In an army barrack room you sometimes get friendly with men you otherwise wouldn't want to socialise with. There was a young man, a few years younger than me, who had been a member of a London gang. He was not the sort I normally had much time for, but I got to know him quite well, we seemed to like each other, we hit it off. Rarely he'd talk about his experiences in London and rarely did I mention having attended university and intended to be a teacher when I'd left the forces. I can't remember what we talked about but he was always helpful to me and I to him. When we went our separate ways we lost contact.
One thing I remember about him was that if he wanted to say something serious he usually quoted the words of a pop song to substantiate his argument. "Look what The Beatles say in their song," he'd say, and quote something relevant - maybe "all you need is love".
It struck me then how potent the words of popular melodies were to young people, especially those with not much education, with none of the great poets or philosophers to quote from.
I recalled that bloke today when I read an interview in The Spectator that the editor did with Lilly Allen. She writes meaningful songs, she said; they meant a lot to her and probably were meaningful to others.
I have never thought that there much sustenance in pop songs; surely they were suitable for dancing to, not much in the way of depth.
Maybe I'm wrong. After all, there is no poetry written now that appeals to ordinary people; the poetry written now is written for a small elite group, usually other poets. I remember a pop singer saying many years ago that "we are now the real poets", and I'm wondering if he's right.