifieds: a

denovative signified and a connotative signified (Chandler, 2017).


Media texts can be a television program, a book, novel, magazines, newspapers,

a popular song, a poster, etc. In this paper, we will use Semiotics as a theoretical

perspective and we will focus on the discussion of five different popular songs, and

uncover different signs and meaning that are found in these types of media texts.

II. BODY

There are different genres in music. Blues, Classical, Country, Jazz, Pop, R&B,

Reggae, Rock, etc. are just some of the genres in music that we enjoy listening to. Each

genre has its own characteristics that identify them. This analysis will focus on five (5)

popular pop music that greatly influenced the people nowadays. Different tones,

rhythm and lyrics of the song affect the perception of the listener. We will uncover why

specific words are used by the composer of the song.

Shape of You by Ed Sheeran

Shape of You is under the category of pop music. This song greatly influenced

us nowadays. It affects the way we think and act. To uncover the deeper meaning of

the song, we will use semiotics.

Semiological thought proposes that the basic unit of communication is the sign

(Long and Wall, 2012). The sign that are used in this type of media text (songs) are

words. De Saussures foundational work concentrated on written and spoken language

and, for the purposes of explaining how words work as signs, he suggested that signs

could be thought of as consisting of two, indivisible aspects: signifier and signified

(Long and Wall, 2012). First, lets talk about the first stanza of the song Shape of You.

The club isn't the best place to find a lover


So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking fast and then we talk slow
And you come over and start up a conversation with just me
And trust me I'll give it a chance now
Take my hand, stop, put Van the Man on the jukebox
And then we start to dance, and now I'm singing like

Language consists of a lexicon of words (hundreds of thousands in the English

language), made of phonemes and letters the sounds of speech and the lines on a

page which constitute writing which, when combined into sentences, according to

rules of grammar and conventions of usage, have significance and communicate

meaning (Long and Wall, 2012). This first stanza communicates to the listener of the

music by stating the sequence of events that happened on the bar. In semiotics, the

word bar is what we call the sign in this song can be interpreted in different ways.

This is what we call polysemy. Polysemy occurs when two or more signifieds are

associated with the same signifier (Louis Hbert, 2013). If we will use the meaning of

the word bar from the Cambridge Dictionary, it can mean a strong pole, a support,

to force something to move, or to block an opening it can also mean a place,

sometimes within a restaurant, where alcoholic drinks are served, or a long,

high table in such a place along which people stand or sit while drinking or one of

the small equal parts into which a piece of music is divided, containing a fixed number

of beats. We can see that one word can imply different meanings but in this song the

word bar is associated with the words like drinking and shots. So this means that

the composer is referring to the place where alcoholic drinks are served. We can also

notice the word club which is used in the first line of the song. This word can also be

a synonym of the word bar, but the composer chose to use the word club then

replaced it to the word bar in the second line of the song. In the fifth line of the song,

that states And you come over and start up a conversation with just me, the

composer used different pronouns in this line (you, me). As we all know that pronouns

like this can be a female or male. So these words or signs in semiotics can also

confuse the listener of the song. The signifiers which are in the form of pronouns (you,
me) can result to the two signifieds: female or male. The sixth, seventh and eighth line

of the songs states:

And trust me I'll give it a chance now

Take my hand, stop, put Van the Man on the jukebox

And then we start to dance, and now I'm singing like

We can also observe different signifiers here and this can result to different

signifieds if not interpreted well, it can be ambiguous. If we will interpret these three

lines structurally, it tell us that someone approached the other and they started dancing

with the song Van the Man which is played on the jukebox. But on the other hand, if

we will try to examine this part of the text, as someone approached the other, they see

an intimate conversation into spontaneous dancing while Van the Man which is

playing on the jukebox. Now, lets talk about the second stanza or the pre-chorus of the

song.

Girl, you know I want your love


Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don't mind me
Say, boy, let's not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

In the first stanza, the composer used different pronouns as signifiers to refer to

the characters in the song. Here, in the second stanza, we can now identify the gender

that came over because the composer used the word girl as a signifier so no doubt

the signified is the concept or image of a girl. The first line tells us that someone wants

love from the girl. The word love can also be interpreted in different ways. If we will

use the definition of love from the Cambridge Dictionary, it can mean to have

a strong affection for someone, which can be combined with a strong romantic

attraction. But on the other hand, if we will try to examine the text, and look deeper to

what it really signifies, it can also mean making love with the girl. The composer adds
the line Come on now, follow my lead. The word lead here can also be interpreted

in different ways or in other words, it results multiple signifieds from a single signifier.

