sort form Submissions:
submissions
Dire Straits – Single-Handed Sailor Lyrics 9 years ago
Interesting...Knopfler's voice sounds a bit sarcastic to me in the line "He could have said 'Pride of London'". I don't hink it refers to the real-life river boat that trickyelf mentioned, it sounds more like some kind of comment about futility. I'd agree "mother and child" is a metaphor for the big Cutty Sark and the small Gypsy Moth.

Still thinking the man in the second verse has nothing to do with Chichester, and still enthralled by Knopfler's guitar playing.

submissions
Yes – Perpetual Change Lyrics 9 years ago
I love the song - too bad they stopped playing it after Bill left - and I've got to agree about the live take on Yessongs. In much of their best work there's a kind of ecstatic lifting feeling, up into the sky or into an inner centre of freedom and joy, and the final five or six minutes of the live take exude just that. There really is a feeling of cosmic dance, propelled by those multiple rhythms that layer effortlessly over each other. The stretch after about 9:35 when it turns more quiet, then anticipating, then Bruford is picking up, pacing the beat upwards and *then* they break into (10:25) this "big wheel"-like crescendo - that turn is pure ecstasy in a religious sense, jubilant love and joy.
The polyrhythmic quality and the feeling of cosmic light makes me think of Sibelius' fifth symphony, first movement, which was played on the BBC in the live broadcast of the first moon landing in 1969 (and which they might well have heard...)

submissions
Yes – Perpetual Change Lyrics 9 years ago
I love the song - too bad they stopped playing it after Bill left - and I've got to agree about the live take on Yessongs. In much of their best work there's a kind of ecstatic lifting feeling, up into the sky or into an inner centre of freedom and joy, and the final five or six minutes of the live take exude just that. There really is a feeling of cosmic dance, propelled by those multiple rhythms that layer effortlessly over each other. The stretch after about 9:35 when it turns more quiet, then anticipating, then Bruford is picking up, pacing the beat upwards and *then* they break into (10:25) this "big wheel"-like crescendo - that turn is pure ecstasy in a religious sense, jubilant love and joy.
The polyrhythmic quality and the feeling of cosmic light makes me think of Sibelius' fifth symphony, first movement, which was played on the BBC in the live broadcast of the first moon landing in 1969 (and which they might well have heard...)

submissions
Killing Joke – Love Like Blood Lyrics 10 years ago
Incredible groowe - wow the thundering bass and his haunting voice (it was recorded at Hansa in Berlin, like "Heroes" and U2's "Achtung Baby" - recognize the huge echo). Much of the power of this song derives from the distance between different registers in the music: looow, vibrant bdrums nd bass vs the ringing siren-like synth and the vocals. I remember when this appeared in the mid-eighties, it catches the feeling of being very small in a distant and dangerous world where you can't trust any values or any people.

submissions
Curtis Mayfield – (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go Lyrics 10 years ago
Brilliant track, skin tight pumping groove, superb bassline, topical, thoughtful lyrics delivered with flawless falsetto tones - this points straight on to the "Superfly" music. Classic Curtis.

submissions
Tori Amos – I Can't See New York Lyrics 11 years ago
Extraordinary song, and in my view the best memorial in music to 9/11. I've also heard that Tori stated the song was mostly written before 9/11 and had a hijacking motive in it - being told from the perspective of a woman on an airliner going from Boston and hijacked, and then somehow going under (but not a ctually being flown into a high-rise). She was in New York on tour on September 11, 2001, and could witness the destruction in the city where it happened.

So the song was being crafted well before 9/11, but the final recording and performance of it do allude to 9/11, that's undeniable I think (how could she keep out even the coincidential "foresight" when giving it a final shape?) "!3.000 and holding/swallowed in the purring iof her engines" is both about the flying altitude and the initial figures of victims I think, the word "swallowed" is double.edged too, suggesting bioth a gulp of fear and those countless numbers of people being swallowed up by the disaster and the fire. It's a great song, the rendering on the "Sunny Florida" dvd is mesmerizing.

submissions
Elton John – Border Song Lyrics 12 years ago
Sure this is a homage to the black movement around 1970, at a troubled time (city violence, increasing crime, disarray after the murders of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the resistance of Nixon and others who wanted to think it was all through now and the blacks had got all they bargained for).

