Lyrics Lounge: Interpreting Incognito’s “Ain’t it Time”

Ain’t it Time

Where along the line did you get off the track
Thinking the life you’re living is where it’s at
Don’t you feel discontent inside
There’s something about you life just cannot hide
They say home is where your heart is
But I say it’s in your peace of mind
If you go home to yourself
Happiness you’ve got to find

Ain’t it time you went home. Ain’t it time you went home
Ain’t it time you went home. Ain’t it time you went home
Going home, going home

Facing the truth is the first move to make
Then love and dreams are yours to take
There’ll be no love lest you give it
Dreams will be dreams until you live them
Strong belief with a strong pursuit
Is the latest combination to see you through
You be your own master double-denim strong
You wonder how you stayed away from home so long

(Lyrics by A. Manning / P.J. Wyatt)

Once again, I find myself being touched by an Incognito lyric after dozens of times listening to the song. I spoke of my first “late lyrics encounter” in an earlier Lyrics Lounge post, Saying Goodbye to Yesterday. The lines that struck me and inspired this post are, “They say home is where your heart is; But I say it’s in your peace of mind.” That blew me away. I am the child of Southern parents and although they located to New York and lived here almost 50 years, any time they spoke of their birthplaces, they referred to them as ‘home.’ As an adult who grew up in New York, I have expanded the definition of ‘home’ and always called it anywhere my immediate family lived. So I am home, whether in Mount Vernon, NY with my in-laws, in Florida with my mother, or South Carolina with my sister. Why? Because, as the lyrics state, home is “in your peace of mind.” And certainly, connecting with my family gives me peace of mind. As I have always said, I am a lyrics junkie, and so I often look for patterns in a given artists’ lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a truly sad-sounding song from Incognito, regardless of the message. Their messages sound upbeat, even if the lyrics say otherwise. Like many other Incognito lyrics, Ain’t it Time conjures images of encouragement and hope, despite one’s circumstances. “If you go home to yourself; Happiness you’ve got to find.” What a powerful statement! But my first reaction would be: If you don’t know yourself, then how do you find your happiness? Clearly, Manning and Wyatt answer that question in the second verse, as they provide a roadmap to get you home: Face the truth, give love, live your dreams. And then add “strong belief and a strong pursuit,” the combination that will see you through. But pull all that together and “be your own master double-denim strong.” You truly will “wonder how you stayed away from home so long.”

Music is art, and therefore subject to interpretation. Interpretation can be drawn from one’s own experiences, or even from one’s imagination. The message of “Ain’t it Time” hit home to me, no pun intended! Many times we face difficult situations and ‘going home’ helps us to re-focus and get back on track. A recent trip home to visit my mother in Florida left me energized and renewed, a place where I found peace of mind! Home can be a physical space, or a spiritual place. Sometimes all it takes to be renewed and feel at peace is a talk with God. You don’t have to travel anywhere, or let anyone know where you’re going. It’s a conversation that can change your present mood and ultimately your future circumstances.

Ain’t it time you went home?

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