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Warpaint – Billie Holiday Lyrics 7 years ago
The key to this song, the connection between the title and the Mary Wells 'My Guy' lyrics (written by Smokey Robinson incidentally), is perhaps Holiday's 'My Man'.
Where 'My Guy' is the saccharine sweet ideal of teenage love, 'My Man' is it's dysfunctional, abusive counterpart, but both are a pledge of devotion to their guy/man.

Warpaint – Billie Holiday Lyrics 7 years ago
The key to this song, the connection between the title and the Mary Wells 'My Guy' lyrics (written by Smokey Robinson incidentally), is perhaps Holiday's 'My Man'.
Where 'My Guy' is the saccharine sweet ideal of teenage love, 'My Man' is it's dysfunctional, abusive counterpart, but both are a pledge of devotion to their guy/man.

Warpaint – Billie Holiday Lyrics 7 years ago
The key to this song, the connection between the title and the Mary Wells 'My Guy' lyrics (written by Smokey Robinson incidentally), is perhaps Holiday's 'My Man'.
Where 'My Guy' is the saccharine sweet ideal of teenage love, 'My Man' is it's dysfunctional, abusive counterpart, but both are a pledge of devotion to their guy/man.

John Martyn – Couldn't Love You More Lyrics 9 years ago
if you loved me til my eyes gave no more shine for you
if you walked besides me all the long way home
and if you wasted all your time on me

I could not love you more.


For Dewi. Best companion I could have wished for.

Jane's Addiction – End To The Lies Lyrics 9 years ago
After all this time I really shouldn't be pissed off at what they've become. But I am. Why couldn't they have just left it where they did first time round, when it was perfect?

Jane's Addiction – Classic Girl Lyrics 9 years ago
And unfortunately Perry and Casey split up a long time ago.

Bob Dylan – When the Ship Comes In Lyrics 9 years ago
Yep!, it's triumphant. And righteous.
Taking the story about the inspiration it's about the triumph of youth and change over the old order. Dylan and co are on the ship, the hotel clerk is amongst those surrendering and washed away by the incoming tide.

One of my very favourite early Dylan songs. Particularly love the last 4 lines.

Bob Dylan – Positively 4th Street Lyrics 9 years ago
A song (or three verses at least) for everyone who has ever claimed to support a cause but who when then changes sides claiming that it's not them deserting the cause but the cause that has failed them

You got a lotta nerve
To say you gota helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning

You say I let you down
You know it's not like that
If you're so hurt
Why then don't you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that's not where it's at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue Lyrics 9 years ago
Is it the same she? This is Dylan at some place and time reflecting on a long romance that is presently discontinued. The bar, possibly, is the present (or near present), and rather than paying attention to the dancer he's absorbed by the past, and by someone else, but, given Dylan's fame, she half-recognises him, comes to talk to him, and something about her, and her tying his shoes (if that's not purely metaphor), sparks further reminiscence, reminding him of the occassion with the other she with the stove and the book of poems.
That relies on the introduction of a second "she" and that sitting by the stove reading poetry doesn't follow on from the bar in real time, and shouldn't be associated.

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue Lyrics 9 years ago
That seems more likely, as the subsequent lines about music in cafes and revolution in the air is clearly reference to coffee shop folk scene of his early career.

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue Lyrics 9 years ago
@GreatIAm - interesting call! So it shifts out and back. Very neat.

Bob Dylan – 4th Time Around Lyrics 9 years ago
Of women, who presume more than Dylan is in fact offering.

And of one who has taken him in exactly those circumstances when he left his last, but is now doing the same herself.

The fault, of course, could be Dylan's.

Bob Dylan – Restless Farewell Lyrics 9 years ago
On leaving a lover and refusing the suggestion that they could stay friends.
Conflated with musings on how he has now become public property, with every aspect of his private life raked over, asked about, and his songs examined for clues (as many of us are doing here all these year's later!)

Oh, ev'ry thought that's strung a knot in my mind,
I might go insane if it couldn't be sprung.
But it's not to stand naked under unknowin' eyes,
It's for myself and my friends my stories are sung.

Perhaps the most intriguing verse though is the third, which seems to contain a contradiction midway through. Dylan claims to have fought his every argument without remorse

Oh ev'ry foe that ever I faced,
The cause was there before we came.
And ev'ry cause that ever I fought,
I fought it full without regret or shame.

but goes on to talk of leaving before the sun rises, and before he has to face the person with whom he's argued

But the dark goes die
As the curtain is drawn and somebody's eyes
Must meet the dawn.
And if I see the day
I'd only have to stay,
So I'll bid farewell in the night and be gone.