It's also a very skilful blend of Gospel and retro ballad songwriting. Inevitably, Aretha Franklin did her own strong version a few years later.

submissions
Sly And The Family Stone – Family Affair Lyrics 13 years ago
I remember seeing a black woman in Louisiana, on tv after hurricane Katrina had struck. Wearily, she explained to the reporter "You feel like cryin', like givin' up, but you can't cry, cause then the kids'll break down".
She didn't seem to be alluding consciously to this song, but the connection seemed all too clear.

submissions
Elvis Costello – Poor Fractured Atlas Lyrics 13 years ago
Brilliant. Auden would have taken pride in these graceful lyrics, but Costello's delivery (over a piano which plays around with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata!) invites real understanding of the strain on what could be journalists or writers, all too human men.

submissions
Elvis Costello – Poor Fractured Atlas Lyrics 13 years ago
Brilliant. Auden would have taken pride in these graceful lyrics, but Costello's delivery (over a piano which plays around with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata!) invites real understanding of the strain on what could be journalists or writers, all too human men.

submissions
Dire Straits – News Lyrics 13 years ago
Well, the guy in the lyrics would be a chopper fan, but I doubt whether the lines about gambling on his life and risking everything really refer to racing. Most cc riders (or motor sport champions like Ayrton Senna) don't count on the risks of being killed or badly maimed.
I feel there's an unstated point here that the guy is a bit outside of the law already, and he may be joining in a big bank robbery scheme or something similar. That would give the references to gamble and risk much more point. Mark had been a journalist for years and he's a literary guy, so he's no doubt familiar with this kind of thing. The final line is really deadpan brilliant.

There's a similar "iceberg weight" I think, in "Single-handed Sailor" (check with my comments to that song).

submissions
Yes – South Side of the Sky Lyrics 13 years ago
Sure, it's a really great song and the lyrics are more straightforward than most Anderson scrawlings. The first time I heasr it I thought of Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic in 1914-16; they wanted to cross the continent through hundreds of miles of almost completely uncharted ice (an almost desperate idea!). The ship froze in about thirty miles from the coast, and they drifted, locked in the ice, had to abandon ship and drag everything in sleds and open boats...really far out, but Shackleton was an inspiring leader and no one died though the odds against them were immeasurable.

The way they explore different moods here - the "hallucination" section! - is just amazing, and so is the musicianship. One reason why it's rather unknown even with hardcore Yes fans is that the band have hardly ever perfomed it live, once Bill Bruford left the year after the album, It's very much in his style of drumming - jazzy, ultra-syncopated, lots of phased beats and empty spaces.

submissions
Seal – The Begining Lyrics 13 years ago
Sometimes these lyrics make me think of the Indian death goddess Kali - who else is the lady of destructive enrgies that he's singing of? Well, I don't really have a clue but his singing is just fab. And so is the production, the bongo drum machines and sequencers sound glorious

submissions
Seal – Killer Lyrics 13 years ago
Yeah, aids came to mind when I heard it, at the time it hit the charts in '91, but later I could say it's also about feeling trapped in a world where everything's for sale, how hard it can be to find the peple you really wanna rely on.
He's never been a man to put out easy lyrics (what _is_ the opening track "The Beginning" about? Can't say I have a clure but it's a terrific opener) - some of the songs on his first album were about standing up for the idea that love matters much more than money. This one does take that stand on some level, doesn't it?

submissions
Seal – Killer Lyrics 13 years ago
Yeah, aids came to mind when I heard it, at the time it hit the charts in '91, but later I could say it's also about feeling trapped in a world where everything's for sale, how hard it can be to find the peple you really wanna rely on.
He's never been a man to put out easy lyrics (what _is_ the opening track "The Beginning" about? Can't say I have a clure but it's a terrific opener) - some of the songs on his first album were about standing up for the idea that love matters much more than money. This one does take that stand on some level, doesn't it?

