What does "King of Capulet" by X Lovers mean?
“King of Capulet” Lyrics Meaning
(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)
I've invited an up-and-coming band today, for me to be able to dissect their lyrics; the song is called "King of Capulet", and it's by X Lovers; and we're actually going to be having the songwriter himself today to do a quick guest lecture (kind of) on what the lyrics mean for him. We're going to be dissecting the lyrics to figure out what it means, and what we can learn from what's being said; so let's get to it.
It's a pleasure to be able to jump into the deeper meaning and the construction of this song; and I think that this will be particularly interesting, because we're going to be looking at the songwriting process from the perspective of somebody who is still kind of getting started in the songwriting industry; and also if you go check out the link down below to the music video, this song is what the kids call a "bop", which basically just means that it sounds really nice, and you should go listen to it.
This song is definitely written for a pop-genre audience; generally what that means is that if you're going to do a good job at that, not only do you have to be extremely catchy, and there is a lot of skill that goes into writing the music, which I believe that this song has accomplished; but you also have to be able to write lyrics that give the audience something before they go; whether it's an experience, a message, a meaning; you just have to be able to deliver that in just a couple of minutes, and in a way that complements the music nicely.
If you haven't already noticed; this song in particular has a connection to Shakespeare... Need more explaining? Okay, let's go ahead and hear what our guest speaker, London Jackson, has to say about this song.
So with "King of Capulet", I met somebody at a party, and she just had like a stunningly unique and godly almost aura about her; after that, I got home and I was like "Damn! I need to write about this girl"; we barely even talked, and I haven't seen her since; but she just has something special. Jake and I learned a lot about Shakespeare growing up, especially in middle school, and I was just thinking "Man! Who would the King of The Capulet family be?", and I just thought that it would be the character of somebody who's so magnificent, charming, royal, and wealthy; but also there's something very tragic about being at the top of something like that, right? So yeah, that's kind of what the song is about.
- London from X Lovers
So basically, this song is an ode to an anonymous woman, who seems like she could be a big deal; and that is something that has been done in poetry and music time out of mind. There is this long classical tradition of -particularly- male authors or poets, idealizing the women and putting them on some sort of a pedestal; looking up to them in some way, and attributing these almost godlike characteristics to them. Shakespeare himself did this plenty, and London is following nicely in the footsteps of the bard. Interestingly too, like London said, part of the inspiration for this song is Shakespeare, and that's actually something that can be a very good exercise for songwriters, or for anybody who is writing lyrics, or putting another story together; so it's to put your own experiences in the context of another work, sometimes this is called an illusion; but a really fun version of this is when you put something modern into the context of something old; like "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", or talking about modern philosophies in "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White. Just as X Lovers refers to Capulet here, and if you are a songwriter, it would probably be worth your time to just give that exercise a little bit of a chance.
Now while the lyrics of this song tell a pretty simple story; the question here is not what story they're telling, it's how they're telling it; so pay attention to this in particular; so we've got,
Isn’t it lovely
That I’m in this place with you?
Oh isn’t it something?
This feeling's something new
Notice we've got these distinct rhymes here; we've got "lovely" and "something"; so there's a little bit of an imperfect rhyme, but it's multi-syllable which is interesting; and then you've got "new" rhyming with "you"; there's a couple of other little sound correlation pieces; but you also have this large emphasis on repetition; so the first line and the third line are basically alternate versions of each other, so "isn't it lovely", and "isn't it something"; it changes at the end, but the first half of the lines signal the fact that these two lines do in fact belong together; and we've got the "That"s at the beginning of these other lines, which also signify further belonging within the stanza.
So it's a very simple stanza, but it gets it point across very efficiently; the stanza belongs, it gives this one specific message, and it's that "hey! we're here together, and maybe this is the beginning of something". Then we jump into the pre-chorus,
Do you know that you got something
Like the king of all the Capulets?
Holiday just to get away
From all the fuckers that follow where you step
Lovely that I’m in this place with you
Again, this is him starting to develop this person's perception as royalty; but the most interesting part here is one of the little artistic flourishes that most people don't notice, but that if you're going to be a songwriter yourself it's really important to be able to do this kind of stuff; we have "Capulets" and then "where you step"; so you have this distinct double-syllable rhyme, that I think is actually quite clever.
I think that overall one of the biggest lessons we learn from what we're seeing here with the song is that there's power in conciseness and economy of words; like none of these stanzas are super long or super huge; they don't spend a lot of time saying these things; it just gets the message across, in a very small and pointed way; and I think there's a lot of elegance to that kind of simplicity.
Now again with the chorus, we need to take a look at some of the simple repetition here,
Where do you come from?
What do you do?
Think I’ve been searching for someone like you
Where do you come from?
What do you do?
'Cause I’ve been waiting for something like you
This is exactly how you build a chorus, with simple repetition, clear words, not too much imagery, or anything really that is about to distract people from the catchiness of the words; it's all very abstract, it's asking a question, but there's no specifics, or concrete ideas in here; which is exactly what you want to see.
If we're going to dive into the meaning of the song a little bit deeper, notice that the lines stay the same, except for this subtle change here in "I think I've been searching for someone like you" and "because I've been waiting for something like you"; there is this element of uncertainty with think, and then "'Cause I've been waiting", so it's like this premise that they stand by, and this is like actual focus; but there is that change from "someone" to "something", suggesting that perhaps part of the artists actual intention here is one of a sexual nature, or some sort of self gratification. The slight tone of objectification there, hints that this relationship is probably intended to be more in the physical side.
Overall, this song draws inspiration from Shakespeare; and delivers a simple pop message, with great vibe musically, and some really cool little lyrical flourishes throughout, giving the meaning of the song, but without giving too much away.
You guys should definitely go check out the music video down below; it's just this stripped-back simple music video; with just the right amount, and without too much, just like the song itself.