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Loudon Wainwright III – In C Lyrics 10 months ago
One of the greatest heartbreak songs of all time -- spare and naked autobiography is rarely done so affectingly.

Talking Heads – Listening Wind Lyrics 1 year ago
This was the song, out of all the great ones from 'Remain In Light' that grabbed me when it first came out and has kept its grip ever since. The chorus reminds me so much of a prayer, a terrible prayer, which fits perfectly within the framework of the terrorist in the song. The hushed nature of the song, especially when considered in contrast to other album goodies like 'Once in a Lifetime' and 'Born Under Punches'. is really haunting and compelling. It's amazing that this song is almost five minutes long and feels so short.

The Cure – From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea Lyrics 1 year ago
I have a different take on this song than most others -- I believe it is about the hopelessness of the perfect moment with a lover, knowing that things can't stay that way and the weight of the fleetingness of it all.

I read the first stanza as waking up (watching the sun come up) with the lover after making love, (every time we do this) feeling like things are perfect (I know this can't be wrong I say) but also knowing that the moment won't last. She's totally there with him and wants it to last (like she wants to believe in me).

The second stanza is about the euphoria of the moment (I've never been so,,,) and the awareness that it won't last (Don't let this end, not just for today).

In the third stanza his lover asks for the same thing (Never never never let me go) and is surprised by his reaction (why do you cry/what did I say).

In the fourth and fifth stanzas the singer reflects on the hopelessness of maintaining the moment, the perfection of how things are (I know another moment will break my heart) and how much it will hurt when it's gone (Looking for something forever gone),

So the singer begins to pull back, to accept the transitory nature of love, but his lover objects (Why are you letting me go?/I feel you pulling back) and does exactly what he requested in the first stanza (Put your hands in the sky/Surrender) while standing naked and vulnerable before him (Slips her dress like a flag to the floor/And hands in the sky/Surrenders it all).

The singer reflects again on the hopelessness of maintaining the moment (repeat fourth stanza) and knows the pain of the upcoming end of the moment and separation from it is coming, that he will feel guilty that life takes him away from his love (head in pain/hung in shame).and there's nothing to be done about it (miles and miles away from home again) because the moment will end.

A brilliant song, probably my favorite by the Cure, and perhaps the most unusual meditation on love this side of Leonard Cohen.

The National – Oblivions Lyrics 2 years ago
This is suddenly now perhaps my favorite National song -- a just hauntingly beautiful expression of the fear of being inadequate in a relationship.

I definitely want more Berninger/Mina Tindle duets!

The National – Light Years Lyrics 2 years ago
Brilliantly heartbreaking.

The Milk Carton Kids – Michigan Lyrics 2 years ago
@[ForNoOne:29671] Brake lines could be one of two things: 1) literally brake lines in a car, which if broken down means the car can't stop, or 2) brake assembly lines in an abandoned auto plant, which, given GM's pullout from Pontiac and Detroit, could also be the reference.

David Gray – Birds of the High Arctic Lyrics 2 years ago
One of my favorites -- this is just so haunting, with the music matching the subject matter. I always think of this as kind of a companion piece to "One With the Birds" by Will Oldham, which Gray covers on his "A Thousand Miles Behind" live album.

Cat Power – Evolution Lyrics 3 years ago
This may well be my all time favorite Cat Power song period, and I love Eddie Vedder's deep baritone just sort of following after Chan's tremulous lead. To me, this is just kind of brook-like murmurings of an apocalypse, and the various images are glyphic warnings about the way things have all gone cockeyed, leading up to that wonderful last line -- "better make your mind up quick". This is Cat Power as Leonard Cohen.

The Boxer Rebellion – Diamonds Lyrics 3 years ago
This matches with what the songwriter said in an interview -- it was about being "the rebound guy" and things not working out.

