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Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:00 am

I'm sure that most of us love Fish because he has a wonderful way with words.
I would go as far to say that when it comes to song lyrics he has no equal.
From biting cynical observations on the futility of war (Forgotten Sons), the failure of marriage (Jigsaw) to beautiful simple love songs (Kayleigh and Cliche).

What are our favourite lyricists and why. I could probably come up with a huge list but for the moment here are three examples

I'm currently listening to the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner is a formidable lyricist. When I heard their first album I was blown away by this observations of life in Northern England. (Mardy Bum, Riot Van, When the Sun Goes Down)

I have always loved Neil Peart's lyrics which cover numerous themes from science fiction to politics to philosophy to the environment to humanitarian and beyond. Too many examples to write down here although I was first attracted to Rush by this verse in Spirit of Radio

One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity.


And I mustn't forget Paul Weller with his songs revolving around British culture from the person going home on the tube to his wife (Down in the Tubestation at Midnight) to severe depression (Private Hell) to beautiful love songs (English Rose).

Closer than close - you see yourself -
A mirrored image - of what you wanted to be.
As each day goes by - a little more -
You can't remember - what it was you wanted anyway.
The fingers feel the lines - they prod the space -
Your ageing face - the face that once was so beautiful,
is still there but unrecognizable -
Private Hell.

The man who you once loved - is bald and fat -
And seldom in - working late as usual.
Your interest has waned - you feel the strain -
The bed springs snap - on the occasions he lies upon you -
close your eyes and think of nothing but -
Private Hell.

......

Alone at 6 o'clock - you drop a cup -
You see it smash - inside you crack -
You can't go on - but you sweep it up -

Safe at last inside your Private Hell.
Sanity at last inside your Private Hell.
Thanked: 1

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:01 pm

God, where to start?!! :? :D - Too many great lyricists that I admire. Couldn't possibly name them all, but I have always been really drawn to those types of lyricists who lay themselves and their emotions bare. It's such an honest way of writing. - This is one of the reasons I really love the music of the early seventies singer/songwriter movement, and there was absolutely none better than the great Joni Mitchell. - For me, up there with Dylan. - Like the fact that she never over-complicates her writing. Simple and beautiful. :D

Again, impossible to pick the best from her work, but here's a few examples I really love......

'Oh, I am a lonely painter. I live in a box of paints.
I'm frightened by the devil, and I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid.
I remember the last time you told me, you said
'Love is touching souls'. Surely you touched mine,
'cause part of you pours out of me, in these lines from time to time.
Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine, you taste so bitter and so sweet.
I could drink a case of you, darling, and I would still be on my feet. I would still be on my feet.'


'Blue, songs are like tatoos. You know I've been to sea before.
Crown and anchor me, or let me sail away.
Hey Blue, there is a song for you, ink on a pin,
Underneath the skin, an empty space to fill in.
Well there's so many sinking now, you've got to keep thinking you can make it through these waves.
Acid, booze and ass. Needles, guns and grass. Lots of laughs.
Everybody's saying that Hell's the hippest way to go,
well I don't think so, but I'm gonna take a look around it though.
Blue, I love you.
Here is a shell for you. Inside you'll here a sigh. A foggy lullaby.
There is your song from me.
Thanked: 2

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:37 pm

Nice one, this is a toughy- when I was young ;) , tracks of my tears , tears of a clown did it for me- now, well, Fish obviously, the best lyricist ever-actually, James Morrison, you give me something, moves, a very emotional song, gotta think about this one- so many amazing, clever lyrics out there- I think, I'm not in love, 10cc, was very clever.

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:07 pm

Morrissey. Far funnier than people give him credit for due to his droll delivery!

And Neil Peart of course.

I also really like some of Nick Barrett's lyrics for Pendragon. More simplistic than Peart's maybe, but straight from (and to) the heart.

Some of Roger Waters' stuff is fantastic too. "Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream...". Amazing.

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:28 pm

Conan wrote:
I also really like some of Nick Barrett's lyrics for Pendragon. More simplistic than Peart's maybe, but straight from (and to) the heart.



take all you need and be on your way..... ;)

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:21 am

docbob wrote:
Conan wrote:
I also really like some of Nick Barrett's lyrics for Pendragon. More simplistic than Peart's maybe, but straight from (and to) the heart.



take all you need and be on your way..... ;)


Or perhaps something poetical from Mr Barrett's most recent opus

"Drop my balls..."

Re: Lyrically speaking

Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:35 am

I like this one by Sting - Russians

In Europe and America, there's a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie that we don't believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is that the Russians love their children too
Thanked: 2

Re: Lyrically speaking

Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:09 pm

though it´s a bit difficult with English I feel these lines of Frente! (Cuscutlan) are quite nice:

Blood is the color of the sunset
You walked into the darkness
I did not hear your last breath
There will not be an inquest
This is not human interest

We danced the dirt with surrender
For our drumbeat
Danced for the balance sheet
Died for the kind of lasting peace
That pleases the world's police man

And Fatherland raped Motherhood
And told her it was for the global good
And now we ring the mission bell
To warn their children

In German I like Wir Sind Helden and the later works of Reinhard Mey and Stoppok for their lyrics but I´d loose to much of the pun trying to translate :(
Thanked: 3

Re: Lyrically speaking

Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:01 am

Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind
You open up their hearts
And here's what you'll find
A few frozen pizzas
Some ice cubes with hair
A broken Popsicle
You don't want to go there

Some humans ain't human
Though they walk like we do
They live and they breathe
Just to turn the old screw
They screw you when you're sleeping
They try to screw you blind
Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind

You might go to church
And sit down in a pew
Those humans who ain't human
Could be sittin' right next to you
They talk about your family
They talk about your clothes
When they don't know their own ass
From their own elbows

Jealousy and stupidity
Don't equal harmony
Jealousy and stupidity
Don't equal harmony

Have you ever noticed
When you're feeling really good
There's always a pigeon
That'll come shit on your hood

Or you're feeling your freedom
And the world's off your back
Some cowboy from Texas
Starts his own war in Iraq



John Prine... :D
Thanked: 2

Re: Lyrically speaking

Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:33 am

Cora by Latin Quarter

It's a snow-wind
She's felt It blow for sixty years and more.
Cora and the snow-wind
Like the row-lock and the oar
Cutting through these icy waters
To find shelter and perfectlon and the shore.

Cora's lived a kind of llfe
From downstairs maid to miner's wife
Making sure she shined a floor
In Surrey homes before the war
She feels that snow-wind blowing.
She's not sure where we're going, anymore.

For years past 1926
They dug the hill-sides out with picks
While still behind the iron gate
Those winding-wheels she'd come to hate
She feels thot snow-wind blowing.
She thinks we mlghty be getting there too late.

It's a snow-wind
It blows so hard it cuts her to the bone.
Cora and the snow-wind
A women's life is not her own
As she dives in icy waters
To find passion and survival, all alone.

Coro and the sisterhood
Less sisters now in Prims.
And it doesn't sound the same
Without the voices for the hymns
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