This is what we call a polysemy. The word lead can mean that a guy is the one who

will lead the dance or the one who will lead the making love on the bed. We can

observe that a single signifier can lead to multiple signifeids depending on how the

listener of the music will interpret the song. Now, lets talk about the third stanza of the

song.

I'm in love with the shape of you


We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I'm in love with your body
And last night you were in my room
And now my bedsheets smell like you
Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with your body
OhIohIohIohI
I'm in love with your body
OhIohIohIohI
I'm in love with your body
OhIohIohIohI
I'm in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with the shape of you

The third stanza is also the chorus of the song. The chorus was given emphasis

since it is always repeated. In the first line of the chorus we can say that the guy is

now in love with the shape of the girl. A signified can be interpreted as connotative and

denotative. Denotation is what we call the literal meaning of the word. The first aspect

or level of signification is the most obvious, literal or generally agreeable (Long and

Wall, 2012). On the other hand, connotation is defined as the further associations,

more abstract, debatable and contextual depending upon who is deploying and

interpreting the sign (Long and Wall, 2012). In the first line of the chorus, the

composer used the word shape. If we will use the definition of the Cambridge

Dictionary, the word shape means the particular way something looks as a whole,

an arrangement that is formed by joining lines together in a particular way, it can


also refer to the condition of the thing , or of a person state of health or the way

something is organized; the general character or nature of something. These different

kinds of definition of the word shape are what we call the denotative meaning of the

sign. On the other hand, connotative meaning of the sign is more abstract. If we will try

to examine the text above, the word shape refers to the body of the girl. The second

line of the song can be more ambiguous. It tells us that us that the guy and the girl is

now dancing push and pull like a magnet do or it can also mean that push and pull

like a magnet do is done not only on the stage or while dancing it can also be done on

the bed while theyre making love. In the third stanza, the word falling is used. If we

will just refer to the denotative meaning of the word falling, we can say the heart of

the guy is falling literally, which we all know that it is inappropriate. But if we will refer

the connotative meaning of the line Although my heart is falling too, it tells us that

the guy is now falling in love with the girl. In the fourth line of the chorus, the word

shape is now given another character by using the word body. Then, in the fifth and

sixth line of the chorus we can use the denotative meaning of the signs used by the

composer. In other words, we can just interpret it literally without going deeper in the

structure of the text. It tells us that the last night the girl was in the room of the guy

and his bed sheets smell like the girl. We can also notice that the chorus has its

repeated lines like OhIohIohIohI, I'm in love with your body. This line

was repeated three times in the chorus. If the signs are repeated in a text, the writer

wants to emphasize this line or the meaning of that specific line. Now lets talk about

the verse two of the song.

One week in we let the story begin


We're going out on our first date
You and me are thrifty, so go all you can eat
Fill up your bag and I fill up a plate
We talk for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour
And how your family is doing okay
Leave and get in a taxi, then kiss in the backseat
Tell the driver make the radio play, and I'm singing like
The second verse of the song tells the sequence of events that is happening and

is described by the composer. The composer is using words to tell a story of what is

happening. The words or signs used by the composer can be interpreted in a structural

level. In other words, we can just use the denotations of those specific words to

understand the meaning of the text. We can say that a song doesnt always use

connotation or the abstract meaning of the text. The listener can easily interpret a song

if the composer will only use simple words to refer to the concept he is referring to. But

on the other hand, the composer added the line We talk for hours and hours about the

sweet and the sour. If we will use the denotative meaning on this specific part of the

text, the meaning can mislead us. The words sweet and sour are usually associated

with the sense of taste, but in this line, it refers to the taste or experiences in life. So, in

interpreting texts like this, we must analyze carefully each sign that is used by the

composer to successfully understand the meaning it conveys. Now, lets talk about the

bridge of the song.

Come on, be my baby, come on


Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on

The line Come on, be my baby, come on is repeated in the bridge of the song.

The word baby is the signifier that is used by the composer. If we will use the

definition of the Cambridge Dictionary of the word baby it means a very

young child. So, if the analysis will just use the denotative meaning of the word

baby, it may seem inappropriate. We must use the connotative meaning of the word

to interpret this text. The word baby in this text refers to girlfriend. We can say that

the guy wants the girl to be his girlfriend.


This song used different sings or words to make the song more interesting.

