BTT: Lyrical Words

But, enough about books … Other things have words, too, right? Like … songs!If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

  • What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
  • Why?
  • And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

You don’t have to restrict yourself to modern songsters, either … anyone who wants to pick Gilbert & Sullivan, for example, is just fine with me. Lerner & Loewe? Steven Sondheim? Barenaked Ladies? Fountains of Wayne? The Beatles? Anyone at all…

The band that is popping into my head right now for great lyrics is Dispatch.  For one thing, I just think that their lyrics flow so well with their music.  In addition, most of their songs are not super repetative, other than in the chorus.  I actually try to sing them to myself when I can’t sleep.  They’re complicated enough that I don’t have time to sit and dwell on anything else in my life, but I know them well enough that I don’t have to concentrate so hard it keeps me awake.  This is my #1 best way to get to sleep when I’m having trouble.

Besides, I just think that their lyrics are very interesting, particularly in songs like The General and Bang Bang.  Here’s an exceprt of the beginning of The General, so you can get an idea.

There was a decorated General with a heart of gold
That likened him to all the stories he told
Of past battles won and lost and legends of old
A seasoned veteran in his own time
On the battlefield he gained respectable fame
With many metals of bravery and stripes to his name
He grew a beard as soon as he could to cover the scars on his face
And always urged his men on

But on the eve of great battle with the infantry in dream
The old general tossed in his sleep and wrestled with it’s meaning
He awoke from the night just to tell what he had seen
And walked slowly out of his tent

All the men held tall with their chests in the air
With the courage in their blood and a fire in their stare
And it was a gray morning and they all wondered how they would fare
Till the old general told them to go home

What song has your favorite lyrics?  What band/artist consistently impresses you with their lyrics?

7 comments to BTT: Lyrical Words

  • The General is one of my favorite songs! “I have seen the others and I have discovered that this fight is not worth fighting…” (Now I’m singing it to myself)

  • I listened to a ton of Dispatch in college (they seem really similar to O.A.R. for me) and have always loved Bang Bang. You can totally tell that you, S. Krishna, and I were all in college at the same and listen to similar music. This is a fun BTT.

  • Kathy

    Well, I have to admit I’ve never heard of Dispatch. I like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Tom Petty and other old fogeys of the music world.

  • The lyrics spell a story, and read like a poem!

    This is the longest and most time-consuming answer I’ve ever done for BTT. I like lyrics that speak to me and yes, hit a sore spot in me.

  • Ah, Dispatch…are they still around?

  • bybee

    I’m going through an ABBA thing right now. Their music is the soundtrack playing in my mind nonstop.

  • I don’t know Dispatch, but I’ll have to check them out based on the lyrics. “Bang Bang” isn’t the one from Kill Bill, right?