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Thread: Lyrics. How do you judge them

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Another case where the music loses its way without the lyrics would be Midnight Oil.
    Good one.

  2. #52
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    In the 70’s, I knew a psychiatrist who described experiencing a knot in his stomach the first time he heard “American Pie.” He explained that he thought his reaction was subconsciously triggered and that he intended to write an article with an analysis of the lyrics to submit for publication. He mentioned Playboy as a possibility. It wasn’t too long before he passed away, so I don’t know that he ever finished writing the article.

  3. #53
    They have become less important in my 30s.. I'm more interested in HOW a line is sung, that what is being sung. Vibrato, the register, etc... I'm notorious at guessing the wrong lyrics, and sometimes just make up my own as I sing along, but sometimes I will check, and that's how I know it left an impression on me.

    I'm not good at describing how I judge them, but if I like a phrase, or something by Pink Floyd, songs that talk about.. everything so economically... Or personal stories. Or fictional stories about places like Steely Dan tended to write.

    If the song is great, there's a good chance I wanna know everything about it. I'm sure there's some with great lyrics and mediocre music that I ignore.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    In the 70’s, I knew a psychiatrist who described experiencing a knot in his stomach the first time he heard “American Pie.” He explained that he thought his reaction was subconsciously triggered and that he intended to write an article with an analysis of the lyrics to submit for publication. He mentioned Playboy as a possibility. It wasn’t too long before he passed away, so I don’t know that he ever finished writing the article.
    I don't like that song at all but I'd absolutely love to read that article, but a Google search for "american pie psychiatrist playboy article" doesn't turn up much. Did you get a sense whether the knot in his stomach was based on hating it, being moved by it, feeling narrative tension, or some other cause?

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBES View Post
    I don't like that song at all but I'd absolutely love to read that article, but a Google search for "american pie psychiatrist playboy article" doesn't turn up much. Did you get a sense whether the knot in his stomach was based on hating it, being moved by it, feeling narrative tension, or some other cause?
    My sense is that his reaction was a matter of being moved by the lyrics. The only specific line I recall him referring to is “Jack Flash sat on a candlestick.” I think that, in context, that line triggered the memory of JFK’s assassination, prompting his reaction. Basically, he considered the song to be about events in the 60’s. We know that many references to popular music and culture are in those lyrics. In my mind, ‘Jack Flash’ refers to ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ I don’t know that he was savvy to those things. He probably was. The song was especially profound to him.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    My sense is that his reaction was a matter of being moved by the lyrics. The only specific line I recall him referring to is “Jack Flash sat on a candlestick.” I think that, in context, that line triggered the memory of JFK’s assassination, prompting his reaction. Basically, he considered the song to be about events in the 60’s. We know that many references to popular music and culture are in those lyrics. In my mind, ‘Jack Flash’ refers to ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ I don’t know that he was savvy to those things. He probably was. The song was especially profound to him.
    Interesting! That song seems to generate a rather strong sense of revulsion in many people and I'd always assumed that was because it's long, repetitive and obscure (not meaning any of those descriptors in a bad way). Maybe part of that response is based in stirring up half-conscious feelings of collective trauma. I have to admit I've never gone line by line with it so I'm not sure what all is hidden in there.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBES View Post
    Interesting! That song seems to generate a rather strong sense of revulsion in many people and I'd always assumed that was because it's long, repetitive and obscure (not meaning any of those descriptors in a bad way). Maybe part of that response is based in stirring up half-conscious feelings of collective trauma. I have to admit I've never gone line by line with it so I'm not sure what all is hidden in there.
    ‘American Pie’ is too long for me. For one thing, I don’t seem to be wired to focus my attention on lyrics for an 8 or 9 minute stretch. But the song was some kind of a phenomenon when it came out. Initially, a short version got radio play, but people started calling in requesting the full length album version. I remember a news report on Don McClean and the song at the time. I think it was on 60 Minutes, but I’m not sure.

  8. #58
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    Harshly.