Music, just like the poem is using different figures of speech to produce a meaningful

work of art.

Flashlight by Jessie J

Flashlight is also under the category of the pop music. This song once

influenced us. It has also a different appeal on the audience. Unlike the Shape of You,

the lyrics of Flashlight may be perceived not as dirty or wild like the lyrics of the

Shape of You. It tells us more about the story of the girl that is afraid of taking risks

in life but someone inspired her and gave light into her life. We will also use different

concepts of semiotics to analyze the different signifiers that was used by the composer

of the song. First, lets talk about the first stanza of the song Flashlight.

When tomorrow comes


I'll be on my own
Feeling frightened of
The things that I don't know
When tomorrow comes
Tomorrow comes
Tomorrow comes

As we can observe, the first stanza of the song may be interpreted using the

denotative meaning or literal meaning of the song. If we will try to look deeper, the

composer used the word tomorrow. This word can be interpreted by using the

connotative meaning of the sign. As we all know, connotative which is discussed above

is the abstract meaning of the word. The word tomorrow is defined by Cambridge

Dictionary as the day after today. This is what we call the denotative meaning of the

song. On the other hand, the word tomorrow which is used on this stanza can mean

only as the future. It is not necessarily that we refer to it as the day after today. So

this stanza tells us that someone is afraid or frightened of the things that will happen in

the future. We can also notice that the word tomorrow is repeatedly used by the
composer. In semiotics, it is what we call the redundancy, the process of repeating

one signified, either by associating it with several different signifiers or by repeating the

sign in which it is conveyed (Louis Hbert, 2013). In this stanza the word tomorrow

is repeated to give emphasis that the speaker is afraid of what will happen in the

future. Now, lets talk about the second stanza of the song.

And though the road is long


I look up to the sky
And in the dark I found, lost hope that I won't fly
And I sing along, I sing along, and I sing along

We can observe that the composer used the word road. This signifier can refer

to different signifieds. Lets first examine the different meanings of the word road. In

Cambridge Dictionary, the word road means a route for travelling between places by

vehicle, esp. one that has been specially surfaced and made flat. This is just the

denotative meaning of signifier used by the composer. If we will look deeper the word

road can also mean as journey. We all know that the journey in achieving success is

long. As we can observe the word road is followed by the word long. So this means

that the composer refers to the long journey he will be taking to achieve success. The

word sky is also used by the composer. This word can also be interpreted in different

ways. We can say that the sky can also refer to our life. As he is experiencing life, he

experienced its dark side. The word dark also has a connotative meaning; it may refer

to the obstacles that he is experiencing in life. Then, for the last line, the composer

repeatedly used I sing along, to also give emphasis and force to the song, this is what

we call the redundancy. Now, lets talk about the chorus of the song.

I got all I need when I got you and I


I look around me, and see a sweet life
I'm stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight
You're getting me, getting me, through the night
Kick start my heart when you shine it in my eyes
Can't lie, it's a sweet life
Stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight
You're getting me, getting me, through the night
'Cause you're my flashlight (flashlight)
You're my flashlight (flashlight), you're my flashlight

In the chorus of the song, we can observe that the tone was changed. Here, the

composer stated that his life was changed because someone inspired him. This

interpretation was made because of the different signifier that we can found in the

second line of the song I look around me, and see a sweet life. The word sweet was

followed by the word life. It is not necessarily that the life tastes sweet or we must

really need to use our sense of taste to taste the life. In this case, we must see the

deeper meaning or the abstract meaning of the line to know the true message of the

composer of the song. For the third line of the song, it tells us that he is once in the

dark part of life. The word dark which is described above was the obstacles. Then the

composer used the word flashlight to refer to someone that gave light or inspiration

to him. We must not only consider the denotative meaning of the word flashlight we

must also look deeper and examine the connotative meaning of the sign used by the

composer. The composer added the line You're getting me, getting me, through the

night, to emphasize that someone saved him and gave him light. The word night

which can also refer to as the dark side of life was also used to make the song more

meaningful. We can observe that the chorus of this song must not only be interpreted

structurally, we must also look deeper beyond the surface of those signs used by the

composer.

For the whole song, we can say that the word flashlight was repeatedly used

by the composer to emphasize the light or the person that gave light and inspired

him to conquer challenges in life.

Stitches by Shawn Mendes

This song is also one of the pop popular songs that influenced us. Teenagers

nowadays can relate to this type of media text because this song tells more about a
broken hearted guy that was hurt by his girl. Here, we will uncover how the composer

used different signs to make the song more meaningful. First, lets talk about the first

stanza of the song.

