24 April 2008

Eat the Words

Ok, so I have this little inferiority complex when it comes to Carrie Brownstein. Because she is awesome. And because she gets to do things that I wish I could do (did she play on Henry Rollins's show? Yes she did. Rollinssssss). And because Mikey J thinks she is so cool. And if all that were not enough, she has a blog where she shows off the fact that she is smart and funny and down-to-earth, and where she reminds me over and over that she gets to live in PDX and I don't.


The point is, I've been thinking about doing this ever since I read her blog about her favorite Replacements lyrics. And while their probably are some "artists" (I always feel like a tool using that phrase with regard to pop music) who I could mine for a list of top 10 favorite lyrics (Billy Bragg, Frank Black, Stephin Merritt) I thought it would be fun to come up with 10 favorite from different "artists." This is a working list. I am probably totally forgetting others that I love, but these are the ones I've been able to come up with over the last couple of weeks. And I'm writing a little commentary too--some of them might require justification. But all of these are lyrics that I find positively yummy, usually because they express some idea or image that I find yummy. You know, yummy to the brain?

(These are in no particular order.)

1. "Now that you've made me want to die/you tell me that you're unboyfriendable/and I could make you pay and pay/but I could never make you say."
--"All my Little Words" The Magnetic Fields
First of all, this is the best song I know of that expresses heartbreak as simultaneously sad, wistful and angry. Secondly, it includes the single best word in a song pretty much ever.

2. "You know you're semi-good lookin'/out on the streets again./Oh yeah, you think you're really cookin' baby/you better find yourself a friend."
--"Ain't Talkin' About Love" Van Halen
I've talked about this song (and this particular lyric) at length elsewhere. But really, who but Diamond Dave could pull off calling a chick "semi-good lookin'"? It's the best un-compliment ever.

3. "Shirley, your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle/Shirley, we are joined in the ideological cuddle/I'm celebrating my love for you/With a pint of beer and a new tattoo."
--"Shirley" Billy Bragg
Many of you who know me well probably already know that I think this is one of the most romantic songs ever. Which reveals way too much about me. But I love this lyric because 1) I think I would enjoy an ideological cuddle. Or even ideological cuddling. 2) Bragg captures the whole blue-collar, working-class romance thing. Which I am, in fact, very romantic about. I could sigh over a guy who would celebrate his love for me with a tattoo and some beer. (Or even just the beer, actually.)

4. "'O lonely urchin!' the widow cried,/'I've not been swept since the day my husband died.'/Her cheeks a blushing, her legs laid bare/And shipwrecked there I'll shake you from your sleep."
--"The Chimbley Sweep" The Decemberists
This is a super vague, but super hot lyric in the middle of an Eighteenth-century inspired narrative song by a band from Portland. C'mon. What is there for me to NOT love about that?!

5. "It's a beautiful day/No, it's a horrible day/You can see here by my grin I don't give a fuck/It's a beautiful day/No, it's a horrible day/For the first time in my life I don't need the luck."
--"Horrible Day" Frank Black
Next time you are having a bad day, download it and sing along at the top of your lungs. You'll get it.

6. "Now on the bus/Nearly touching this dirty retreat/Falling out 6th and Powell, a dead sweat in my teeth/Gonna walk walk walk/Four more blocks, plus the one in my brain/Down downstairs to the man, he's gonna make it all okay"
--"Needle in the Hay" Elliott Smith
This song makes me cry pretty much every time I hear it. Damn you Elliott Smith. Damn you Wes Anderson. It also instantly conjures up a picture of the Ross Island Bridge. And that makes me want to cry too.

7. "We would shout/And swim about/the coral that lies beneath the waves./Oh what joy/for every girl and boy knowing they're happy and they're safe."
--"Octopus's Garden" The Beatles
Screw all y'all. I love this song. It's the first Beatles song I fell in love with, and the reason that I started listening to Abbey Road, which is the one album I'd take with me if I were stranded on a desert island. And, really, I would like to live under the sea. (Remember--Gus says I'm a mermaid . . . ) Seriously. Screw all y'all. I can have a whimsical side if I want to.

8. " I've known a lot of girls before/What's the harm in knowing one more?/Maybe we could even get together/Maybe you could break my heart next summer /Why bother? It's gonna hurt me/It's gonna kill when you desert me/This happened to me twice before/Won't happen to me anymore
--"Why Bother?" Weezer
I love songs about low self-esteem. And about not having high expectations. Rivers Cuomo, you make the world much less lonely for sad bastards everywhere.


Not everything needs explanation though:

9. "The most tender place in my heart is for strangers/I know it's unkind, but my own blood is much too dangerous."
--"Hold On, Hold On" Neko Case

10. "Like the naked leads the blind/I know I'm selfish, I'm unkind./Sucker love I always find,/Someone to bruise and leave behind."
--"Every Me Every You" Placebo


You can play too---


jbro said...

Some Good ones...

"My lady?s on the fly and she?s never coming back
My love is like a steam train rolling down the tracks yea, yea"

and of course:
"She took the last train out of my heart ooo, ooo
She took the last train
And now I think I?ll make a brand new start
She took the last train out of my heart"

Heartbreak Station-Cinderella

This is basically the entire song, which is brilliant...

Most romantic lyric ever...

"And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine"

The Smiths
Song: There is a light that never goes out

Hottest song lyric:

"This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end

It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me

The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end"

The End by The Doors

KRD said...

I should have known I could rely on you to play along, J-Bro. (Not that I expected Cinderella lyrics, but I guess that I shouldn't be surprised. Have I ever told you, by the way, that I have actually SEEN Cinderella? It was a strange experience . . . )

The hottest song lyric, to my way of thinking is "Send me the pillow, the one that you dream on." I don't know why--that just seems really, really, really hot. (And is also from one of my very, very favorite Smiths songs.)