While I’ve never been a huge fan of poetry, I have always had time for the ADD-friendly alternative, song lyrics. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of music while training for a marathon. And while I’m out plodding along and getting miles under my belt, I find that I’m focusing more on the lyrics than I used to.
Some of my favorite lyrics are found in Bob Dylan’s songs. The last verse of Bob Dylan’s Dream, a song about friendships and time, always chokes me up: I wish, I wish, I wish in vain/ that we could sit simply in that room again/ ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat/ I’d give it all gladly i our lives could be like that.”
I have moments where a lyric I thought I understood has a completely different meaning for me. This morning Grace Potter’s “Stop the Bus” threw me for a loop when I realized that “the day you asked me for my name” could refer to an introduction or a marriage proposal. Revelations on the Road. Sometimes they are more insightful than others.
Ray LaMontagne’s lyrics in “Empty” are, while not the greatest to exercise to, are beyond lovely: “outside the rain is tapping/on the leaves/to me it sounds like/they’re applauding us/the quite love/we’ve made”. The whole song is achingly beautiful. Check it out.
This morning, I also decided that I wholeheartedly appreciate the honesty in Cake’s “Love You Madly” confession: “I don’t want to doubt you/ know everything about you/ I don’t want to sit across the table from you/wishing I could run”
And, in that same vein, is Citizen Cope’s “If there’s love/ I just wanna have something to do with it.” Pretty much sums it up.
Eric Lindell is impressive in fitting all his words into his “Rock & Roll”: “And in a wink/they’re on the brink/from drink to drink/and at the bar/with cash to flow/shot to shot/it’s getting hot/advance the plot/to see how far it’s gonna go/all depends/on ditch the friends/and grab a cab/another chance/at cheap romance/doesn’t count ’cause the room is spinning/nothing to lose/tonight they both are winning/and they fall in love/as they fall in bed” The impressive part is that the tempo fits the sentiment perfectly.
The Raconteurs have one of my favorites “You don’t understand me/ but if the feeling was right/ you might comprehend me” and they also wrote an impressive narrative ballad, “Carolina Drama” that is incredible.
But, I also have some randoms in my mix that confirm how easily lyrics can go awry. I say, either nail them down, or stick with simple (I believe I have demonstrated both above). Also, I realize that the power ballads of the 80’s provide ample material to rip apart in a post like this as do artists like Britney, Madonna and The Spice Girls, but I’m trying to stick with songs that are on my iPod.
Jamie Cullum. Stop trying so hard. “This has been fun, I suppose/although my feelings are all juxtaposed.” Jamie clearly really, really wanted to use the word juxtaposed in a song. More so than having a string of words make sense, he wanted to wow the ladies with his SAT vocabulary word choice.
Mya. Yes, I draw the line at Madonna and the Spice Girls, but Mya made the cut. I also have some Beyoncé and Pussycat Dolls – IT MAKES THE RUN A LITTLE MORE FUN. Back to Mya. It’s so easy, it’s almost not worth mentioning. But, couldn’t you have come up with something easily as groovy and slightly more descriptive than “my love it like … wo/ my kiss is like … wo/ my touch is like … wo” I think Mya and Jamie Cullum should hang out and each positively influence the lyrics of the other. That being said, the rest of the song is fun and I smile when it comes on and I can pretend my ass is like … wo.
And lastly, Train. I love to run to your “Hey Soul Sister” because it’s catchy and poppy and cheerful, but the opening line is quite possibly the worst in the entire song: “your lipstick stains/ on the front lobe of my left side brains” … this isn’t a science class – you’re a pop group. I think there might have been a way to relate that idea. Not a great opener.
This song is full of gems: “the smell of you in every single dream I dream”. Ahhhh, thank you for clearing that up. I was confused it might be in a dream you eat.
And while I love the line: “I’m so obsessed/ my heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest”, I think this song might take the cake for most amount of ridiculous lyrics. Although, now that I have viewed the official video, it appears that Train is quite proud of the lyrics because they are written out and plastered all over the video. Maybe they realized they were ridiculous and figured they would preemptively attack that issue by putting them out there in song and print.