I thought that I've been hurt before

But no one's ever left me quite this sore

Your words cut deeper than a knife

Now I need someone to breathe me back to life

For the first stanza of the song, the composer chose specific words to describe

what really the character feels. For the first line, the signs or words used by the

composer can be interpreted literally. We shall really not look deeper if the meaning

was already clear. On the second line, we can notice that the composer used the word

sore which is also related to the word hurt in the first line of the song. While on the

third line, the composer used different signs to give and describe how hurt he is. Your

words cut deeper than a knife, this line must be interpreted using the connotative

meaning not just the denotative meaning of the sign. The word words is used by the

composer, he refers to it as if it is the one that cut the character. We must use the

connotative meaning to interpret this line successfully. This line means that someone

said mean words to him and it hurt him so bad. The word cut was used instead of

hurt to give emphasis to the kind of feeling he is experiencing right now. Then, for the

last line of the first stanza, if we will use or consider the connotative meaning of the

line, it means that he needs someone to inspire him again and save him from being

hurt. Now, lets talk about the pre-chorus of the song.

Got a feeling that I'm going under


But I know that I'll make it out alive
If I quit calling you my lover
Move on

This part of the text tells us how hopeless the character may be. The composer

used the word under to emphasize the feeling of the character. If we will use the
definition of the Cambridge Dictionary of the word under it means that in or to

a position below or lower than (something else), often so that one thing covers the

other. This is just the denotative meaning of the signifier. On the other hand, if we will

analyze it deeper, the composer wants to tell us that the character is really feeling

hopeless or down. Then in the second line, the composer used the word alive. This

word was used to give intensity to what is really happening to the character. The word

alive can also refer to the word survive that he knows he can still survive this kind

of feeling. Then, the third and fourth line of the pre-chorus can be interpreted using the

denotative meaning of the text. Although if we look at the connotative meaning of the

signifier, it can also mean that if they broke up, the girl must move on. It is not

necessarily that when the guy stopped calling her his lover, the girl must move on.

Next, lets talk about the chorus of the song.

You watch me bleed until I can't breathe


I'm shaking falling onto my knees
And now that I'm without your kisses
I'll be needing stitches
I'm tripping over myself
I'm aching begging you to come help
And now that I'm without your kisses
I'll be needing stitches

In the chorus of song, we can now feel the hurt feeling of the character. The

composer used the word bleed, shaking, aching, stitches to emphasize the

intensity of the hurt feeling. In semiotics, this is called redundancy. This is the process

of repeating one signified, either by associating it with several different signifiers or by

repeating the sign in which it is conveyed (Louis Hbert, 2013). The third and fourth line

of the chorus And now that I'm without your kisses, I'll be needing stitches, can be

interpreted using the connotative meaning of the sign. If we will analyze it, it means

that now that the girl is gone the guy needs to be healed and move on that is why

the composer used the word stitches, to refer to the healing that the guy needs since

the girl is now gone. Lastly, lets talk about the bridge of the song.
Needle and the thread
Gotta get you out of my head
Needle and the thread
Gonna wind up dead

Needle and the thread


Gotta get you out of my head
Needle and the thread
Gonna wind up dead

Needle and the thread


Gotta get you out of my head
Needle and the thread
Gonna wind up dead

Needle and the thread


Gotta get you out of my head get you out of my head

The composer used the words needle and thread to refer to the stitches

(healing) that the character needs. The meanings of the signs are interpreted not only

by using the denotative meaning but most of all we must look deeper and discover the

connotative meaning of the signs used by the composer. Then, for the second line,

gotta get you out of my head must also be interpreted using the connotative meaning

of the sign. If we will use the denotative meaning, it may seem inappropriate since a

person cannot fit inside the head of the person. This line means that the character must

stop thinking about the girl and he tells himself that he must move on. These lines are

repeated in the bridge to give more emphasis to the healing that the character needs.

This song used different kinds of unique signs to convey the message to

the listener of the song. If these signs were not interpreted well, the listener might not

understand the real message of the song.

Be my Forever by Christina Perri

This song is also under the pop music. It tells more about the girl whos in love

with the guy. It also has a unique rhythm that is loved by the listeners. This is lively
since the girl expresses how in love she is. Now, lets talk about the first stanza of the

song.