Maria Taylor – Time Lapse Lifeline Lyrics 4 years ago
Probably my favorite Maria Taylor song -- the use of repetition is really brilliant, fitting in perfectly with the subject matter, and also serving to reinforce the sense of the narrator as being able to step back and consider these life cycles from a critical distance, even as the emotionality of the relationship is evident. I particularly like the juxtaposing of "we dreamed a life and it was just like that" with "and just like that it's done", with it's "got just what you wanted/matter of fact doneness".

Art Garfunkel – Watermark Lyrics 5 years ago
Personally, I think the painting aspect is simply a metaphor for how fixed but blurred memory becomes. To me, this is someone thinking about an old love, perhaps a first love, that is gone but has still left its mark on him. That mark is uncertain and rather unclear at this point, and is undoubtedly revised (like an antique etching glass design that somehow turned out wrong) and the narrator's awareness of the unreality of his memory makes it even worse, because he's ever more aware of the fallacy of his perspective, which helps make the memory fade and disappear even more.

Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind Lyrics 6 years ago
@[mark110185:2154] Yea, I definitely think Jeff Lynne should be in the HOF. No question about it -- ELO was really a landmark concept and it was actually a really tight band live (I heard them as an opening act waaaay back then, for Earth Wind & Fire, or all people.) And after perusing some of the folks who are in the Rock & Roll HOF, Lightfoot should probably also be in there -- if you can put in Laura Nyro, Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen (none of whom I'm arguing against) then Lightfoot should likely be there too.

Sinead O'Connor – You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart Lyrics 7 years ago
I agree -- that is a stunning version.

R.E.M. – Walk It Back Lyrics 7 years ago
One of the more straightforward REM songs, in some ways. The person addressed in the song really wishes the singer hadn't told him something, and that they could return to how things were before. The singer gently acknowledges this, but says that he was basically painted into a corner, and had no choice. Things happen, we have knowledge, we have to move on.

But of course it has the wonderful REM way of perhaps being about a relationship, perhaps being social commentary, perhaps being something else entirely. Delicious.

James Blunt – Annie Lyrics 7 years ago
There's a lot I like about James Blunt -- "You're Beautiful" is a nice piece, and he's got a couple of others, but this one showcases the worst of his tendency toward pretension. Earnest singing, really melodious music, and utterly obnoxious and misogynistic lyrics.

John Hiatt – Your Dad Did Lyrics 7 years ago
Truly one of Hiatt's under-rated gems.

Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind Lyrics 8 years ago
How about the fact that he's a folk singer, not a rocker? I love Lightfoot, but he's never been a Rock and Roll guy.

The Decemberists – I Was Meant for the Stage Lyrics 8 years ago
Absolutely this is a suicide note, and "As I take my final bow" is clearly a suicide reference. But I think interpreting it as his relatives rushing in is a bit of a stretch.

Bob Dylan – Father of Night Lyrics 8 years ago
I've always found this to be a very interesting song from Dylan, considering that it came eight years before he announced he was born again. It's really unlike anything he'd done before, in terms of its perspective, and is reminiscent in its directness of his earlier songs. New Morning is a rather strange album altogether, and this song fits right in with the title song, really.

Warren Zevon – Poor, Poor Pitiful Me Lyrics 8 years ago
Hilarious song -- poor guy is so down because women just won't let him be, and the women in L.A. and West Hollywood are just eating him alive. I'm pretty sure for everyone listening to the song sympathy is not exactly the first emotion!

Randy Newman – I Think It's Going To Rain Today Lyrics 8 years ago
How anyone can listen to this song and read the lyrics and think this is anything other than one of his typical brutally sarcastic commentaries is beyond me. Part of Randy Newman's brilliance is his ability to wrap utter vitriol in a catchy or poignant tune, then then to sing it in the most sincere way possible. This is a prime example.

Richard Thompson – Beeswing Lyrics 8 years ago
Supposedly, this was written with the beautiful and talented folksinger Anne Briggs in mind, whom Thompson met during her wild period. Nothing biographical per se, but a poetic imagining, and truly a hauntingly wondrous one.

Richard Thompson – The Ghost of You Walks Lyrics 8 years ago
One of Thompson's truly great songs.

