The Lyrics Thread.

Discussion in 'Music Discussion (BAM'S Bieberverse)' started by Rimbaud82, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Let's talk about lyrics...what lyricists you like the most, what songs in particular, what style of lyrics do you like, how important are they to you? etc. etc.

    @FeloniousMonk @Jackonfire

    For me the lyrics are very important in music, not all music obviously...like I don't expect Shakespeare when I am groovin' it out to James Brown or something, but I love poetry and appreciate good lyrics which can often be as good.

    So this might turn into a bit of a ramble as I have had a few pints but here we go. To start with two obvious names, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison are probably favourite lyricists of all time. Even though their styles are very different. Dylan is generally more cynical, surreal (on his electric albums most obviously and that's the stuff I like the best, but on others too) and literary in a strange sense... it's filled to the brim with characters and allusions to all kinds of things, from Shakespeare, the blues, pop culture, early american history, French Poetry the King James Bible and lots more besides. It's a constant blending of high and low culture, exemplified by a song like Tombstone Blues I think. His lyrics are obviously very political too, in the early protest songs obviously but much better to my mind in songs like It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) for example. Which is one of my absolute favourite songs, the words just ring so true to me:



    I could list the entire song, every verse has something worth quoting but I love this section:

    For them that must obey authority
    That they do not respect in any degree
    Who despise their jobs, their destinies
    Speak jealously of them that are free
    Cultivate their flowers to be
    Nothing more than something they invest in

    Another favourite is Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, which is a reference to the poem My Bohemian Life by Arthur Rimbaud (one of my favourite poets, and Bob's of course). The title itself references 'Tom Thumb' and a section in the poem (in one translation anyway) reads:

    My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.
    – Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
    My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.
    – My stars in the sky rustled softly.


    Another line reads in the song reads -

    I started out on Burgundy
    But soon hit the harder stuff


    while in the poem there is a reference to:

    And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
    On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
    Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine
    (which is often translated as strong burgundy).

    So the song itself is a kind of ironic take on the concept of a 'bohemian' life, ie. maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be.

    I could go on about Dylan all day, he has so many songs and so many great lyrics with great imagery like, Tombstone Blues, Highway 61 Revisited, Desolation Row and so on. I came across this great video yesterday about All Along The Watchtower, which came at a time when his lyrics where changing a bit, becoming less blatantly surreal but still very interesting:



    As for Van, well his lyrics are very different but just as good I think. Plus since Van is from the same place as me (literally, as well as mentally I think) I do think I feel a certain connection to his music. When Van sings about Cyprus Avenue, Sandy Row, Fitzroy Avenue and so on it does make it feel more personal.

    Where Bob's lyrics can be poetic because of the surreal imagery, allusions, wit, social commentary and so on...Van's lyrics are extremely poetic largely because of the words themselves, which are usually very pastoral, or even mystical at times. As a writer Van strikes me as very much in line with someone like Yeats (in terms of their outlook rather than style), someone like Garcia Lorca. Lester Bangs juxtaposed the two quite successfully:

    If I ventured in the slipstream
    Between the viaducts of your dreams
    Where the mobile steel rims crack
    And the ditch and the backroads stop
    Could you find me
    Would you kiss my eyes
    And lay me down
    In silence easy
    To be born again

    Van Morrison

    My heart of silk
    is filled with lights,
    with lost bells,
    with lilies and bees.
    I will go very far,
    farther than those hills,
    farther than the seas,
    close to the stars,
    to beg Christ the Lord
    to give back the soul I had
    of old, when I was a child,
    ripened with legends,
    with a feathered cap
    and a wooden sword.

    Federico Garcia Lorca


    German Expressionists like Rilke and Trakl are very similar is style and tone as well I think. Expressionism is an attempt to:

    For me this sums up well the style of Van's lyrics. Or as Wim Wenders puts it:

    A perfect example is on Cyprus Avenue when Van sings:

    I think I'll go on by the river with my cherry, cherry wine
    I believe I'll go walking by the railroad with my cherry, cherry wine
    If I pass the rumbling station where the lonesome engine drivers pine

    Literally
    it really doesn't mean an awful lot, but yet somehow it still says something meaningful and speaks to a certain kind of emotion. Obviously the whole of Astral Weeks is filled with lyrics like this...

    And I will stroll the merry way
    And jump the hedges first
    And I will drink the clear
    Clean water for to quench my thirst
    And I shall watch the ferry-boats
    And they'll get high
    On a bluer ocean
    Against tomorrow's sky
    And I will never grow so old again
    And I will walk and talk
    In gardens all wet with rain


    And he only really touched on that sort of song a few other times on his other albums. Saint Dominic's Preview and Almost Independence Day would be two other examples. The other album that is considered Astral Weeks 'twin' is Veedon Fleece, it's not as popular though for whatever reason as it's just as good... My favourite song on that album is You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River", with images like:

    We're goin' out in the country to get down to the real soul,
    I mean the real soul, people, talkin' 'bout the real soul people
    We're goin' out in the country, get down to the real soul
    We're gettin' out to the west coast....


    .....Blake and the Eternals, standin' with the Sisters of Mercy
    Looking for the Veedon Fleece, yeah
    William Blake and the Eternals, standin' with the Sisters of Mercy
    Looking for the Veedon Fleece, yeah


    I could talk about Van all day as well so I'll try and stop there, though I am sure I'll post more of my favourite lyrics in the future. As well as some of my favourite current lyricists like Father John Misty, The Tallest Man on Earth, Robin Pecknold etc.

    So anyway, as I said in the first paragraph...who are you favourite lyricists/lyrics, what sort of lyrics do you generally like and so on?
     
    #1
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  2. chickenluver Bookmobile Driver

    chickenluver
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    To me lyrics are the single LEAST important aspect of music. I consider the sounds of the words themselves to be of greater importance than the meaning of the lyrics.

    That being said I've grown to appreciate some good lyrics in recent years

    Here's a great song with Music by George Gershwin with lyrics by his brother Ira. The lyrics are simple yet charming. It's funny that Ira trashes the Tin Pan Alley composers of the day, including his own brother, the composer of the music these lyrics are set to, in favor of Strauss.



    Away with the music of Broadway
    Be off with your Irving Berlin
    Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
    And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin

    How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
    It's only for nightclubbin' souses
    Oh give me the free 'n' easy waltz that is Vienneasy and
    Go tell the band If they want a hand
    The waltz must be Strauss's

    Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah
    When I want a melody
    Lilting through the house
    Then I want a melody
    By Strauss
    It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
    Swinging to three-quarter time

    Let the Danube flow along
    And the Fledermauss
    Keep the wine and give me song
    By Strauss

    By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
    So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
    Just give me your oom-pa-pah, by Strauss!

    Let the Danube flow along
    And the Fledermauss
    Keep the wine and give me song
    By Strauss

    By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
    So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
    Just give me your oom-pa-pah



    These Bob Dylan lyrics might be my favorite

    They say everything can be replaced
    They say every distance is not near
    So I remember every face
    Of every man who put me here

    I see my light come shinin'
    From the west down to the east
    Any day now, any day now
    I shall be released

    They say every man needs protection
    They say that every man must fall
    Yet I swear I see my reflection
    Somewhere so high above this wall

    I see my light come shinin'
    From the west down to the east
    Any day now, any day now
    I shall be released

    Now yonder stands a man in this lonely crowd
    A man who swears he's not to blame
    All day long I hear him shouting so loud
    Just crying out that he was framed

    I see my light come shinin'
    From the west down to the east
    Any day now, any day now
    I shall be released
     
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  3. FeloniousMonk Red Belt

    FeloniousMonk
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    The quality of lyrics as a whole
    is not imperative or crucial for
    my enjoyment of music.
    Especially considering that a lot
    of music I truly love is foreign & i
    STILL know nothing of the lyrics.
    But also because there is
    countless pure instrumental songs
    that I love just as much as songs
    with lyrics. In these instances, the
    instruments find their own way
    of conveying & communicating
    emotion, much like lyrics.

    With that said, hip hop or rap
    is held by a different standard imo.
    The best artists definitely need
    to come with some real ryhthmic
    & honest content & your ability
    to deliver your words is JUST as
    important. People don't really
    care about lyrical quality in hip
    hop or rap like they used to,
    unfortunately. So the landscape
    has become diluted. Artists all
    sound the same & shit never lasts.

    & I agree with you about some of
    them being just as good as poetry.
    (I love Lorca, by the way)
    Morrison had a poetic delivery
    & I feel Dylan had more of a poetic
    structure. They're both fantastic
    writers. & Could've probably excelled
    at being writers if they were never
    great musicians.

    With all that said, I do have some
    personal favorite lyricists. Leonard
    Cohen, Nick Blinko of Rudimentary
    Peni, Ian Curtis of Joy Division,
    Eve Libertine of Crass, Graham Lewis
    of Wire, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth,
    Black Francis/Kim Deal of Pixies,
    Guru of Gangstarr, Mos Def, Jayson
    Greene of Orchid, Lauryn Hill
    Guy Piciotto of Rites of Spring/Fugazi

    Not much uniformity to the list, but
    they all have written songs that have
    resonated with me for one reason or
    another. Just to make a few selections,
    I'll start with what first springs to mind
    with each one...


    And then leaning on your window sill
    he'll say one day you caused his will
    to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
    And then taking from his wallet
    an old schedule of trains, he'll say
    I told you when I came I was a stranger
    I told you when I came I was a stranger.

    But now another stranger seems
    to want you to ignore his dreams
    as though they were the burden of some other
    O you've seen that man before
    his golden arm dispatching cards
    but now it's rusted from the elbows to the finger
    And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter
    Yes he wants to trade the game he knows for shelter.

    This dude was a legit schizophrenic.
    It showed in his artwork, but his lyrics
    are completely clear and concise.
    Often politically driven, sometimes
    existentially driven.

    "Being honest is no means of survival,
    avoid your inner-feelings like the plague,

    This is what it takes to comply with the
    images this structure will accommodate,

    But things aren't what they seem when
    they're partially hidden behind walls of
    pretense built for peace of mind.

    The barriers between us are forever
    maintained by our acceptance of the
    roles others choose to define."

    Instincts that can still betray us,
    A journey that leads to the sun,
    Soulless and bent on destruction,
    A struggle between right and wrong.
    You take my place in the showdown,
    I'll observe with a pitiful eye,
    I'd humbly ask for forgiveness,
    A request well beyond you and I.
    By far the superior song writer
    of the group. Lee Ranaldo has
    released tons of albums that have
    his great guitar work drowned over
    his spoken word. All of which is
    some quality beat style poetry.


    "Tell me Joni, am I right by you?
    Tell me how yr gonna lose this hard luck?
    Hey Joni, when will all these dreams come true?
    You'd better find a way
    To climb down off that truck

    Shots ring out from the center of an empty field
    Joni's in the tall grass
    She's a beautiful mental jukebox
    A sailboat explosion
    A snap of electric whipcrack

    She's not thinking about the future
    She's not spinning her wheels
    She doesn't think at all about the past
    She thinking long and hard
    About that high wild sound
    And wondering will it last?"
    I, I believed, my memory might
    mirror no reflections on me.

