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?

Lyrics Lounge: Saying Goodbye to Yesterday

Goodbye to Yesterday

Every day I say I’ll try something new
Make some changes that are long overdue
Tryin’ to wrap my head around it
Still remain surrounded
By walls that I can’t seem to get through

A part of me so keen to see
What I will find if I leave it all behind

I keep dreaming ’bout where I could be
About the places and the faces I’d see
This is bigger than myself
I know that no one else
Can do what’s clearly up to me

It’s never too late to change your fate
Right here and now, I’m gonna turn my world around

I can’t stop what I’ve started
‘Cos I’m finally on my way
And it’s time to say goodbye to yesterday
If this goodbye hurts I’m sorry
But it’s got to be this way
‘Cos it’s time to say goodbye to yesterday

Well, I used to think I was stuck on red
Now I know that it was all in my head
But I’m done making excuses
Can’t fool myself, it’s useless
I’ll follow my own lead instead

A part of me so keen to see
What I will find if I just leave it all, leave it all behind

(Lyrics by J.P. Maunick / M. Brandis)

Those who know me well know that I am a lyrics JUNKIE! And like any other art form, lyrics can often speak to you in different ways. The lyrics above are to one of my favorite songs from Incognito’s last album Surreal. I have listened to this song over and over again, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that the words really hit home for me and inspired me to write this post.

I’m certain that all of us can identify with many of the words in this song. What I find interesting is that if you listen to the song itself (or watch the video above), you will not hear someone singing sadly about letting go of the past, but of someone excited about the future. Many times we think of letting go of the past, of “saying goodbye to yesterday,” as a negative step, like getting rid of an old and comfortable, but raggedy, pair of sneakers! But the song is about happily putting aside the things that can weigh you down and moving forward, stepping into the person you need to become.

I’ve decided to let these lyrics speak for themselves. Let this song inspire you. Perhaps your “yesterday” is a past hurt that you have not been able to let go of. Or it could mean saying goodbye to old friendships, jobs or situations that have held you captive. Maybe it’s time for you to say goodbye to your comfort zone and step into your purpose. Maybe it’s as simple as letting go of the stress of the day and looking forward to tomorrow. Whatever it may be, think about your “yesterday” and don’t be afraid to say “Goodbye.”