submissions
All Saints – Pure Shores Lyrics 13 years ago
Discreetly wet with female longing, with the feeling of being turned on, isn't it? She's both appealing to aomeone sh loves and to her feeling of destiny, she letrs the sweep of the song carry her forward.
A lot of the songs that girl groups do, seem to be about what guys *think*/want their chicks to feel, this one feels like it puts it on her own terms: that's what makes it powerful.

submissions
Simple Minds – Don't You (Forget About Me) Lyrics 13 years ago
alibaby: the song being written for a movie doesn't mean the words were scripted by the folks who made the film. Soundtrack songs are most often commissioned, you may even sell a song that's been recorded years before.
Btw, thnere are soundtrack albums that are superb but where most of the music bnever appeared in the movie, like Prince's "batman" (a few pieces heard here and there) or the "Singles" soundtrack - superb Seattle/Grunge anthology, but although Pearl Jam were in the movie, almost none of the music on the cd was heard on-screen.

Keith Forsey used to wield the sticks for the Psychedelic Furs, as pointed out above: ten years later, he also produced a good album with the Simple Minds, I'm not blaming them for recording this, just pointing out that it's different and they probably knew it was a nod to the big market.

submissions
Simple Minds – Waterfront Lyrics 13 years ago
I remember erading an interview with Jim Kerr around the "Once Upon A Time" album where he said "We're close enough friends with U2, I spent some time with Bono last Christmas. However, our music has a feminine streak which theirs does not have"

To the point - this was at the time when U2 was at their most proclamatory and hard-lined. Five or six years later it wouldn't have been true, but there's always been a tension between the soft and vulnerable and the forceful in the Minds' music.

submissions
Dire Straits – Private Investigations Lyrics 13 years ago
I feel it's really about someone who has gotten a bit warped, who has lost out on really trusting people.
He follows their tracks, observes them, checks them like insects on a table, but never really comfortable with the others. mark Knopfler has always liked writing in roles - many of the songs on their first two albums are more or less like that, and so is "Private Dancer" which he wrote during the Love Over Gold sessions but shelved up and then offered Tina Turner.

submissions
Dire Straits – Telegraph Road Lyrics 13 years ago
Sure enough tman, this isn't just about a town growing up and so on, it's definitely a warning about the draining of a city and acountry when jobs disappear thick'n'fast:
"I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but there’s no work here to be found"

The final lines "I've seen desperation explode into flames/and I don't wanna see it again" bring the point home, don't they? I feel it evokes a line both to the unrest in London at the time and the rise of the nazis in Germany - they might never have come to power if the economy hadn't been broken first by the inflation in the twneties and then by massive iunemplyment less than ten years later. When the piano and bass return the opening on the very last word of the lyrics, it sounds like a toll of doom.

submissions
Simple Minds – All Tomorrow's Parties (Velvet Underground cover) Lyrics 13 years ago
Hey, this one's by the Velvet Underground. OK, the Minds may have covered it but it's not theirs, no way.

submissions
Simple Minds – Don't You (Forget About Me) Lyrics 13 years ago
For "drum beat" read bassline :-) though the drums follow it. It's upfront only in the break before the last chorus. I know a lot of people really love this song, but I feel "Love Song" or "Ghost Dancing" to give just a couple, are much more powerful.

submissions
Simple Minds – Don't You (Forget About Me) Lyrics 13 years ago
Jim said in interviews later on that he felt it was a tearjerker lyric and not a very good song - it became their biggest U.S. hit but wasn't included on the next album. Different from most of their 80s stuff and more mainstream, The band were pros enough to record it very good, but I still feel Ultravox or some german band could've done it. T
he drum beat is taken from The Talking Heads hit "Road To Nowhere".

submissions
Simple Minds – Waterfront Lyrics 13 years ago
It's a really great song. I remember hearing it at the time it was released and thinking, an unusual choice for a single.
The lyrics could have a Christian reference. Simple Minds have always been careful not to be stamped as a "believers' band", but their Roman catholic background crops up now and then. "Alive and Kicking" and "Sanctify Yourself" seem to grow from a Christian imagery, and so do a number of songs on "the "Good News" album - the title practically gives it away, as gospel (gr, evangelion)means "good news" and "Criminal World" does seem to be a prayer directed at Jesus. The cross on the sleeve of "New Gold Dream" seems telling too.