    I, I believed, that in forgetting,
    I might set myself free.

    But I woke up this morning
    With a piece of past caught in
    my throat- and then I choked

    ...I woke up this morning
    With the present in splinters on
    the ground-and then I drowned.

    System, system, system.
    Death in life.
    System, system, system.
    The surgeons knife.
    System, system, system.
    Hacking at the cord.
    System, system, system.
    A child is born.
    Poor little fucker, poor little kid,
    Never asked for life, no she never did.
    Poor little baby, poor little mite,
    Crying out for food as her parents fight.

    System, system, system.
    Send him to school.
    System, system, system.
    Force him to crawl.
    System, system, system.
    Teach him how to cheat.
    System, system, system.
    Kick him off his feet.
    Poor little schoolboy, poor little lad,
    They'll pat him if he's good,
    and they'll beat him if he's bad.
    Poor little kiddy, poor little chap,
    They'll force feed his mind with their useless crap.

    System, system, system.
    They'll teach her how to cook.
    System, system, system.
    Teach her how to look.
    System, system, system.
    They'll teach her all the tricks,
    System, system, system.
    Create another victim for their greasy pricks.
    Poor little girly, poor little wench,
    Another little object to prod and pinch.
    Poor little sweety, poor little filly,
    They'll fuck her mind so they can fuck her silly.


    These aren't like, all time-favorite
    songs, either, or in any particular
    order. I just wrote down lyricists who
    have always stood out to me& thought
    of the first verses that came to mind.


    I think I'm most geared to lyrics
    that are political, driven by struggle;
    or existential, driven by spirituality,
    love & inquiry. Though, I'm not picky.
    As long as they're honest and genuine-
    chances are, I'll appreciate it.
     
    #3
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  4. Svithjod För Moder Svea!

    Svithjod
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    I'm a folk music guy. I love it more than any other genre, and it's not only because of the realness with traditional, pastoral sounds etc.
    Folk musicians (OK, far from everyone, but many of them!) also have the best lyrics imo. A lot of them are into poetry of course, which makes songs so much more interesting to me. (Seriously, how can people listen to that generic RnB nonsense on the radio?). But most importantly, the kind of lyrics I'm talking about are personal, goes deep within, and means something to the writer! I always realize just how much while listening to those songs... No shallow gimmick or fake personality to fit in, just a way to be heard and express thier feelings. And there's always the factor of recognition too, which makes them very special to me.

    Here are some of my favorite artists:




     
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  5. Jackonfire Senior Moderator

    Jackonfire
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    Lou Reed has written some of my favorite lyrics in music. Which is no surprise considering he got his start as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. He was a student of Delmore Schwartz. From Wiki: He credited Schwartz with showing him how "with the simplest language imaginable, and very short, you can accomplish the most astonishing heights."
    I think he was able to do this throughout his life. Early songs like Heroin and Sweet Jane, Walk On The Wild Side, Perfect Day and Vicious reach those astonishing heights using simple language. But as a whole, 1989's New York is probably the most cohesive collection of songs that truly highlight his lyrical talent. The liner notes direct the listener to hear the 57-minute album in one sitting, "as though it were a book or a movie." From the opening track Romeo Had Juliette you quickly realize Lou is in top form:

    Caught between the twisted stars
    The plotted lines the faulty map
    That brought Columbus to New York
    Betwixt between the East and West
    He calls on her wearing a leather vest
    The earth squeals and shudders to a halt
    A diamond crucifix in his ear
    Is used to help ward off the fear
    That he has left his soul in someone's rented car

    that last line, I think, is his acknowledgement to the Beat poets like Burroughs, Ginsberg, and especially Brautigan, who wrote the poem Death Is A Beautiful Car Parked Only.

    The entire album is lyrically rich with that simple language. And the songs more often than not reach those astonishing heights. This one is about the Aids epidemic in the 80's that hit New York particularly hard.

     
    #5
  6. BeardotheWeirdo Silver Belt

    BeardotheWeirdo
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    My favourite band since I was 15. Propagandhi have great lyrics, without fail, every song. Very political though.

    They're Canadian, and so is his friend that he's singing about. She also lives in Canada (now) that's why he talk's about the "fucking cold"

    Propagandhi - Night Letters

    "Your world was blown right apart
    On a night of sickening death.
    You went running for your life,
    And never went home again.

    I spend sleepless nights as my head
    Swims worrying about you.

    You work the night shift
    So you won't be alone.

    I am adept at cold.
    You have travelled so far from home,
    And sorrow has followed every step of the way.
    You're caught between this life and the one left behind.

    I see it's burning you inside,
    Like some exploding sun.
    Your mind constantly returns
    To a place that's not so fucking cold...

    But on fire with war.

    You're starting over from scratch,
    Sending your money home.
    You're working as hard as you can
    While life hangs in the air.

    I see distant lights up ahead,
    But I'm worrying about you.

    It's all taking its toll
    And you can't concentrate.

    You are being crushed by the world.
    I have got lucky so far.
    And we sit, at the end of this night, dialing
    An answer finally reached through a long-distance line.

    News of threatening night letters,
    Stones tossed over the fence.
    Your loved ones taunted by murderers.
    Tell them it's three years that they'll have to wait...

