i decided to make it a weekly thing to go through songs that have to do with our olfactory sense. i want to highlight the importance of the sense of smell and to urge us all to pay more attention to it. plus i enjoy searching and finding these lyrics!
“roses in bloom, wafted perfume / sleepy birds dreaming of love” – frank sinatra, “kiss me again”
i love that perfume in frank sinatra’s song is associated with getting caught up in love. the scene is set as spring, a time for love. it creates a feeling of new love and a woman’s fragrance is on par with the roses blooming and sleepy birds dreaming of love. all these elements combined make for a very romantic setting.
“even the smallest traces / of your sweet perfume / open the flood gates and i’m helpless” – justin hayward, “broken dream”
the other end of what the smell of a woman’s perfume can do is exemplified in justin hayward’s song. it’s the memory of her fragrance that brings back someone he has lost and he feels broken and helpless. when we smell something it travels to our olfactory bulbs that have sensory receptors which send messages directly to “the most primitive brain centers where they influence emotions and memories (limbic system structures),” and “higher” centers where they modify conscious thought (neo-cortex). these brain centers perceive odors and access memories to remind us about people, places, or events associated with these olfactory sensations” (http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/summer05/smell.htm). memories are brought back instantly and serve as a reminder of past events.
“rosanna moves across the floor / her perfume fills the air” – gordon lightfoot, “rosanna”
gordon lightfoot’s song highlights the importance of noticing a woman’s perfume and equating it with being wrapped up in her femininity. it’s part of what makes us up as human beings and is but one detail of a person as a whole. it’s a beautiful thing.
do you have a favorite song that talks about the sense of smell? do you have a different analysis of these songs? share your thoughts in the comments below!