"Waterfront" could carry an allusion to baptism - going up to the "front" of the water, and it seems to be about entering a new stage of your life, meeting new challenges. I'm not making this point trying to evangelize anybody, but 'cause it's a layer about their lyrics which is rather unknown.

submissions
Genesis – The Knife Lyrics 13 years ago
Peter Gabriel said in an 80s interview, looking back, that this was "a great showstopper", and their early shows often finished with it. But it's also easy to hear this as a kind of statement against the cult of all kinds of avantgarde terror groups (the Baader-Meinhof group, the Weathermen etc) and guerillas which flourished around 1970. I think the group knew this on some level.

submissions
Genesis – White Mountain Lyrics 13 years ago
You don't really get to know if Fang and One-Eye are wolves or indians of a tribe who have totemic names after wolves ;the drift of sense is an intended one I think.
Menacing and beautiful, and the use of reeds (or is it mellotron?) and deep-sounding drums in the middle bit is very effective.

submissions
Prince – Bob George Lyrics 13 years ago
Still as fuckin' powerful after all these years. I remember hearing this on a radio show when "The Black Album" was still a rare bootleg.
Great machine-gun riff, great voice treatment - and he even entwines himself in the lyrics.

submissions
Lauryn Hill – Ex-Factor Lyrics 13 years ago
Such a heart-rending song, and like many others commenting here, I get a big lump in the throat at some points. Her swings between deep alto and an almost spoken-word treatment are so compelling. Thanks for not wailing it to pieces, which is what Mariah Carey and many others would've done.

Incidentally, in the first line of verse 2, I first thought she sang "Is this Death, or some game?" - it still seems to bring out the dark helplessness of the song.

submissions
Joni Mitchell – Coyote Lyrics 13 years ago
Great song. Jaco's fluid bass lines are just unmistakable, there's more of them on a track like "Continuum" on his own debut album.
You get the feeling that Joni's calling on a lot of memories of her own road into the music business here - backstage life, countryside venues, groupies, distant sounds of jamming.

submissions
Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan Lyrics 13 years ago
This one was a powerful comeback hit, not least on the airwaves. I was in college at the time, doing an exchange year in France, and remember hearing it on the radio night after night the winter of '88-'89, myself deep over my books. The lyrics semed strangely foreboding, but in just one or two years, they'd sound prophetic.
Lines such as "Do you see the line there, moving thru that station" or "You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline" seemed to have presaged the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet union. In fact, the lurics are somewhere mid-80s i think. Jennifer Warnes' powerful version came out in '86.

Both versions are very strong, but different; the futuristic synth beat of the "I'm Your Man" take fits the song like a glove.

submissions
Jimmy Webb – The Moon's A Harsh Mistress Lyrics 13 years ago
Haven't heard the original but the song's grown on me through jazz versions, notably the Norwegian jazz chanteuse Radka Toneff and the instrumental take by Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny. The latter is devastatingly beautiful, like a mind's eye landscape tinged with moonshine and regret.

submissions
Tina Turner – Private Dancer Lyrics 14 years ago
Written by Mark Knopfler, and yes, it's the Dire Straits backing her.
It's about a prostitute of course, but after it became a big hit, Tina got mail from people who were disgusted "Why are you singing this - it's about a HOOKER! Have you been a hooker, Tina?"
Not wishing to make the obvious point to these jerks, Tina pretended she hadn't understood that the character in the song was a "little lady", she'd thought it was about dancers invited to parties and doing nothing but nice - show dancing. :-)

submissions
Yes – The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun) Lyrics 14 years ago
"The starkness of the transition is precisely what makes it work"
-Bill Martin on the swift lead-over from violent electric into acoustic/vocal, meditative mood at around twelve minutes of this song (quoted from "The Music of Yes")

submissions
Mick Jagger – Put Me In The Trash Lyrics 14 years ago
The first verse sounds hilarious if you compare it to Sir Mick's real circumstances ("Take a look at me and count the cost/ Can't you see I'm short on greens?/ I am your long lost man/ You don't recognize me")