    As their whole world implodes"




    Propagandhi - State Lottery (*It's about how politicians celebrating winning an election shows their true intentions)

    "Does it seem strange to you?
    The confetti, the balloons, the mile-wide grins?
    The victory dance to welcome in the heir to a state of disrepair?
    'Cause it sure seems strange to me.
    They're acting like they won the lottery.
    But shouldn't they feel terror at the task that lies ahead?
    To feed and house the people that this system's left for dead.
    And could I have hit the nail much harder on the head?
    It's profits before lives. They are motivated by greed.
    First they taught us to depend on their nation states to mend
    our tired minds, our broken bones, our bleeding limbs.
    But now they've sold off all the splints and contracted out the tourniquets.
    And if we jump through hoops, then we might just survive.
    Is this what we deserve?
    To scrub the palace floors?
    To fight amongst ourselves,
    as we scramble for the crumbs they spit out?
    Frothing at the mouth about the scapegoats that they've chosen for us.
    With every racist pointed finger, I hear the goose steps getting closer.
    They no longer represent us. Is it not our obligation
    to confront this tyranny?"




    Please Inform The Captain This is a Hi-Jack - Karma Collection Day

    "The verdict's in, court is closed, payment's due.
    It's Karma Collection Day,
    And all around the world there's people saying:
    Weapons? Check!
    Are you ready? Yes!
    Let's get it on with these devils.
    I don't know if there's hell below,
    If so, let's kick them to the lowest levels.
    We march with gas in bottles, zip guns
    And pipe bomb power.
    We march, legions of ants, to devour this mega monster.
    All members of the international bad guy league take note:
    We laugh and cheer and celebrate
    Every time that you get smoked.

    I saw you in Nasaria,
    I was there at Diem Bien Phu.
    I saw you on CNN.
    Stripped to the ass for the live broadcast,
    While the children parade your remains through the streets.

    I saw you in Montevideo,
    Stuffed plastic in the trunk of a car.
    Ask Aldo how it feels.
    Because tonight, tonight
    Everyone dances or nobody dances.
    To celebrate a midnight verdict
    Scrawled in blood on the discotheque walls.

    You've got hands and a heart
    And friends that share a gut feeling.
    A blueprint for combustion,
    Send the emperor's assassins reeling.
    There's something on the horizon
    It's the terror of every scoundrel.
    A flock of enemy combatants come to take away your power.
    Pressure points and arteries, at home and overseas.
    Capital gains have jugular veins,
    We've got sharpened steel and muscle.

    I saw you at Mogadishu,
    I was there on the morning of Tet.
    We have a date and we won't forget
    That tonight, tonight, we lower your earthly remains.
    All over the world we recite your last rites.
    A joyous celebration.
    A holiday to serenade your memory into oblivion.

    Back to hell.



    Against Me! - Reinventing Axl Rose
    (*the songs about playing for the love of the punk music and culture)

    We want a band that plays loud and hard every night
    That doesn't care how many people are counted at the door
    That would travel one million miles and ask for nothing more than a plate of food and a place to rest
    They'd strike chords that cut like a knife
    It would mean so much more than t-shirts or a ticket stub
    They'd stop at nothing short of a massacre
    Everyone would leave with the memory that there was no place else in the world
    And this was where they always belonged
    We would dance like no one was watching
    With one fist in the air
    Our arena just basements and bookstores across an underground America
    With this fire we could light
    Just gimme a scene where the music is free
    And the beer is not the life of the party
    There's no need to shit talk or impress
    'Cause honesty and emotion are not looked down upon
    And every promise that's made and bragged
    is meant if not kept
    We'd do it all because we have to, not because we know why
    Beyond a gender, race, and class, we could find what really holds us back
    Let's make everybody sing
    That they are the beginning and ending of everything
    That we all are stronger than everything they taught us that we should fear

     
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  7. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    That's fair enough, I can understand why some people aren't as keen on lyrics. After all it is music first and foremost, and as I said for me it depends on the sort of music I am listening to. But then poetry and music have always been intertwined going back to the ancient Greeks and before, and good lyrics accompanied by good music can be a special combination. The sound of the words is incredibly important though no doubt, especially since in music you can sing various different ways and don't need to rely on meter or rhyme as heavily as in actual poetry.
    I absolutely I Shall Be Released as well, perfectly conveys the emotion of a man that has been imprisoned without explicitly having to state it.
     
    #7
  8. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Yes that is a good point and I do like a lot of foreign music too, where it's either the instrumentation or the sound and emotion of the voice that makes the impact. I do tend to look up translations to songs that I really like though.

    And this is true as well, I mean jazz is one of my favourite genres. But I suppose I touched on that when I said that it depends on the sort of music.

    Yeah I am not a big hip-hop guy generally, but I can appreciate the technique and skill that goes into it. Out of all music it's probably the most like poetry in the actual composition of the lyrcis (not the most 'poetic' in that sense though), since things like rhyme, internal rhyme, meter and other tools are much more important. As an example though, one hip-hop artist that I love is Common:



    In front of two-inch glass and Arabs I order fries
    Inspiration when I write, I see my daughter's eyes
    I'm the truth, across the table from corporate lies
    Immortilized by the realness I bring to it
    If revolution had a movie I'd be theme music
    My music, you either fight, fuck, or dream to it
    My life is one big rhyme, I try to scheme through it
    Through my shell, never knew what the divine would bring to it
    I'd be lying if I said I didn't want millions
    More than money saved, I wanna save children
    Dealing with alcoholism and afrocentricity
    A complex man drawn off of simplicity
    Reality is frisking me
    This industry will make you lose intensity
    The Common Sense in me remembers the basement
    I'm Morpheus in this hip-hop Matrix, exposing fake shit


    Yeah I tend to agree, when you look at Dylan's on the page some of them could just pass for poems bevause he tends to utilise a regular structure. Whereas when you look at Van's lyrics on a page (and I have the book "Lit Up Inside" that was published by Faber & Faber) it can look a bit odd when not sung since he utilises a lot of vocal techniques like scat and repetition. One song that was published in that book which I love (musically and lyrically) is Summertime in England:



    Cool list, some of these guys I am not as familiar with. Strangely though I have never been a massive Leonard Cohen fan, even though he is brilliant lyricist and an actual poet to boot. Don't get me wrong I like a lot of his songs but I never connected with on the same level as Van for example.

    Loved some of those lyric man, even though some of it was definitely different to what I would normally go for. I love that though, "driven by struggle; or existential, driven by spirituality, love & inquiry.". I am the same. Honesty is a big thing too.
     
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  9. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Bob has a brilliant quote which says:

     
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  10. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    You're a man after my heart then I love folk music, I don't know that I could pick it over ever other genre because I love so music but it's definitely up there. And I agree there is something about folk which lends itself to great lyrics, probably the storytelling tradition in it, along with the fact that the instrumentation is typically quite sparse which means that your words are just as important.

    I was discussing this with my fellow music loving mate over a few pints last night actually, for me there is some deeply authentic about folk music, something that is honest and essential. There are no gimmicks as you say. Particularly in the case of genuinely old stuff, but also in modern songwriters for those reasons you mention, they are often interested in self-inquiry and society as a whole.

    I love every single one of these artists.

    Nick Drake epitomises that that sort of emotional, self-reflective song-writer. His lyrics are often quite simple in their imagery compared to someone like Dylan (as in Place to Be) but they are very good in their own way. Lyrically my favorite of his, if I could just one, might be Northern Sky:



    I never felt magic crazy as this
    I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
    I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
    Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
    But now you’re here
    Brighten my northern sky

    I’ve been a long time that I’m waiting
    Been a long time that I’m blown
    I’ve been a long time that I’ve wandered
    Through the people I have known
    Oh, if you would and you could
    Straighten my new mind’s eye

    Would you love me for my money
    Would you love me for my head
    Would you love me through the winter
    Would you love me ‘til I’m dead
    Oh, if you would and you could
    Come blow your horn on high

    I never felt magic crazy as this
    I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
    I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
    Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
    But now you’re here

    Brighten my northern sky

    Jackson C Frank is a tragic story too, I think it's hard to beat this classic (it's a shame a lot of people seem to think this is a Simon and Garfunkel song):



    Love Donovan's stuff as well, the likes of Catch the Wind but more so when he grew out of his Dylan impersonation phase haha. Isle of Islay is a song I love.

    Bert in particular is one of my favourites, I do love his own songs like on the Bert Jansch album but my favourite is Jack Orion. His arrangements of the old tradition stuff are unbelievably good. Like Nottamun Town, which as any folk fan knows is what Dylan used to make Masters of War. It dates from roughly the late medieval/early modern period. I like the suggestion that it's about the English Civil War and that Nottamun is a corruption of Nottingham where Charles I first raised his army. There's just something about the lyrics.



    In fair Nottamun town, not a soul would look up
    Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down
    Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down
    To show me the way to fair Nottamun town

    I rode a gray horse, a mule roany mare
    Gray mane and gray tail, a green stripe down her back
    Gray mane and gray tail, a green stripe down her back
    There wasn't a hair on her be-what was coal black

    She stood so still, she threw me to the dirt
    She tore -a my hide and she bruised my shirt
    From saddle to stirrup I mounted again
    And on my ten toes I rode over the plain

    Met the king and the queen and a company more

    A-riding behind and a-marching before
    Came a stark-naked drummer, a-beating a drum
    With his heels in his bosom come marching along

    They laughed and they smiled, not a soul did look gay
    They talked all the while, not a word they did say
    I bought me a quart to drive gladness away
    And to stifle the dust for it rained the whole day

    Sat down on a hard, hot cold frozen stone
    Ten thousand stood round me and yet I's alone
    Took my hat in my hand for to keep my head warm
    Ten thousand got drowned that never was born

    Bert also covered a number of Anne Briggs, love her music (both traditional and original). This is my favourite of hers, simple lyrics but they have that same honest quality you find in the real old ones:



    Oh, my babe, don't you know
    The time has come for me to go.
    Tomorrow comes like yesterday
    The autumn fades our love away.

    Oh, my babe, don't you know
    The time has come for me to go.
    Don't you think of me no more?
    I'm going to some foreign shore.

    When I'm there maybe I'll find
    Some other young man pleasing to my mind.
    Oh, my babe, why don't you know
    The time has come for me to go.
    Tomorrow comes like yesterday
    The autumn fades our love away.

    And speaking of old songs, I have been listening to this song a lot lately...Lyke-Wake Dirge. There is something about listening to a song that has survived for this long, and the lyrics are great. It can be traced directly to the mid-16th century, but the language and imagery suggests it is significantly older (http://earlymusicmuse.com/lyke-wake-dirge/ )

    Pentangle use the original lyrics which are in a now extinct Yorkshire dialect, reads quite like lowland scots:



    Love this version with modern lyrics too:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd9392iDViA
     
    #10
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  11. FeloniousMonk Red Belt

    FeloniousMonk
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    I like the romance behind loving
    songs that I don't know the meaning
    or themes of. There's quite a few
    songs in my library that I have that
    like this since high school.