Toni Childs – Heaven's Gate Lyrics 8 years ago
What a wonderful voice and amazing songs -- I still can't believe this album didn't sell.

Radiohead – Knives Out Lyrics 8 years ago
Huh? How do you get a couple from a lyric that essentially says, within the framework on a cannibalistic scene, "hey, he's dead, he's not coming back, we need to survive"?

Beck – Nitemare Hippy Girl Lyrics 8 years ago
Might be nice, then, if you discussed musical opinions, as opposed to ragged on other posters. Take a chill pill, dude.

David Gray – This Year's Love Lyrics 9 years ago
I think what I like best about this song is the combination of hope and the underlying despair -- the song is all about the willingness to take another shot at love, the intense need for it, the glory of the process combined with the fear of pain, and yet, ultimately, the singer doesn't really believe it's going to work. It is, after all, "this year's" love, which means there was last year's love, and that there will probably be next year's love after this. Wonderfully heartbreaking.

Probably my favorite David Gray song, and there are many that I really love.

Moby – When It's Cold I'd Like to Die Lyrics 9 years ago
The vocals are done by the amazing Mimi Goese, who was part of Hugo Largo, has one breathtaking solo album called "Soak" and who released "Songs For Persephone" with Ben Neill in 2011. She's a New York-based performance artist, and her voice is simply heartbreaking, imho.

Warren Zevon – Please Stay Lyrics 9 years ago
A truly heartbreaking song, given special poignancy by Zevon's terminal illness. There simply aren't a lot of songs that have been written about people facing real death, and the fear on being alone at the end.

The Cars – Heartbeat City Lyrics 9 years ago
The single best Cars tune, period.

Bruce Springsteen – My Father's House Lyrics 9 years ago
One of Springsteen's greatest songs, in my opinion.

Irrelevant whether or not the "father" is question is God -- the theme of broken families certainly looms large in Springsteen's other songs, as do issues of faith, and both are contained here. The other recurring theme is the narrator's feeling of being helpless and lost.

Fabulous last line!

Laurie Anderson – Beautiful Red Dress Lyrics 9 years ago
Hilarious song! The subject of a woman's period is not exactly the most well-mined territory in popular songs, though it has been better-represented in contemporary poetry. Typically, Anderson plays with the imagery (high tide, red dress, fever, sangria) with sly social commentary (women's roles, pay) and wraps it all together in a frothy, bright concoction.

Given her art world grounding, I'd presume that the "Zig Zag Bar & Grill" might refers to the one in Paris near the Sorbonne. With her slyness, it wouldn't be a surprise to think of this as referencing the pro-English University of Paris' role in the trial of Joan of Arc, certainly one of the early historical female icons.

Laurie Anderson – O Superman (For Massenet) Lyrics 9 years ago
God, I drove my wife (and lots of other people) crazy when this first came out on 'O Superman' as I listened to it obsessively. Six months later I went to a writers conference with a copy of it on tape and was the most popular person around.

Always loved the ironic nature of 'Hold me Mom' working as a bookend with the answering machine message from the first stanza -- truly electronic arms wishing you home in the Home of the Brave. Along with so many other things the song portends, it foretells of a time like now when we will communicate electronically and asynchronously.

Richard & Linda Thompson – The End Of The Rainbow Lyrics 9 years ago
Gee, nothing like a little angst over fatherhood, is there?

Thea Gilmore – The Dirt Is Your Lover Now Lyrics 9 years ago
Love this song -- a great metaphor surrounded by Gilmore's typically evocative lyrics.

Obviously a requiem, or more properly a dirge, considering the orchestration, but it's unclear within the lyrics whether this is for a lover, a relative, friend, or what. The question about proposing to the bedrock would seem to indicate it may be a spurned lover, since even her "fickle heart" and thorn trees grow back, but the lost dead do not.

