I've neglected all my online friends prompts of fun and games for the past few weeks, and I was expecting to do so for the foreseeable future. Then Jen reminded me of the theme for this week's Twisted MixTape and here I am. How can I not join in when the theme is: These Lyrics Are Genius. Seriously, how many posts have I devoted to great lyrics, how many times have I said the lyrics are what I first focus on in a song, how many times have I cried over lyrics. Yeah, too damn many. So here I am. Now I've already used a lot of my favorite songs in other posts, so I'll try to use other genius lyrics by some of my favorite composers.
While Simon & Garfunkel, were probably my true and first lyrical influence, I can remember clear as day, hearing the opening verse to this song and thinking 'how does someone write something so beautiful and with so much imagery in so few words.'
Sung by The Eagles but written by a friend of Glenn Frey by the name of Jack Tempchin. Click on his name to learn a little more about him.
"I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
Against your skin so brown.
And I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around"
We all know that Bruce had to be in the mix, but I've already discussed the lyrics of "Tunnel Of Love," "The River," and I think "Brilliant Disguise." All deserving to be included in this list. So are "Thunder Road," "Drive All Night," "If I Should Fall Behind," and oh I could go on. Hard as it is for me to choose one verse to highlight, let's go with this.
"So you've been broken and you've been hurt
Show me somebody who ain't
Yeah, I know I ain't nobody's bargain
But, hey, a little touch up and a little paint.
You might need something to hold on to
When all the answers, they don't amount to much
Somebody that you could just to talk to
And a little of that human touch"
Simon & Garfunkel. To choose one song? I've already written about "The Boxer," "America," and a few more. Paul Simon is a genius, so anything he writes carries weight in my world. One song, or actually two, but they run together on the album and I've always looked at them as a whole, makes me cry... every time. I cannot pull out one verse, it is in the whole where you feel the message, so here are the entire lyrics.
"Old friends, Old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends
Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear"
Chillingly descriptive, especially paired with "Bookends"
"Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you"
So how do you not include Dylan in this list, and again, which song? One of the first songs I remember as Dylan having written, but with another band having the hit was "My Back Pages." It took a while to figure out the lyrics (there was no internet with lyrics sites in those days) and even longer to try and figure out what he was trying to say. Even if the interpretation I had was not quite his vision, it is still powerful today.
"In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now"
How do you describe your country in a way that encompasses its beauty and its assets, while still acknowledging her faults. If you're Pete Seeger, you did it as a matter of course.
"As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me"
It seems I have no Beatles song in the list. Unacceptable. And while not a group song, will anyone complain about this being included. I know I've used it before in the MixTape, many of us have. Not only are the lyrics brilliant, but so is the thought of it. John.
"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"
It seems so sad to stop here... I could go on all day, but you know I never stray too far from the words. As always all rights of these songs belong to the artists mentioned. So don't go suing my ass for telling the world how beautiful they are.