    One of my favorite bands growing
    up was La Quiete, an italian punk act
    (Also had some great instrumental songs)

    "You wrote on my body that the end
    is not the end." (Some of the lyrics)

    Common is fucking great. Definitely
    stands head & shoulders above
    most lyricists who are still hammering
    away in the depleted scene of hip hop.
    If you like Common, I think you'd enjoy
    Mos Def. Dude is flawless when he's on



    The deadly ritual seems immersed, in the perverse
    Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts
    Long barrel automatics released in short bursts
    The length of black life is treated with short worth
    Get yours first, them other :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:z secondary
    That type of illin' that be fillin' up the cemetery
    This life is temporary but the soul is eternal
    Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you
    Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain't directed
    That's why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
    Not free, we only licensed
    Not live, we just excitin'
    Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin'
    Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
    Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game
    Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey
    most of the things that we think, do, or say
    We chasin' after death just to call ourselves brave
    But everyday, next man meet with the grave
    I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy
    I'm tryin' to live life in the sight of God's memory


    As for the Van/Dylan point... I guess
    I just feel that Van has more soul in
    his delivery. Dylan comes off a bit
    preachy to me. I prefer his love songs.
    Blood on the Tracks is my favorite
    album of his for this reason. I can't
    really listen to Dylan to chill & enjoy
    myself. It's more thinking music.
    Van's music certainly has this as well...
    but to me, his music just feels a little
    more accessible. He allowed for more
    freedom in his music than Dylan imo


    & Yeah, like I said... these songs are
    not my favorites or anything. I just
    think they're good examples of each
    of their writing abilities. Most of them
    likely won't be winning any Pulitzers
    like dylan or van could have potentially. lol

    But they all had something to say
    & it was their something. Yeah, honesty
    is always important to me in art. All this
    new Lil' Dickie or other gimmick artists
    like Lil B or whatever. They don't do it
    for me. I mean, I get it... get money...
    But it isn't good music... & it for sure
    isn't hip hop. Or even some of the
    modern pop. Like Drake trying to start
    rap "beef".... dude's from Canada.
    Act the part, imo. Facades are weak.
    Sorry Rim, rant over. lol
     
    #11
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
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  12. Anung Un Rama The Right Hand of Doom

    Anung Un Rama
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    Love this idea TS.

    Lover, You Should Have Come Over is a beautiful song beginning to end, but:

    "She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever"

    Might be my all time favorite lyric.



    Looking out the door
    I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
    Parading in a wake of sad relations
    As their shoes fill up with water

    And maybe I'm too young
    To keep good love from going wrong
    But tonight, you're on my mind so
    You never know

    Broken down and hungry for your love
    With no way to feed it
    Where are you tonight?
    Child, you know how much I need it
    Too young to hold on
    And too old to just break free and run

    Sometimes a man gets carried away
    When he feels like he should be having his fun
    Much too blind to see the damage he's done
    Sometimes a man must awake to find that, really
    He has no one

    So I'll wait for you and I'll burn
    Will I ever see your sweet return
    Oh, will I ever learn?
    Oh, lover, you should have come over
    'Cause it's not too late

    Lonely is the room the bed is made
    The open window lets the rain in
    Burning in the corner is the only one
    Who dreams he had you with him

    My body turns and yearns for a sleep
    That won't ever come it's never over
    My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
    It's never over, all my riches for her smiles
    When I slept so soft against her
    It's never over

    All my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
    It's never over, she's the tear
    That hangs inside my soul forever
    Oh, but maybe I'm just too young
    To keep good love from going wrong

    Oh, lover you should have come over
    Yeah, I feel too young to hold on
    I'm much too old to break free and run
    Too deaf, dumb, and blind
    To see the damage I've done

    Sweet lover, you should have come over
    Oh, love I'm waiting for you
    Lover, lover, lover, love, love, love
    Love, love, love, love, love, love, love
    Lover, you should have come over
    'Cause it's not too late

    Written by Jeff Buckley • Copyright © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
     
    #12
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  13. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Yeah digging this song definitely, the lyrics anyway. Fucking love this right here:

    They say money's the root of all evil but I can't tell
    You know what I mean, pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills
    Or is it the mindstate that's ill?


    Especially the mention of cowrie shells along with the forms of actual currency, human nature doesn't change no matter where you go.

    Those are some brilliant lyrics definitely, it's a great combination of 'street' stuff and the spiritual/existential issues that come with that.


    Yeah no doubt, I suppose it comes from their backgrounds really even both were ultimately startingly original. Bob comes from that Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger protest music, folk tradition(lots of blues and rock n roll and whatnot too, but his first albums were in that vein) and it's hard to sing about political issues without preaching a little bit I guess. Whereas Van's background is in similar stuff of course, but there is a lot of soul stuff there...like Bobby Bland, Jay McShann, Jimmy Witherspoon and so on. Both are great in their own ways, but Van is like a holy man.

    I completely get what you are saying though, and his love songs are some of my favourites. Like Boots of Spanish Leather, one of my all time favourite songs (though I like its twin, Girl From The North Country too):



    And while we are juxtaposing poets and songwriters:

    Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
    And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
    I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss
    For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’

    - Bob Dylan

    Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
    -
    WB Yeats

    Yeah absolutely, that's what Dylan was getting at in that quote I posted.[/QUOTE]
     
    #13
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  14. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Oh man that is beautiful, I listen to a lot of his live at sin e album. He does a fucking great cover of Sweet Thing, and that's no easy feat, so you know that Jeff was a guy that really got it.

    His studio album is great but I don't listen to it enough actually, this is some great stuff. I've heard it before but not enough to really notice the lyrics.

    I know he never really knew his dad but it clearly runs in the family lol. I love some of Tim's lyrics:



    Just like a buzzin' fly I come into your life
    Now I float away like honey in the sun
    Was it right or wrong?
    I couldn't sing that song anyway

    Oh, but darlin', now I remember
    How the sun shone down
    And how it warmed your prayin' smile
    When all the love was there

    You're the one I talk about, you're the one I think about
    Everywhere I go
    But sometimes honey in the mornin'
    Oh, I miss you so

    That's how I know I found a home
    That's how I know I found home

    Oh, hear the mountains ringing
    Lord, I can hear them singing, darling, out your name
    And tell me if you know just how the river flows
    Down to the sea

    Now I wanna know
    Mama, everything about you now
    I wanna know
    Mama, everything about you

    What makes ya smile? What makes ya wild?
    What makes ya love me this way
    Mama, I wanna know
    Darlin' I wanna know

    You're the one I talk about, you're the one I think about
    Everywhere I go
    And sometimes honey in the mornin'
    Oh, I miss you so

    That's how I know I found a home
    That's how I know I found a home

    A walkin' hand in hand and all along the sand
    Seabird knew your name now
    I think he knows your love was growin' I think it knows it's flowin'
    Mama, through you and me

    Ah, tell me darlin'
    If I should leave you
    Ah, tell me darlin'
    I never want to grieve you

    Just like a buzzin' fly I'll come into your life
    And I'll float away like honey in the sun
    Was it right or wrong?
    I couldn't sing that song anyway

    Oh, but darlin', now I remember
    How the sun shown down
    And how it warmed your prayin' smile
    When all the love was there

    You're the one I talk about, you're the one I think about
    Everywhere I go
    And sometimes honey, in the mornin'
    Oh, I miss you so

    Oh darlin', I miss you so
    Hey mama I miss you so
    I miss you so, yeah
    Mama I miss you so




    I got this strange strange feelin'
    Deep down in my heart
    I can't tell what it is
    But it won't let go
    It happens every time
    I give you more than what I have
    But now all I need is a little time to sing this song
    And I think we're gonna find a way to lose this strange feelin'

    All around I feel ya, darlin', feel ya darlin'
    When you're home all alone
    Oh, don't you need somebody to talk your troubles to
    Ah, lord I know I want to catch the morning train, lord the first thing
    Oh, I want to hear you say we're gonna take that strange feelin'
    Oh, take it all away

    Well it's just like a mockingbird a-singing on a hillside
    Churping at his morning song
    But don't you weep don't you fret don't you wail don't you moan
    Can't you hear that whiporwill a-callin?
    Now don't you worry
    Your daddy's comin' home
    He's gonna chase those blues away
    And believe me when I say
    We're gonna lose that strange feelin' all around all around
     
    #14
  15. Anung Un Rama The Right Hand of Doom

    Anung Un Rama
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    Love Tim and Jeff!
     
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  16. FeloniousMonk Red Belt

    FeloniousMonk
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    That's Talib Kweli.
    The other half of Black Star.
    He's great too. This song of theirs
    was just a masterpiece, though.
    It should go down in history as top
    10 hip hop song ever, really...

    They're one of the first hip hop acts
    that I got into when I first starting
    taking the genre seriously. My main
    exposure to it was gangster rap
    from my brothers. Not for nothing
    though, I still listen to that stuff.
    honestly, I think even you would
    appreciate some of the west coast
    g-funk shit that came out too.
    but that's maybe for another thread. lol

    Anyways... a point came in my
    development as a fan of music where
    I was looking for more than what I
    had found from the hip hop I was
    exposed to... I wanted more out of
    music, in general... & I knew that
    there were groups that had successfully
    incorporated jazz (which I was already
    falling in deep love with at the time),
    with true poetry. That's where groups
    like Black Star, Gangstarr, A Tribe
    Called Quest, De La Soul, Pete Rock
    & CL Smooth
    began filling in the holes
    that I felt was missing from what kept
    me from really being continually enticed
    by the genre
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah, Dylan is largely a subject
    to his era. A lot was obviously going
    on around the time of his peak...so
    many subjects were hard to avoid.
    I don't mind it. There are plenty of
    political/preachy stuff that I enjoy.

    But then at that point, I'd rather have
    it delivered with true openness
    & freedom & emotion, like you would
    find in punk or hip hop. Cause if
    you're not going to allow for your
    assertions & challenges to come
    freely from a place that is personal-
    then why even try to translate them
    into a form or medium like music?


    That songwriter/poet comparison could
    be a fun game.

    Lee Ranaldo wrote "Rain King",
    one of my favorite Sonic Youth songs:



    His lips a fountain
    His daylight sparks
    He's got a shot in his kick, forging the real 'when'
    He's a steel drum, wedding ring, Pontiac door knob ten
    His mind a countdown
    His daylight sparks

    Hung up on a speed king nation, caught up on a nail
    Hanging tight with time, at least, a little while


    William Burroughs "Cold Lost Marbles"

    my ice skates on a wall
    luster of stumps washes his lavender horizon
    he’s got a handsome face of a lousy kid
    rooming houses-dirty fingers
    whistled in the shadow
    “Wait for me at the detour.”
    river... snow... some one vague faded in a mirror
    filigree of trade winds
    clouds white as lace circling the pepper trees
    the film is finished
    memory died when their photos weather-worn points of
    polluted water under the trees in the mist shadow of
    boys by the daybreak in the peony fields cold lost
    marbles in the room carnations three ampoules of
    morphine little blue-eyes. twilight grins between his
    legs yellow fingers blue stars...
     
