After two posts discussing terrible lyrics, I thought I would redress the balance somewhat and talk about lyrics that I really love.
Does humour belong in music? Well, I think it’s good to get away from the po-faced seriousness of rock music, at least from time to time. One of my favourite comedy bands is Half Man Half Biscuit. I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of them. They’re a punk band from Merseyside who started out in the 1980s and are still going “strong”. They specialise in sardonic, twisted songs filled with esoteric references. My description is not really doing them justice, but a lot of their stuff is on YouTube and Spotify, so you can easily check them out for yourself.
Anyway, I genuinely think that bandleader Nigel Blackwell is, in his own way, one of the best lyricists of all time. I will try to prove my case by giving you a few samples…
A mistake has been made
It’s a fact they can’t hide
Though I’m partly to blame,
It cannot be denied
There ain’t no use defending
It seems I’ve been tending
The wrong grave for 23 years
Many people have joked about the fact Alanis Morissette doesn’t understand the concept of irony, but that song wasn’t even her worst crime against music. For example, her follow-up to Jagged Little Pill featured a song with the line, “How ’bout them transparent dangling carrots”. However, with her third album, Morissette completely forgot how songs work. Under Rug Swept, featured lyrics that weren’t merely bad, they were so verbose that you wouldn’t believe there was a melody in the world that would fit them. Read these lyrics aloud, and try to imagine how they could possibly be sung…
21 Things I Want in a Lover
Do you derive joy when someone else succeeds?
Do you not play dirty when engaged in competition?
Do you have a big intellectual capacity?
But know that it alone does not equate wisdom?
Do you see everything as an illusion?
But enjoy it even though you are not of it?
Are you both masculine and feminine?
Politically aware, and don’t believe in capital punishment?
These are 21 things that I want in a lover
Not necessarily needs, but qualities that I prefer
Some time ago, I was commissioned by the US government to find the worst song lyrics in history. It sounded like a pretty easy job, and I’ll take what I can get in this economy. So, I spent hundreds of hours poring over virus-laden lyrics websites, until I finally found them.
You might remember the Spin Doctors as a One-Hit-Wonder responsible for the song, “Two Princes”. But uwisely, they actually recorded full albums of other songs. Most of these tracks lacked the catchiness of “Two Princes”, and instead had truly dreadful lyrics. Here is a selection of some the worst…
Your heart is a refrigerator car
It’s cold and it never waits
Frozen breath and frostbite
Stacked, unopened crates
You never loved your frozen freight
Perishables and bloodless meat
Your rolling snowball soul of sleet
You never wait
I hereby present to you a list of the most commonly use words in songs by Muse:
(Seriously though; I don’t hate Muse so much.)