  9. #59
    I've always loved "American Pie," and indeed the album to which it gives its title. The other single there is the song "Vincent," a kind of bittersweet song about van Gogh, but the whole album is good. I remember one other pop hit (a song called "Dreidel," which I also quite liked) then seems to have vanished back into the c&w world.
    I've seen all cruel people bashing heads each day so sadistic I'm on my way.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    ‘American Pie’ is too long for me. For one thing, I don’t seem to be wired to focus my attention on lyrics for an 8 or 9 minute stretch. But the song was some kind of a phenomenon when it came out. Initially, a short version got radio play, but people started calling in requesting the full length album version. I remember a news report on Don McClean and the song at the time. I think it was on 60 Minutes, but I’m not sure.
    Initially one can't help be impressed by the length of the piece and the highly poetic nature of each verse lyrically. Not being particularly knowledgeable in poetry myself , It would appear perhaps to have been influenced by the likes of Dylan's style of delivery, but again , Dylan was only channeling his own influencers.
    The Internet has plenty to say on American Pie non the less and some of it resonates to folks born late 50's to mid 60's

  11. #61
    ^^^As a person born in the late '50s, I concur with this opinion.

    However, "American Pie" is much more lucid/easy to understand than an awful lot of Dylan's lyrics....
    I've seen all cruel people bashing heads each day so sadistic I'm on my way.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    I've always loved "American Pie," and indeed the album to which it gives its title. The other single there is the song "Vincent," a kind of bittersweet song about van Gogh, but the whole album is good. I remember one other pop hit (a song called "Dreidel," which I also quite liked) then seems to have vanished back into the c&w world.
    I don't know the album, only the title song, which I love and Vincent, which I like as well, it always gives me goosepimples if I hear it. I remember moments when it actually brought tears in my eyes.

    I think Don McLean also had a hit with Crying.

  13. #63
    By the standards of Phil Ochs' Pleasures of the Harbor, David Ackles entire roster or Gordon Lightfoot's Sit Down Young Stranger. Meaning that everybody else loses out.

    Lyrics surely enhance sound, but they also are sound and tend to take off on own accords of phonetics as sonic. This, I'd say, is one of the captivating assets of Magma's kobaïan conundrum. Lingual lacerations as rhythmic contrasts of metre in the music itself.

    This being said, I quite like some "canonic" progressive rock lyrics, as from Peter Hammill, Francis Monkman ("Piece of Mind" is boggling!), Peter Gabriel (pre-Foxtrot in particular), Roger Waters and so on. Dave Cousins was sometimes a truly brilliant lyricist. Cutler's work for some Art Bears (like much of Winter Songs) is extraordinary and begs study. Peter Blegvad's lyrics on Kew. Rhone are some of the most fascinating wordplay I ever came across in rock-related music. Olle Thörnvall's Swedish lyrics for Trettioåriga Kriget are often amazing.

    The worst lyrics I ever heard in a "prog" group were to Mythos' "Strange Guys". They somehow get to insist that "van", "land" and "sperm" should rhyme, and I'm not so sure about that. Although I rather like the band.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by clivey View Post
    Is the message in fact the most important part of the song?
    Hi Clivey, I'd go with those here who have said a "message" doesn't matter as much as the delivery of whatever the lyric might be.

    And if it helps with your stuck-lyrics problem: what got me started was realizing one can write and sing about anything, getting "myself" and "my" actual experiences out of the story completely. Then the topics become endless!

    Hope that helps a bit...
    xx
    BD
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  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Drake View Post
    Hi Clivey, I'd go with those here who have said a "message" doesn't matter as much as the delivery of whatever the lyric might be.

    And if it helps with your stuck-lyrics problem: what got me started was realizing one can write and sing about anything, getting "myself" and "my" actual experiences out of the story completely. Then the topics become endless!

    Hope that helps a bit...
    xx
    BD
    www.bdrak.com
    Cheers Bob : )

    Robert Burns was not so well known for his Porno works. The merry muses of Caledonia.
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    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McGonagall
    Last edited by clivey; 5 Days Ago at 05:37 AM.

  16. #66
    Ah, the blessed McGonagall. Truly Scotland's finest poet, even better than Ewan McTeagle.
    I've seen all cruel people bashing heads each day so sadistic I'm on my way.

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by clivey View Post

    William_McGonagall
    Brilliant! How can I have not heard of him till now!

    BD

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