Wednesday, 2 July 2008


I have to say I am partial to a good lyric myself, being a lifelong Sparks fan - how could I not be?(My favourite Sparks lyrics later).

However, there is another more philosophical path to musical enjoyment - just open your ears to everything and let it all seep in and bounce and sway along. Does it matter that you can't quite get through the voice decoders of your favourite death metal band? They do use some fancy equipment don't they? Otherwise they would have ever such sore throats the next morning.

Does it matter that Sigur Ros are not only not singing in Icelandic, but in a completely made up language - as long as you get the dreamy haunted quality of their sound? ( Icelandic/Invented - doesn't really matter much to non Icelandic's does it? )

Does it matter that you haven't a blooming clue what The Kings of Leon were singing or talking about at Glastonbury last week, because - overall it still sounded pretty amazing?

I think the answer is sometimes, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. But if you were really showcasing your band and your songs, wouldn't you want the audience to catch all the nuances that you thought you wrote into it? Wouldn't you want them to laugh when you were being funny, sob when you were being mournful, dance when you perhaps issued dancing instructions?

Now, there can be lots of different reasons why the audience aren't picking out your lyrics:

a. they are Icelandic.
b. your PA is really pants.
c. you are not ENUNCIATING PROPERLY DARLING! (said like that shouty actorly bloke with the beard - oh yes, Brian Blessed.)

But I do know one thing that will help you to be better understood. Talk to the audience more, lead them into your song, tell them what it is about.

James from Panda Lasagne did a brilliant job of this at our last fundraiser, and as a consequence he had the audience laughing along with him. Then he surprised them all with a poignant song about his dad, who isn't well at the moment.

He connected with the audience. Ok, some of his lyrics were about dog poo, but Panda Lasagne are a great live band to watch because they interact with the audience.

Ditto the fabulous Forefathers. If Steve wants to attract the audience's attention - then he thinks of a way to do it - immediately and brilliantly. Ok, sometimes he gets his knob out, but everybody at this stage is listening very intently. Hopefully.

As you all know our November weekend of gigs is fast approaching, and maybe the audience there won't be straining for every word as they might at one of our Fundraisers, but this still doesn't mean you can't lead them into it. It is prescious to you, and you wrote those words for a reason. They make the difference between the song you've just done, and the one you're about to do next. Let's hear it for THE LYRICS!

So to one of my favourite Sparks lyrics, which comes from a song about a suicide pact. In it the boy goes first as in the Romeo and Juliette story - the girl changes her mind!

Clck on the mp3 player here to hear the song. You can even sing along with the lyrics! You'll have to be quick though. The singing comes in immediately!

Here In Heaven
lyrics by Ron Mael

Here, there are lots of things to do
And a panoramic view
Of the universe completely surrounding you
And here you cannot buy souvenirs
You're never going back, never, never

Basically, I guess it could be worse
Yes, I do suppose it could be worse

Here, there are many, many sheep
And the people only sleep
And awake to tell how gory and gruesome was their end
And I don't have many friends
And it's really very clean and I'm thinking

Juliet, you broke our little pact
Juliet, I'm never coming back

Chorus:Up here in Heaven without you
I'm here in Heaven without you
Up here in Heaven without you
It is Hell knowing that your health will keep you out of here
For years and years and years
(my favourite line! He is in Heaven - but he is in hell! ha ha)

Dear, do you often think of me
As you overlook the sea
Do I qualify as dearly departed or am I
That sucker in the sky
The fall guy for the first and the last time

Juliet, I thought we had agreed
Now I know why you let me take the lead

Chorus:Up here in Heaven without you
I'm here in Heaven without you
Up here in Heaven without you
It is Hell knowing that your health will keep you out of here
For years and years and years

Second thoughts, is that what you had?
Second thoughts, first I broke my back
Second thoughts, as I hit the sea
Second thoughts, for eternity, for eternity, for eternity...

Feel free to chip in with any comments about the lyrics you're most proud of, or the ones that have most inspired you.

This post was written by Whitbynowsec


FredFlintstone said...

I find lyrics really frustraing. Sometimes they can just role off the tongue, sometimes they are a real struggle to write. When I first got properly into writing I made an effort to write about things that didnt make sense. No meanings, no nothing. I think that was to do with the kind of music I was listening to at the time. But over time I've become different in the way I approach songs. I don't try and write a particular kind of lyric, and just write what comes to mind. Sometimes they are shit, sometimes they make me think, "did I really just write that?!!"

There have been too many songs over the years that have influenced me and my writing to go into. But there is one song that reminds me of a really tough time in my life, and one line in particular. Most of you will know what happened to me 4 years ago, and there is one song that has a different meaning to me then it does to my lass.

At Evies funeral we played the song, "Flying Without Wings" by Westlife, which is a beautiful song written by two talented writers called Steve Mac and Wayne Hector. This song reminds my lass of the funeral and all the bad things, where as to me, it reminds me of the good times we had with her. There weren't many, but this song helps me to smile when I think of her.
"Some find it in the faces of
their children,
Some find it in their lovers
Who can deny the joy it
When you've found that special
You're flying without wings."

groke said...

I don't think I've every heard many lyrics at most Whitby gigs. The PA's can sometimes make a 'primal, rock' scream sound like a Whitby Jet's kazoo. Especially if the gig's in the Met.. then it's more like a kazoo in a cave.

The beat and the singer's antics get my attention at local gigs. A bit of talking between the songs is always good though, cos that's about the only time you can hear what they're on about.

I I I said...

most of what i have written, only i can understand. which is not the best thing for the audiance but if you like a song and it makes you smile or dance or sad or has some kind of effect on you(not anger though) then a song is good. thinking about kings of leon for the first few months i started listening to them i couldn't understand a word and spent loads of time reading the lyrics, but the songs rock.
my fave line i have written is probs "Good karma, bad karma, what's the matter with your down beat looking face"
my fave i haven't written is the whole song of "little room" by The White Stipes because i can't pick."When your in your little room and your working on something good. but if its really good your gonna need a bigger room"

Shepton le Panzer said...

I think with something as subjective as lyrics, and the goodness thereof, it's important to look at context, weirder/more interesting bands like MBV are singing but you're not really focussing on it cos the music is so intensely mint and the vocals are low as hell in the mix. But with a band like the Smiths, the voice is so prominent, Morrissey couldn't really get away with singing a load of old shite, so he has to write awesome lyrics out of sheer necessity.
When I write lyrics I just write total crap that's about nothing in any way relevant to my life. Whereas the other lyricist in our band is alway writing about stuff that he's done or had done unto him, so it's a kinda mix and doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's how we roll.