Waxing lyrical #8
Over the last week and a half, we've plastered the blog with our favourite lyrics. The Ivors are round the corner (17th May) and we thought it'd be a great idea to get everyone here at The Writer involved in writing a blog.
So we've been wracking our brains to choose our most loved lyrics – ones that really mean something to us. It's a great way for the not-so-regular bloggers to get involved. Here's today's dosage, and there's plenty more in previous blog posts.
‘One day my dad said, "Find someone new" / I had to tell my Jimmy we're through / (whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?) / He stood there and asked me why / But all I could do was cry / I'm sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)’
The Leader Of The Pack, by The Shangri-las.
Ah, teenage love. This is definitely up there as one of the most traumatic songs I’ve ever heard. It’s just devastating. I love songs that literally tell a story. And this does just that.
It starts at the beginning, with Betty chatting to her pals about her new boy, Jimmy. And as the story progresses, you know it’s going to all end in tears. It’s even got motorbike sounds effects in the song to really paint the picture of that dark, rainy night when Jimmy dies. Terrible, I know. I really couldn't pick my favourite line from this song, so here's a little taster. But you really should listen to it all (the whole way through, on full volume) to truly appreciate it. Listen and weep.
‘No-one laughs at God in a hospital / No-one laughs at God in a war’
Laughing With, written and performed by Regina Spektor.
I wouldn’t call myself religious. But I guess I’d never rule it out, either. The way I’ve always put it is I believe in something. I just don’t know what yet.
But this song, and these lyrics, always make me feel a bit humble. I don’t think they’re necessarily just about God. I think they’re about the need, every so often in your life, to believe in something and have faith. No matter how much of an atheist you think you are, I don’t think there are many people who can honestly say there’s never been a time when they’ve prayed to something.
The whole song works with this hypnotic repetitiveness: ‘No-one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake / No-one’s laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else, and they hope that they’re mistaken’. It teeters between shorter sentences and longer lines, stitching this reliable rhythm, that gets broken up by the chorus every so often.
This song and these lyrics. They make you think about just how many times you’ve prayed to something. Atheist or not.
‘No money in our jackets and our jeans are torn / Your hands are cold but your lips are warm’
Down to the Waterline, by Dire Straits.
Much to my frustration, I’m the type of person who doesn’t normally absorb lyrics. I appreciate them, no doubt. But for me the stamp of a good song is the way it sounds; the organised cacophony of cadences and lilts and riffs and bass. It’s probably why I like hip-hop, because the voice forms the rhythm more than anything else.
So I decided to choose lyrics to a song whose tune I can’t remember. (There’s logic in that somewhere.)
I have no idea what Down to the Waterline sounds like. I heard it once when I was eighteen and impressionable, and a dreamy boy from school played it to me. I completely melted, and I’ve remembered the line ‘Your hands are cold but your lips are warm’ since. Probably because it’s the most ridiculously cool and sexy line ever. (And I still fancy the pants off the boy.)