Slipping out on a lover with whom he's quarreled one too many times perhaps, and with whom he's decided there is no future, just more quarrels, even if he's not (had the courage) to say as much.

Bob Dylan – North Country Blues Lyrics 9 years ago
In the long tradition of mining songs.
And, almost, an anti-globalisation song ahead of it's time - a North American mine shutting cause it cannot compete with the prices of competitors in South America where labour costs are cheaper, and which those they supply are happy to buy from.
And the story for much of the US, UK and other mining industries.
And speaking of the need for international workers solidarity - to prevent the exploitation of those workers in South America, and the jobs of those North America from being lost as unscrupulous and exploitative practices in South America could allow their production costs to be undercut.

A song that, like most mining songs, that if you're from a mining background at all, sends a chill.

Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life Lyrics 10 years ago
Good call on the blue scars - they were a familiar everyday site on the older generations in those mining communities, grandfathers, uncles etc, a rarer site now as those generations have largely died out.

Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life Lyrics 10 years ago

Oh, and no-one seems to have pointed out that the second line paraphrases a translation of the notorious 'Arbeit macht frei' sign over the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp

though I'd hope that was common knowledge.

Bruce Springsteen – My Hometown Lyrics 11 years ago
Describing this song to someone recently, in trying to explain the attraction of Springsteen's romanticism, I realised that in it's 4 verses he nails what took John Updike 3 novels - the story of small town, blue collar America since the '50s ('My Hometown' vs the first 3 Rabbit novels more or less, certainly the first 2)

Dexys Midnight Runners – The Celtic Soul Brothers Lyrics 11 years ago
Not far off Pandora. Many of Kevin and the Dexy's songs are about the clash and mix of his insecurity and stage fright with his conviction in what they were doing and embrace of / delight in finding people who shared it - the band and audience. So this is about watching others in the pop spotlight doing stuff that Kevin isn't convinced by before plucking up the courage to push them aside and thrust themselves and their sound/vision into the spotlight.

PJ Harvey – M-Bike Lyrics 11 years ago
Autobiographical. Written when Harvey was seeing Joe Dilworth of Th'Faith Healers. Who was quoted as remarking "She could just have said she didn't like my bike".

Nina Simone – I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free) Lyrics 12 years ago
Is there a more apposite, or poignant song for today, when America has elected it’s first ever black President? As Simon Sharma put it, finally making good on the conviction enshrined in the Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

Written by Billy Taylor, and likely most familiar to British listeners for the instrumental version that served as theme to Barry Norman, and later Jonathan Ross’, ‘Film’ movie review programme.

PJ Harvey – Broken Harp Lyrics 12 years ago
Nah, there's plenty of hints at abortion / miscarriage on the album, but in this instance I think the metal tearing her stomach out is just a description of how she feels with hurt of being misunderstood, or of seeing the person she's talking to feeling misunderstood.

It's a brilliant but really difficult ablum. I love Polly's un-commercial records, much more so than the big rock one, but this one is really difficult listening, excellent, but not something you're going to put on all that often.

PJ Harvey – Ecstasy Lyrics 12 years ago
No idea what this song is about, but polly's guitar playing on it is just phenomenal, and Steve Albini's production perfect for it's raw visceral tone.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Frequency Lyrics 12 years ago
The "With the radio on" line at the end is more than likely a nod to Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lover's classic "Roadrunner".

Deadsy – Brand New Love Lyrics 12 years ago
I think it should be pointed out that this is a deeply hideous cover of one of the greatest songs ever. An utter travesty.

Lou Reed – Power and Glory Lyrics 12 years ago
This reads like a Lou Reed wishing for mystical transformative power in response to the impotence he feels as a friend fights cancer. 'Magic and Loss' is a hugely under-rated record, perhaps the first grown-up, adult rock'n'roll record, dealing with Reed losing friends to cancer and giving the (teenage) anger and passion of rock'n'roll a new focus railing at the injustices at the end of life.

Lou Reed – There Is No Time Lyrics 12 years ago
A song with a sense of political urgency from an album that generally deals with more personal shortage of time, of death and dying. That urgency is reflected in the political here in the sense that there is no time for the usual compromises, conniving and complacency of politics but rather only for honesty, straight speaking and action.

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music, Pt. 1 Lyrics 12 years ago
Ha ha! Made me laugh at least! 'Metal Machine Music' on a lyric discussion site. An incredible record, with no lyrics obviously. If you've not heard it seek out the Zeitkratzer recording of their arrangement for classical instruments.

The Clash – Midnight to Stevens Lyrics 12 years ago
About Guy Stevens, producer of 'London Calling' and uk record industry figure.