:-))

submissions
Dire Straits – Single-Handed Sailor Lyrics 14 years ago
Yeah, but what actually _happens_ in the song, and how do the two verses hang together?
I'd say the man "upon the bridge" in verse 2 is not Sir Francis Chichester at all, but a nameless guy who is a shadow of his former self. He's lost his way, he's vaguely decided to quit by hopping into the river, why else should he visit the boat at two in the morning? We don't get to know the reason, there's just a veiled reference to "the things he's done" and which he cannot live with. So he cries out, presumably drunk, "Hey man, what you call this thing?", jumps or falls in, the current takes him, and the Thames becomes, in a sense, the river of Lethe for this single-handed sailor.

Sure, this is a bit speculative, but Mark Knopfler (remember, he's a literate man) is really using the same "iceberg method" as Ernest Hemingway here, and many of the songs on "Communique" are stories about men who try and fail ("News") or veer into the psychopathic ("Where Do You Think You're Going?"). Two years later, Mark would return to this vein in "Private Investigation", also a song about a disturbed man.
Beautiful guitar work. I love the calypso/blues feel of the solo at the end.

submissions
Dio – Holy Diver Lyrics 14 years ago
I'm amazed nobody's posted this to amiright's section on "nonsensical lyrics" yet. A friend of mine cited it as one of the worst hard rock anthem lyrics ever - if it's about heroin addiction, that makes some sense: "Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue/ something is coming for you"

submissions
Yes – Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) Lyrics 14 years ago
Amazing song, and in spite of being one of their longest, it feels accessible, even bouncy. I mean, who'd have thought this band would produce such a funky vibe? Alan's solo (OK, so he's helped along by Steve, Jon and Chris on cowbells and smithy eqipment) is a powerful, daring climax: show me one more song that peaks in an extended drum solo and makes it work! Chris' sneaky basslines that lurch in and off beat, sound like they'd have been the model for Roger Waters on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" two years later.

Jon makes some of the best vocals of the album here: he sounds eager, commanding, unforced, tender and with complete control.

submissions
Kent – Dom Andra Lyrics 14 years ago
I always thought this one was about the IT boom and the guys who thought it would transform them into superheroes, but also found they had to conform when the big money moved in ("The price we had to pay/ to count as an elite/ was to rub elbows with the rest/ to be like the rest...")

submissions
Visage – Fade To Grey Lyrics 14 years ago
A real classic, The way the siren sneaks in over the beat is superb, and the whole thing spells real tristesse, not just posing. When I first heard it I thought the chorus was \"We failed to cry!\" -british stiff upper lip? :-)

The \"ah-ah\" bit and its chords were nicked a few years ago by Swedish indie megastars Kent for their single \"Kärleken väntar\" (Love Is Waiting) , also a really good one.

submissions
Yes – Into the Lens Lyrics 14 years ago
This one\'s really The Buggles \"I Am A Camera\", thoufgh withn a different title and groove. Trevor and Geoff entered the band in \'79, so it seemed logical to pick one of their songs, but to many hardcore Yes fans it must have seemed a real disgrace. The Buggles single really sounds better, tighter.

submissions
Yes – The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn) Lyrics 14 years ago
I don't feel this one really holds together like "The Ancient" and "Ritual" do, and some parts of the lyrics sound completely stoned of course. Yeah, but if you love this band you're able to cut off attention to some of the lyrics, and listen to the drama of the music and the unearthly grooves (like the wonderous flow of piano, mellotron strings, cymbals and slow drums that opens the second section).

