20 March 2013
Hank Williams- The Poet
Loneliness is an emotion everyone has experienced. Some songs express this feeling very well. A classic example of a song for a lonely heart is A Tear in my Beer by Hank Williams, Sr. This song is an old country ballad, a cowboy singing about a broken heart while he is drinking his pain away. Whether one has only lyrics or has a performance, the song is powerful. Each way has power, and either one gives the reader or listener that lonely feeling, but each way has its own personal area of strength.
Hank Sr didn’t release this song during his lifetime. His version got famous when Hank Jr covered his father’s song. Hank Sr wasn’t alive to hear Hank Jr’s version, so when Hank Jr recorded it, he took Hank Sr’s recording and added it to his, to add to the effect. This did add to the effect, but it still isn’t a heart-wrencher like the original. The original version was simple and straightforward, with only Hank and his guitar. Hank Jr’s version has a more upbeat sound, but a less personal sound.
Looking at the lyrics alone, one might think there needs to be music. The song alone doesn’t sound very poetic, with no set rhyme scheme. It also seems to not flow, or have rhythm. Despite lacking these qualities, the emotion in this song is heavy. The lyrics are saturated in emotion, it is dripping everywhere. The reader can’t help but feel the loneliness in these words. The repetition of the chorus “There’s a tear in my beer/ ‘cause I’m crying for you dear/ you are on my lonely mind” (Williams) stresses how lonely Hank really is. Another conveyed feeling is the feeling of depression and hopelessness. He is “gonna keep drinkin’ until” he’s “petrified”, he “can’t move a toe” or “can’t even think.” He has no hope at this point, and the reader feels that with those expressions. He is planning on drinking himself into a vegetable, with no senses, no feelings, nothing. The reader can feel Hank’s pain as they read these words. The little music there is with this song helps set the rhythm, flow, and when he sings it, the rhyme really sticks out. The performance hits the feels even more than the lyrics alone do. When the listener hears Hank singing, in that sad, southern drawl, the feelings are emphasized. The guitar also helps, because it is a very low, mellow sound, which ties in with the words well. When the song is sung, the different poetic elements stick out better. The rhyme is heard, partially because there is some slant rhyme, and also because of the way the…