Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Mystery Lyrics

And by "Mystery Lyrics" I mean that it's a mystery why they were ever written, so inscrutable are they. :)

I'm actually a big Fleetwood Mac fan, but even now when I listen to some things penned by the velvet-throated Stevie Nicks, I am confused. I wonder, for example, at the meaning of the lyrics to Landslide: "I took my love and I took it down; I climbed a mountain and I turned around." Stevie, I know you were probably being profound, but I think it was one of those "you had to be there" moments.

And while I've always been a giant Beatles fan, they can easily be found guilty in the court of dumb lyrics. Case in point:
"Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball, he one holy roller
He got hair down below his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please."

Well, sure, they were trying to make a point by being nonsensical. But sometimes they made the point a bit too well.

But those are the lyrics of yesteryear. What about some of today's songs? Are they more direct, more clear in their message?

My son is a big fan of MUSE, a band with a passionate lead singer and a dramatic sound. When you separate the lyrics from the compelling melody, though, they don't hold up as well.

From Knights of Cydonia:

"Come ride with me,
Through the veins of history,
I'll show you a god
Who falls asleep on the job."

It's not just imperfect rhyme--there's a mismatch of metaphors here that has one saying "Huh?"

And there are many more . . . .


Mary or Eric said...

I found that Googling "what does Come Together" mean" will give you a week of reading material, mostly contradictory, but I found this interesting:

JOHN 1980: "'Come Together' is me-- writing obscurely around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line 'Here comes old flat-top.' It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to 'Here comes old iron face,' but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on earth. The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook-- 'Come Together' was an expression that Tim Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and I tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this, 'Come Together,' which would've been no good to him-- you couldn't have a campaign song like that, right? Leary attacked me years later, saying I ripped him off. I didn't rip him off. It's just that it turned into 'Come Together.' What am I going to do, give it to him? It was a funky record-- it's one of my favorite Beatle tracks, or, one of my favorite Lennon tracks, let's say that. It's funky, it's bluesy, and I'm singing it pretty well. I like the sound of the record. You can dance to it. I'll buy it!" (laughs)

Julia Buckley said...

Well, that at least explains the "flat top" line. :)

Good ol' John Lennon. What a creative mind--what would he have done with another thirty years?

Rosalee Deveraux Provenza said...

Hey, Julia!
" . . .ride with me, through the veins of history?'' Sounds icky ...
Thought you might want to know I nominated you for Creative Writer (also known as Bald Faced Liar ;-) ) Award ... It's fun, and let's see how you do at coming up with some whoppers! Check out Ask Mama blog: