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Lyrics! Lyrics! Lyrics!

The questions in today's Friday Five skip the tunes and go straight for the words. Read on for my decidedly non-pop-music responses.

Ready?

1. What's a stupid lyric from a song you like?
I am tempted to go Beatles here, but it would be a little like shooting fish in a barrel. How about this? I love West Side Story and I love Stephen Sondheim, but I have to suppress a snort when, right there in the otherwise lyrically and musically soaring "Tonight," you hear, "Today, the world was just an address / A place for me to live in / No better than all right." The "all right" is clunky and pedestrian, and the trouble taken to set it up is definitely not worth it.

2. What's a pretty good lyric from a song you dislike?
This one's harder -- who listens enough to learn many of the lyrics to a song she dislikes? I'm afraid I'm going to have to cheat and go country, because while there aren't many post-1980 country songs I can stand to listen to for very long, I will readily admit that many contain the occasional decent turn of phrase. For instance, there's Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places": I think the line "I've got friends in low places" is very clever. Just wish it were surrounded by a better song.

3. What's a good non-Weird-Al-Yankovic lyric about food and drink?
"Java Jive," baby.



4. What's a good song lyric to describe your week?
"Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Yeah, this week I risked setting back my recovery from The Man by helping him pack up his apartment after I learned that he was not only super-behind on his move (like, up against a 24-hour deadline, with several rooms still to finish), but out of helpers because he'd used up the good will of his offspring (who would only cancel their plans on so many consecutive nights). It was a good 24 hours of back-straining labor, plus I pretty much had to organize him (he seemed to have naive notions of accomplishing all the hauling on his own, in his little Honda Civic). It's not like he asked me to come, but he definitely would not have managed on his own, and -- even though I oppose this move (I thought our implicit agreement was that he'd wait till The Boy was 18 before leaving our town) -- I didn't like to see him in a jam.

Also, it rained ("When he goes away, that's a rainy day") -- how much more on the nose can you get?

5. What's a good song lyric about inclement weather?
How about "Soon It's Gonna Rain," from The Fantasticks? I know Barbra Steisand has the iconic recording (and there are a lot of other good ones on YouTube), but here's one that sticks close to the stage version, featuring Mandy Patinkin, Kristin Chenoweth, & some great sound effects.


 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
scrivener
Aug. 24th, 2018 04:44 pm (UTC)
"clunky and pedestrian"
...might make a good song lyric.

Your West Side Story lyric reminds me of two Elton John lyrics.

"I would've liked to have known you, but I was just a kid." ("Candle in the Wind")

"Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean: yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen." ("Your Song")

How Bernie Taupin, normally a terrific lyricist, thought these songs were finished when he submitted these is a mystery to me. The man who wrote, "Lord it looks like Daniel; must be the clouds in my eye" thought "I would've liked to have known you" was a lyric.

I was in a songwriting workshop at a conference when I was in college, and asked about these lyrics. The workshop leader said you could probably chalk it up to Elton just being a great performer. Someone else chimed in with something like, "So if you're selling your song to Michael W. Smith, feel free to go with that."
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