Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Favorite Lyricists

1. Joanna Newsom

then the system of strings tugs on the tip of my wings
(cut from cardboard and old magazines)
makes me warble and rise like a sparrow
and in the place where I stood, there is a circle of wood
a cord or two, which you chop and you stack in your barrow

it is terribly good to carry water and chop wood
streaked with soot, heavy booted and wild-eyed
as I crash through the rafters
and the ropes and pulleys trail after
and the holiest belfry burns sky-high

then the slow lip of fire moves across the prairie with precision
while, somewhere, with your pliers and glue you make your first incision
and in a moment of almost-unbearable vision
doubled over with the hunger of lions
"hold me close," cooed the dove
who was stuffed now with sawdust and diamonds

-Sawdust and Diamonds

(Alright, really, how do I pick ONE verse from a Joanna Newsom song to showcase?)

2. Dan Bejar

You were on the side of good
I was inside of the sea's guts,
A crumbling beauty trapped in a river of ice
A crumbling beauty trapped in paradise,
Oh yes, it was Paradise 

-Bay of Pigs

(Each line in "Bay of Pigs" is better than the next.)

3. Colin Meloy

In bathrooms and barrooms,
On dumpsters and heirlooms,
We bit our tongues.
Sucked our lips into our lungs
'Til we were falling.
Such was our calling.  

-On The Bus Mall

4. Josh Ritter

Galahad took off his boots and he watched the ground quite closely and the Angel smiled to himself again.
He said, "I can't believe I'm asking, but Sir Galahad please tell me - what is it that makes you want to go to Heaven?"

"In Heaven there's no lamb chops, Queen Guineveres for hand jobs, marijuana, Kenny Rogers or ecstasy."
"No pillaging, no rape, perhaps you've come by some mistake to me, this seems more error than knight errantry."  


5. Shane MacGowan

A curse on the judges, the coppers and screws
Who tortured the innocent, wrongly accused
For the price of promotion
And justice to sell
May the judged by their judges when they rot down in hell

May the whores of the empire lie awake in their beds
And sweat as they count out the sins on their heads
While over in Ireland eight more men lie dead
Kicked down and shot in the back of the head 

-Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six

6. Neko Case

Hey little girl, would you like to be the king's pet or the king?
I'd choose odorless and invisible, but otherwise, I would choose the king
Even though it sounds the loneliest
And my brother's hands would poison me

-Wild Creatures

7. Scott Hutchison

I have never wanted more, to be your man
And build a house around you
I am just like all the rest of them
Sorry, selfish, trying to improve

I'm here, I'm here, not heroic but I try

-Acts of Man

8. Matt Berninger

We'll take ourselves out in the street
And wear the blood in our cheeks
Like red roses
We'll go from car to sleeping car
And whisper in their sleeping ears
We were here, we were here
We'll set off the geese of Beverly Road

-The Geese of Beverly Road

9. St. Vincent

Do you have change or a button or cash?
Oh, my pockets hang out like two surrender flags
Oh, but I'd pay anything to keep my conscience clean
Keeping my eye on the exits, I'm steady now

-The Party

10. Ani DiFranco

When I say, "You sucked my brain out" the English translation is,
"I am in love with you." And it is no fun.
But I don't use words like love 'cause words like that don't matter.
But don't look so offended.
You know, you should be flattered. 


11. Fiona Apple

I could liken you to a werewolf the way you left me for dead
And I could liken you to a shark the way you bit off my head
But then again I was waving around a bleeding open wound
12. Patrick Stickles

But I admit that I provided a full moon
Because these humans treat humans like humans treat hogs,
They get used up, carved up, and fried in a pan.
But I wasn't born to die like a dog, I was born to die just like a man.
I was born to die just like a man!
-Four Score and Seven

13. Paul Noonan

He said 'They're like headlights
In the rear view mirror
They're closer that they seem
And from this gutter we're still staring at the stars'
She said 'Would ya go away and shite
Last night all you did was curse those stars
You said they sang to you of hope'

He said 'The sun gives life, and it takes it away
But like all the greats, it'll burn out someday'
She said 'I don't mind, I don't want to get bored
I don't want to end up beached on this shore
I want to be that star'

-Rocky Took a Lover

14. Frank Turner

Justin is the last of the great romantic poets,
and he's the only one among us who is ever going to make it.
We planned a revolution from a cheap Southampton bistro.
I don't remember details but there were English boys with banjos.
Jay is our St George, and he's standing on a wooden chair,
and he sings songs and he slays dragons, and he's losing all his hair.
Adam is the resurrected spirit of Gram Parsons,
in plaid instead of rhinestone and living in South London.
And no one's really clear about Tommy's job description,
but it's pretty clear he's vital to the whole damn operation.
Dave Danger smiles at strangers, Tre's the safest girl I know,
Zo and Harps will skamper up to victory in the city we call home.

-I Knew Prufrock Before He was Famous

15. Conor Oberst

Now a mother takes loans out, sends her kids off to colleges
Her family's reduced to names on a shopping list
While a coroner kneels beneath a great wooden crucifix
He knows there's worse things than being alone
And so I've learned to retreat at the first sign of danger
I mean, why wait around, if it's just to surrender?
And ambition, I've found, can lead only to failure
I do not read the reviews
No, I am not singing for you

-Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved)

16. Damien Rice

And what I am to you is not real
What I am to you, you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I'll ask for the sea


17. Tori Amos

So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts
What's so amazing about really deep thoughts?
Boy, you best pray that I bleed real soon
How's that thought for you?
-Silent All These Years

18. Sufjan Stevens

(I couldn't figure out what my favorite Sufjan Stevens' lyric is, or which one I would post to display how great he is. But he is great.)

19. Laura Marling

I am from Salinas where the women go forever
And they never ever stop to ask why
My mother, she's a saviour of six foot of bad behaviour
With long, blond curly hair down to her thigh


20. Jeff Mangum

Your father made fetuses with flesh licking ladies
While you and your mother were asleep in the trailer park
Thunderous sparks from the dark of the stadiums
The music and medicine you needed for comforting
So make all your fat fleshy fingers to moving
And pluck all your silly strings and bend all your notes for me
Soft silly music is meaningful magical
The movements were beautiful all in your ovaries
All of them milking with green fleshy flowers
While powerful pistons were sugary sweet machines
Smelling of semen all under the garden was all you were needing
When you still believed in me
Say what you want to say and hang for your hollow ways
Moving your mouth to pull out all your miracle for me
-Oh, Comely  

No comments:

Post a Comment