Sunday, January 17, 2016

234.8 - Lyrics: good and bad

Lyrics: good and bad

Okay, let's end with something lighter.

I like to collect good and bad lyrics. The key thing is that these lyrics are single lines - or sometimes two lines - in a song. The whole song is not the point. A bad song can have one killer lyric in it and a good song can have a clunker of a line somewhere inside. It's the one line that matters.

In one of my early shows, I invited people to submit what they thought was a particularly good or bad line in a song. I didn't get much response, but with my fame having obviously spread worldwide in the ensuing years, I thought I'd try again.

So what I'm going to do is to give you three examples of what I think are really bad lines in a song and four that I think are really good and invite you to submit you own, either in comments here or by email.

Okay, first the bad lines. Remember, this is not about if the song is good or bad, just the individual lyric.

In fact, the first case illustrates the point. There is a great old song, a classic, known best in the version done by the Platters: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." It's a good song, but in the third verse there is the line
Now, laughing friends deride/Tears I cannot hide
and whenever I heard that line, the only thing I could think was "Get new friends!"

Another example, a more recent  one, is the song "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train. The opening line is
Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left-side brains
to which I could only think "yuuuch!"

The third example is "Angel" from Shaggy, which I like even though the melody of the refrain is ripped off from the chorus of "Angel of the Morning" by Merrilee Rush. Unfortunately, this particular lyric is in the refrain, so it's repeated several times:
Closer than my peeps you are to me
as syntax cries and begs for mercy.

Now for four examples of good lines. The first, appropriately enough for today, comes from David Bowie and the song "Changes" and it is
And these children that you spit on/As they try to change their worlds/Are immune to your consultations/They're quite aware of what they're going through.
Next comes a line from Jim Croce's song "Operator," which goes
She's living in LA with my best old ex-friend Ray
which I always liked because it told the entire story of what happened to the relationship in one line.

Third, I think the line from Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" that goes
I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all
is exquisitely sad.

Finally, we have what well could be my all-time favorite single lyric. It's from "Like a Prayer" by Madonna:
You call my name and it feels like home.
Which I think is wonderfully poetic and evocative.

So that's it. Submit your own choices and if I get enough, I'll do them on-air. Just be sure to include the title and artist and the particular line.

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