There's an ecstatic lift to the opening that's so typical of Yes: the conviction and joy as he intones "Talk to the sunlight caller", over those waves of guitar and mellotron. The bits around the "And thru the rhythm" verses and the speeded-up solos after, that's the stuff that sounds the most out-of-the-way now, but I loved that part when I first heard the album.

submissions
10cc – I Wanna Rule The World Lyrics 14 years ago
Great showpiece for Lol Creme: the first thing you note's his stunning voice tricks (the "screaming dictator" bit is just one-of-a-kind - and it's the same guy doing the pepperpot squeak of "Everyone's going to be free"!) but it's so well spun together too.

Charlie Chaplin would have loved this one.

submissions
Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam Lyrics 14 years ago
Gotta quote the lady who posted on Aqua's "Barbie Girl" in a different forum:
Oh God is that song annoying...

submissions
Yes – Yours Is No Disgrace Lyrics 14 years ago
Yeah, it's stunning, and it feels as powerful today as it must have in the early 70s. You know it's about the Vietnam war? or rather about the way a war looks to those in it on either side. If the first verse has this glamorous feeling to it, the second is already a bit more questioning ("lost in losing circumstances") and on the Yessongs live recording it does sound like Jon is singing "Justice, where you are??" ("The Gates Of Delirium" picks up much the same theme in a more extended way).

I heard the live take at Christmas, 2001, having got the album as a X-mas present and the way it stood up as an image of war and terror (check out Steve's electric solo and the furious jam afterwards, dammit!) just spun me round. I'd known the album, and Yes as a band. years before, but "Yours Is No Disgrace" just took on new meaning in the aftermath of September 11 and all that's happened since.

submissions
Genesis – The Cinema Show Lyrics 14 years ago
Actually the "rant at the end" is a song in itself, isn't it? They skipped it when they did the song live (check "Seconds Out"). The final lines about Tiresias do seem fuzzy...

Does seem to be a song by Tony, he was always into the mythological stuff, and it's piano/mellotron-based right through til the stunning six-minute solo, but that's also a spot where you hear Phil shining as a great drummer: funky, swinging, subtly shifting the emphasis like kites spinning in the wind.

submissions
Peter Gabriel – Big Time Lyrics 14 years ago
Sure, it's about ambition, and about the way ambition changes your image of yourself - the video has a *great* time playing around with the clichés of stardom, with Peter multiplied by twenty screens.

Beautiful guitar playing too. I love the funky, flexible riff that Robert Fripp pushes out on top of the track.

submissions
Bruce Springsteen – Blinded By The Light Lyrics 14 years ago
Bruce said later he was really surprised by the success of Manfred Mann's cover. "That's it, we're giving up the British" he told his manager, "- if THIS races to the number one spot they're much too eclectic for us"

submissions
Tom Jones – Mama Told Me Not To Come Lyrics 14 years ago
I say, Tommy didn't follow his mum's advice. Especially not if you read "not to c***"!

submissions
Manfred Mann – Blinded by the Light Lyrics 14 years ago
"roped up like a dude, and swinging in the night"? :-)
Bruce Springsteen, who wrote it, heard the single after it had become a big hit in England, and is said to have told his manager: "We'll just give up England, man. If this charted, I don't get that country!"

submissions
Kate Bush – Cloudbusting Lyrics 14 years ago
The video clip to this one is up there with the best videos of Bjork, Janet Jackson or the Talking Heads: beautifully shot, tight on the music, and the interplay between daughter and father (played by Donald Sutherland) brings it alive.
From one point it's a tribute to women as artists, the right to follow your own vision (she succeeds in bringing together the clouds and making them give), but it also deals with overcoming sorrowful things: her dad is distant, and finally taken away from her (the look on Kate's face in the video when he disappears in the agent's car is one you never forget). An amazing song.

Corrections: "Everytime it mins" should be "But every time it rains" and the final line is "Your son's coming out" ( I think ther's a pun here on son/sun just like in Shakespeare's "this sun of York" (Richard III)

* This information can be up to 15 minutes delayed.
Back to top