We're on top of the world


We're on top of the world now darling so don't let go
Can I call you mine
So can I call you mine now darling
For a whole lot of time
My heart finally trust my mind
And I know somehow it's right

The first stanza tells about how happy and inspire the girl is. We can observe

that the composer used the word top to refer to the highest peak of the happiness

she is feeling. If we will just analyze the denotative meaning of the sign, it may seem

inappropriate. So we must analyze the signifier well to understand the signified or

concept of the composer. As we can observe, the rest of the lines of the first stanza can

be interpreted using only the denotative meaning. The style of composer reveals in the

first stanza. The composer used literal meaning of the words to express the thought of

the whole stanza and also, for the listener to interpret the song well. The signifier is

clear and the signified can easily be understood. Lets proceed to the chorus of the

song.

And oh we got time, yeah


So darling just say you'll stay
Right by my side
And oh we got love, yeah
So darling just swear you'll stand right by my side

This part of the song is its highest peak. It tells us how happy and joyful the girl

is. The composer used different signs or words to express the whole thought of the

stanza. For example, in the first, second, and third stanza, And oh we got time,

yeah.So darling just say you'll stay.Right by my side , these lines can be interpreted

using only the denotative meaning of the signs. It tells us that they have enough time

together, so the guy must just stay beside the girl. On the other hand, it may seem
inappropriate since the word side if defined using its literal meaning of denotative

meaning from Cambridge Dictionary, it means that a surface of something that is not

the top or the bottom or a surface of a flat object, an edge or border of something,

a place next to something, a part of something, esp. in relation to a real or imagined

centralline, one of two or more opposing groups or people etc. There are different

literal meanings that are associated with the word side. So, the listener must really

look deeper and analyze what that specific sign means. Here, it is not necessarily that

the guy must stay beside the girl, it just means that they must stay together or lovers

till the end. This is the connotative meaning of the text. For the fourth and fifth line of

the stanza, And oh we got love, yeah..So darling just swear you'll stand right by my

side, we must also interpret this signs using the connotative meaning of the text. For

example, the word stand is used by the composer. This word if defined by the

Cambridge Dictionary, it means to be on your feet or get into a vertical position, or to

put someone or something into a vertical position. This is just the denotative

meaning of the sign used by the composer. On the other hand, if we will interpret

these signs using the connotative meaning, it means that the guy must stay beside

the girl, he must not give up on the relationship even if things might go wrong. Next,

lets talk about the third stanza of the song.

We're on top of the world


We're on top of the world now darling so don't let go
Hmm, I've got something to say
You're perfect in every way, I'm gonna shout it out
I'm wanna tell you now
'Cause I know somehow it's right

For the third stanza of the song, as we can notice it is the same with the first

stanza. The composer also used the word top which is already defined above. The

only difference is the third, fourth, fifth and sixth stanza of the song. Here, the

composer used specific signs to express deeper what she feels about the guy. The rest
of the lines can be interpreted using the denotative meaning of the literal meaning of

the sign.

After the second verse of the song or the third stanza, the chorus was repeated

again to give emphasis to its meaning then the author added these lines:

Be my forever
Be my forever
Be my forever

Be my forever
Be my forever
Be my forever

In this part of the song, the composer used the word forever to refer to her

loved one. If we will use the Cambridge Dictionary meaning of the word forever, it

means for all time, without end. This is just the denotative meaning of the text. This

word is usually used as an adverb but in this song, the word forever was used to

refer to her forever partner. Although there is a lacking word there, we can still

understand the concept of the composer.

Overall, the song is lively and can be easily understood since the composer

used simple signs to express his thought.

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Fight Song is also one of the pop music the influenced and inspired millennial

nowadays. The song can inspire because of the way the composer used unique signs or

words in expressing his thought. Lets talk about the first stanza of the song.

Like a small boat


On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

As we can observe, the composer used unique words to express his thought. If

we will try to interpret the song using the denotative meaning of the signs, this can

probably mislead us to the true meaning of the song. For example, in the fifth and sixth

line of the song, Like how a single wordCan make a heart open. The composer used

the used the signifier word to open the heart. We all know that a single word cannot

open the heart if it is interpreted using its denotative meaning. The denotative meaning

cannot help us in interpreting the song well. We must interpret the signs using the

connotative meaning. For the whole stanza, the connotative meaning tells us that no

matter how small you are, no matter how they look at you, you can still make a

difference, you can surpass challenges no matter how small or incompetent you are,

you can do it. Next, lets talk about the pre-chorus of the song.