    #16
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  17. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    I like quite a few, but I'd say my two favourite contemporary lyricists would be Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth) and Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes). Both of them are similar in some ways, both are folk obviously and both deal with similar themes, like general pastoral stuff, existential concerns, fear of death, love, heartbreak and so on. The usual sort of stuff in many ways, but it's how you say it that makes the difference. Both guys write lyrics that can at times be somewhat obscure, but that still mean an awful lot. Seriously there isn't a single song from either of these guys that I don't like.

    One of my all time favourite songs, and all time favourite lines:

    Aw but hell I'm just a blind man on the plains
    I drink my water when it rains
    And live by chance among the lightning strikes




    and from the same album (title track actually):



    There is a crow moon comin in well you keep looking out
    It is the hollow month of march now sweeping in
    Lets watch phenomenon's that rise out of the darkness now
    Within the light she is my storming heroine
    And old machine's abandoned by the ancient races and
    I hear them hummin down below and hollow earth
    Oh hell I guess I know no while I will go under to
    But just for now I let the spring and storm return

    I left my heart to the wild hunt a-comin
    I live until the call
    And I plan to be forgotten when I'm gone
    Yes I'll be leavin' in the fall

    And I will sleep out in the glade just by the giant tree
    Just to be closer when my spirit's pulled away
    I left a nervous little boy out on the trail today
    He's just a mortal to the shoutin' cavalcade

    I left my heart to the wild hunt a-comin
    I live until the call
    And I plan to be forgotten when I'm gone
    Yes I'll be leavin in the fall

    Let's open up the windows have satan departin' now
    And we'll be even when the blues fall down like hail
    Hell I don't even care no more about cadejo now
    If he's a white one or a black one on the trail

    I left my heart to the wild hunt a-comin'
    I live until the call
    And I plan to be forgotten when I'm gone
    Yes I'll be leavin in the fall

    Yes I'll be leavin in the fall


    And those two songs will do for now haha.

    Now for Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues...the title says it all really. Perfectly gets at that existential feeling...



    I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
    Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes
    Unique in each way you can see
    And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
    A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me
    But I don't, I don't know what that will be
    I'll get back to you someday soon you will see...

    ....If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw
    If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
    And you would wait tables and soon run the store
    Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
    If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
    If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore....


    Bedouin Dress:

    And believe me it's not easy when I look back
    Everything I took I'd soon return
    Just to be at Innisfree again
    All of the sirens are driving me over the stern


    Note: The Lake Isle of Innisfree is a poem by WB Yeats (
    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/lake-isle-innisfree)



    Someone You'd Admire:

    After all is said and done I feel the same
    All that I hoped would change within me stayed
    Like a huddled moon-lit exile on the shore
    Warming his hands, a thousand years ago

    I walk with others in me yearning to get out
    Claw at my skin and gnash their teeth and shout
    One of them wants only to be someone you'd admire
    One would as soon just throw you on the fire

    After all is said and after all is done
    God only knows which of them I'll become




    More to come from both lol, but I am trying to refrain just dropping fuck loads of songs/lyrics in one go.
     
    #17
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  18. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Can't forget about John Martyn either, lyrically this is a favourite even though it's an out-take:



    She was the moon and my unveiling
    And needed she did watch me grow
    Now she’s walking where it’s shady
    Seems so strange to watch her go

    And all but the time keeps happening on
    Love keeps singing a song in the evening

    Slowly fading gently jaded
    And sliding evening of my eye
    Boats are leaving leaves are crumbling
    And autumn’s here and trying to cry

    And all but the time keeps happening on
    Love keeps singing a song in the evening

    Going faster getting older
    And all the time is just today
    Got so many ways to see it
    Not so many ways to say

    The time keeps happening on
    Love keeps singing a song in the evening.
     
    #18
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  19. Svithjod För Moder Svea!

    Svithjod
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    Oh, yeah, don't get me wrong... I'm not really a snob when it comes to music. I listen to a lot of different styles all the time. But still, the quality of the best folk songs out there... It's petty hard to beat IMO. I don't know, it's just a special feeling of genuineness (is that the right word?)

    Yes, exactly! I agree with everything. That's what makes folk music so unique and beautiful... I like all of the music in your post man. I'll definitely tune in to this thread now and then, for some quality music and discussion!
     
    #19
  20. Svithjod För Moder Svea!

    Svithjod
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    Haha, damn. I forgot to post John Martyn!

    I love him too. I'll contribute with this one:



    There's a man in the station and a train in the rain
    There's a face in the mirror that's showing the strain
    There's a woman in the dark that's standing apart
    There's a love in the man that's breaking his heart
    But it's alright, I'm catching the next train home
    The next train home

    There's one more circle I'm dying to try
    There's a piece of my head that's asking why
    There's a piece of my heart that's dying to fly
    There's a baby in the woman that's waiting to cry
    But it's alright, I'm catching the next train home
    The next train home

    There's got to be a way for a lazy face and
    Get up and start loving the human race
    There's just got to be a way for a crazy face
    Get out from under this paper chase
    But it's alright, I'm catching the next train home
    Next train home

    There's a man in the station and a train in the rain
    There's a face in the mirror that's showing the strain
    There's a woman in the dark that's standing apart
    There's a love in the man that's breaking his heart
    But it's alright, I'm catching the next train home
    Next train home
     
    #20
    Jackonfire and Rimbaud82 like this.

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