Talking Heads – (Nothing But) Flowers Lyrics 9 years ago
I always thought of this as a perfect fish out of water song, the kind Byrne did so well with the "unreliable narrator" he has used in so many other instances, such as "The Big Country", only in this case the problem is literally being out there with the fish, the water, and no appliances or modern conveniences. It's part of his narrator's discomfit with other aspects of modern life, but in this instance I can really imagine it as also poking a bit of fun at his fellow New Yorkers, in particular those who at times loudly profess the advantages of the city over the country.

In many ways this song completes the circle with that narrator, who is so important in Byrne's writing, and who started off memorably in the early songs and is here at the end with a sophisticated rant on the T Heads' last album.

A truly fabulous song, right up there with the best by the band.

Talking Heads – Stay Hungry Lyrics 9 years ago
This is absolutely about things getting physical in a relationship.

"we can signify our love now" -- as in consummate.

"you can initiate an impulse of love" i.e. an erection.

The entire second stanza is about the sex act itself, and the wonderful third stanza (which, in purely musical terms is one of my all-time favorites from the T Heads, and on the album segues right into "Take Me To the River") conveys that marvelous sense of being in that connected moment with your lover as you build and feel so together.

Killer song!

Sinead O'Connor – The Lamb's Book Of Life Lyrics 9 years ago
A fabulous song that shows what O'Connor does best -- sing impassioned political songs.

Sinead O'Connor – You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart Lyrics 9 years ago
I particularly like the version on "She Who Dwells" which has even more urgency.

Sinead O'Connor – Big Bunch Of Junkie Lies Lyrics 9 years ago
I absolutely love this song -- trademark brutal lyrics combined with breathily beautiful intonation.

PJ Harvey – The Glorious Land Lyrics 9 years ago
One of my very favorite PJ Harvey songs ever, on a truly brilliant album.

Thea Gilmore – Dance In New York Lyrics 9 years ago
Gorgeous song off a truly overlooked album -- Liejacker is simply amazing.

The National – Brainy Lyrics 10 years ago
I'm with Starry0Nights on this -- I think this is a wonderful love song, about someone trying to convince someone that he's the right one for her. I disagree that this is painful, however: I think it's a song about him being very insecure about his appeal, because she's so much better than he is.

I read the lyrics "Everywhere you go is swirling, everything you say has water under it" as him feeling that everything keeps changing, and it's exciting but intimidating -- he's basically not on solid ground.

Similarly, I think the lyric is actually, "You keep changing your fancy, fancy mind every time I decide to let it go" with the "it" referring to the end of the coat he's been hanging on. Meaning that just when he starts to feel more secure everything changes again, and he needs to keep hanging on so he can keep up.

That leads to the wonderful line about the dictionary, where he's discovered some things she might think are important enough to make him valuable.

Overall, I find it an endearingly wonderful and hilarious seduction attempt, with a priceless refrain, because even if you don't think I'm smart enough you still love my car -- "You might need me more than you think you do, come home in the car you love, Brainy, Brainy, Brainy".

Leonard Cohen – Master Song Lyrics 10 years ago
This has always been one of my favorites, and I've always understood it to be from the perspective of the person who was first left/sexually betrayed in a three-way relationship, using Cohen's wonderful way of mythologizing the small importances of an individual life. "You" have left me and followed your master, because you found ecstasy with him (been to the moon). And I here am still your prisoner, and now you know how it feels, because he has sent you away as well because he doesn't feel he has your complete loyalty, since part of you continues to long for me. But even so, you aren't coming back to me fully, so I will likely only get a bare level of sustenance from your return (I am sick in bed / your thighs are ruined/ and you only bring me wine and bread.)

I agree with BlackEyedAngel that this song is in many ways a partner with Famous Blue Raincoat -- it asks the same essential question: What do you do/how can you feel when you are betrayed and then your lover returns?

Don McLean – Vincent (Starry Starry Night) Lyrics 10 years ago
While I agree that this is a crucifixion reference, it's also very much a reference to Van Gogh's subject matter -- one of the transgressive aspects of his paintings was his inclusion and portrayal of working people during a period when that simply wasn't done. So "the ragged men in ragged clothes" refers as well to his models.

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