And all those things I didn't say


Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

In the pre-chorus of the song, the composer used signs to express his feelings.

For example, the composer used wrecking balls as one of his signifiers in this stanza.

It will be inappropriate if we will really think that there are wrecking balls inside the

brain of the composer. In this case, we need to interpret the line using its connotative

meaning, because denotative meaning will not be enough. Wrecking balls refer to as

the words or thoughts that were kept inside and were not expressed by the composer.

Then, in the third and fourth line of the song, I will scream them loud tonight

Can you hear my voice this time?, we also need to interpret this line using the

connotative meaning of the text. It means that the words that were left unsaid will now

be expressed. Now, lets talk about the chorus of the song.


This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

The composer repeatedly used the word song in the chorus. The word song

can be interpreted by using its literal meaning. If we will try to omit the word song in

the first three lines of the chorus, it will just be This is my fight, Take back my life,

Prove I'm alright. The composer tells us that this is her fight, her life and shes alright

and this feelings were expressed using this using this song, thats why the signifer

song was used by the composer. For the fourth and fifth line of the chorus, My

power's turned on..Starting right now I'll be strong, these lines can be interpreted

using the connotative meaning of the sign. It is not necessarily that the composer has

already magical powers to fight against the obstacles. The signifier power was used to

refers to the confidence that she can surpass the challenges. The composer added the

lines I'll play my fight song.And I don't really care if nobody else believes. These

lines can also be interpreted using the connotative meaning of the signifier. It means

that she will fight even if everybody believes that shes incompetent, she knows that

she can surpass the challenges. Then for the last line in the chorus Cause I've still got

a lot of fight left in me, the word fight used as a signifier that refers to the

challenges she will be encountering in the future. Next, lets talk about the second

verse of the song.

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep


Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)
And it's been two years I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe
In the second verse of the song, the composer also used unique words or signs

to express his feelings. For example, the word deep was used to refer how weak the

girl is. If we will use the definition of the Cambridge Dictionary, the word deep refers

to going or being a long way down from the top or surface, or being at a

particular distance down from the top. This denotative meaning will not be enough

so, we must know the connotative meaning of the sign to interpret the real message

of the song. The connotative meaning of the word deep can be incompetent. The

girl is incompetent to fight against the challenges in life. The composer added the

lines there's a fire burning in my bones Still believeYeah, I still believe. The

signifier used by the composer is not that easy to interpret, and it can mislead the

listener if it is not interpreted well. In this line, we must also use the connotative

meaning of the signifier. It simply tells us that she believes that she can conquer the

challenges in life. The word fire was used to refer to her ability to surpass any kind

of challenges in the future.

The composer used unique words or signs to express the real message of the

song. Unlike Be my Forever, which can be interpreted literally, Fight Song must be

interpreted using the connotative meaning of the sign.

III. CONCLUSION

Music is one of the media texts that can influence and manipulate us. In pop

music, the signs used are not just simple signs but it can be abstract signs that can

mislead the listener. We must consider every sign used by the composer to understand

the real message of the song. Signs can be in the form of words in a sentence, images

and even sounds in a song. These signs work together to make the text more

meaningful. We can think of such combinations as meaningful texts made out of

complex signs (Long and Wall, 2012). In order to understand the real message of the
song, the listener must not only consider the single word used by the composer, he

must also consider other signs associated with that specific word. The denotative

meaning of the signs is also not enough to understand a text. We must also consider

the connotative meaning that it suggests. The greatest test facing those new to

semiology is making the leap from the recognition of the concept of the sign as an

explanatory device to an examination of signs in use and, in particular, signs in use

together as complex entities, as part of a textual system be it a newspaper article, pop

song, website or TV programme (Long and Wall, 2012).

Therefore, we can conclude that pop music is one of the media texts that use

different abstract signs to convey message to the listeners. These different signs used

by the composers can greatly affect the way listeners think, act, and perceive things

around them.

References:

Chandler, D. (2007). The Basics Semiotics, Second Edition

Chandler, D. (2017). Semiotics for Beginners

Saussure, F. D. (1983). Course in General Linguistics

Hbert, L. (2013). Elements of Semiotics

Long P, Wall, T. (2012). Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/BAR

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/LOVE

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/SHAPE

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/TOMORROW

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/ROAD

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/SIDE

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/STAND

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/FOREVER

HTTP://DICTIONARY.CAMBRIDGE.ORG/US/DICTIONARY/ENGLISH/DEEP