How does it make you feel when?...

I remember driving with a girlfriend the year before last and a song came on, I believe it was by Finger Eleven and the lyrics went thus:
Well I’m not paralyzed/But I seem to be struck by you/
I want to make you move/Because you’re standing still.

She squealed and turned up the radio and I was dissapointed at my lack of enthusiasm. Because while the tune was catchy, it was ultimately the lyrics that angered me. I feel the same now when I hear a popular hip-hop tune which has maybe a great sample from another artist, a fantastic beat.. aaand then the lyrics are urging me to slap that all on the flo', slap that give me some mo'. Or pointing out that "who's a ho? she's a ho? I said that you's a ho."
(Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots With the Fuuur...I'll save that for later)

I'd been dwelling on what makes a great song nowadays with the re-influx of pop driven hits and I remembered reading a column by John Mayer (yes, surprisingly) maybe 4 years ago...I want to say GQ. Whatever. - anyways his premise was this: chord progressions, studied hi's and lo's, it's fairly predictable what will moisten the underpants of the cookie cutter masses (see: 30 Seconds to Mars)

A fun side note is if you look at Disney songwriters you couple brilliant lyrics with brilliant composing and voila, who hasn't belted out a hearty rendition of "Part of Your World" while drunk with friends? If you haven't, I haven't either.

Back to topic, it's always the words that snag me. I'm a big fan of language and I've had fairly monotone tunes become favorites because of interesting lyricism. Two that come to mind and not even close to inclusive:
Broken One - Luke Doucet and
Sorry Hearts - Blue October

I'm interested in opinions here. If you don't feel the same, argue your case. They may or may not be laughed at.


Anonymous said...

Yes. I agree. Lyrics are definitely important.
Happy Birthday Liz! You are still just as beautiful as ever and from what I hear just as amazing. I love you. Wish you the best for this coming year.

SouthPaw said...

you know how i feel about this subject.

a single line from Radiohead still makes me moist(yes i said moist!)

let the masses have their Mayers and Fergies. I'll take brilliant lyrics over a catchy tune any day.

mClay said...

Im agreed. I also like random lyrics, if they sound edgy like the person is trying to get out a constipated thought..I get them, my thots are often constipated. ;Y
Katy Perry has GREAT originals. see 'Brick by Brick'. Jazzy yet the lyrics are still so rock an roll!
the song "so gay" (deep inside your secretly amused that nobody understands you" "Brilliant! Cheers to pop artists who can still pack a good line!
ps..in case any one cares "Katy is El Scorpio"
I meant to comment...forgive the rant, the subject matter makes me zealous! gerrr

Clara said...

ohhh yes, wait till i point Jason in this direction. He is always ranting and raving about this :D

Jason said...

Haha, great post Liz.

I also view lyrics with certain special literary standards, after all, lyric is a form of poetry (which has a set of rules). I've been pointing out to my poststructurist brothers that it's impossible to call a lyric good if you can't also call another lyric bad.

I'm a big critic of pop lyrics. Some philosopher (I don't remember who) once said something like "anything to stupid to be said will be sung" and I would add "and will be cherished".

The other day I pointed out to Jamie and David that the phrase which says "theres nothing you can do that can't be done" uses 9 words without saying anything. It's a rhetorical group of words with no meaning: "If you can do it, then you can in fact do it". Lol

And don't even get me started on the misogynistic hip hop/rap lyrics that go "undetected" by the hordes of shaking and bouncing women.
Stop selling out ladies! Dancing isn't that important! Hahaha.

I've probably strayed from your point so i'll end it here.

Anonymous said...

Iron and Wine.