Spiritualized – Anything More Lyrics 12 years ago
Funny, I'm intriuged by CNova's take. It makes perfect sense - a really positive interpretation of it. I'd always taken it the other way though - of feeling worn down by despair, tired and exhausted, of wanting, physically, to stop, to rest, to wait it out, but your mind giving your no rest, that inescapable sunken feeling, and despite it all having to keep going, 'cause just curling up simply isn't an option.

Spiritualized – Hold On Lyrics 12 years ago
A secular hymn. Simple as.

Neil Young – Revolution Blues Lyrics 12 years ago
Great lyrics, but phrasing and manner in which Young delivers them takes them up another notch. The last word on Manson. Or at least it should've been, and have spared us all the imbeciles who've glorified and obssessed about him since.

The Clash – English Civil War (Johnny Comes Marching Home) Lyrics 12 years ago
Although it's tempting to presume Johnny is Johnny Rotten it's more likely that it's Johnny, the archetypal rock'n'roll hero, who's inhabited rock'n'roll records from 'Johnny Be Good' onwards. There are hundreds of Johnnies in rock'n'roll - either in song titles or, as in the case of Patti Smith's hero/victim in 'Land', in the lyrics. IIRC someone's even written a book / article about the biography of 'Johnny' tracing him through the classic songs he appears in.

Patti Smith – Piss Factory Lyrics 12 years ago
Patti's rock'n'roll dreams and iconography clash with the rigors and resignation of a factory job. With wonderful pacing, which seems to make the whole thing turn, from the bullying overbearance of her co-workers to ecstatic hope, on the sudden tunefulness she invests in the line 'James Brown singing
"I Lost Someone" '.
A rock'n'roll prayer and prophecy self-fufilled.

PJ Harvey – Dry Lyrics 12 years ago
A brilliant inversion of rock'n'rolls usual assumption of male priapism and powers of seduction. A song to cuckhold any man, and, specifically, any of the legions of rock sex gods before Polly. A song that always reminds me of the impact her early severe image, and songs, had when she first started getting press coverage.

The Clash – Armagideon Time Lyrics 12 years ago
Yeah, it's Kosmo Vinyl. Think the story is in the 'On Broadway' booklet. Kosmo had a notion at the time that songs shouldn't be more than 3 minutes long or something, so can be heard over the studio intercomm telling that band "Alright, times up, let's have you outta there" which is what Strummer responds to.

Dirty Projectors – Rise Above Lyrics 13 years ago
Yes, absolutely gorgeous.

I know the song is a Black Flag classic, but I'm not sold on the lyrics. They seem to smack of a superiority that just echoes societies presumed contempt.
But that's counter-culture for you - it has to have something to define itself in opposition too.

Camille – Je Ne Suis Pas Ta Chose Lyrics 13 years ago
But even without understanding the lyrics it's a fantastic song. A great melody and relaxed feel. And she does so much with a voice during it, particularly towards the end - high wails, a pure sound breaking to growls, a breathy huskyiness - pretty much everything really.

Camille – Je Ne Suis Pas Ta Chose Lyrics 13 years ago
I think it's about the end of a love affair, or the rejection of one.
The first verse is about burst balloons, missed trains, etc, and the second about closed doors and torn photos.
So, the message is that she doesn't belong to someone who still thinks she does, still puts his/her hands on her, but that it's too late for that now and she's hers and hers alone.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town Lyrics 13 years ago
There's a bitterness in the first verse that I think you've missed
Now I hear she's got a house up in Fairview
And a style she's trying to maintain
Well if she wants to see me
You can tell her that I'm easily found
A resentment that he's hearing news about his ex-wife second hand, and that she's doing well while he's down here with his demons, whatever they are, and that she doesn't ask after him.

The demons are gambling, aren't they? The first two lines I presume is reference to a horse track, but that that's not where he places his money - his is lost - I lost my money, then I lost my wife - in the darkness on the edge of town.

The rest I think you've all got right - of putting something else before your loved ones despite your loving them.

Spacemen 3 – come down easy Lyrics 13 years ago
An arrangement / rewording of a traditional song, another version of which can be found on Bob Dylan's first album where it's titled 'In My Time of Dyin' '.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Sidewalking Lyrics 13 years ago
A mix of emotions on the long walk home after a night out - at once lonely, vulnerable, tired and cold and righteous and invincible.

Patti Smith – Because the Night Lyrics 13 years ago
It's worth looking at these lyrics and comparing them with those of the Springsteen one.
Springsteen wrote it but couldn't get it to work in it's original form. He gave it to Patti and her band who rocked it up, the arrangement they'd both subsequently use.
She changed some of they lyrics too, and the differences between the two versions are quite marked.
Springsteen's is typical Springsteen territory - the workingman at the end of his day seeking solace in the arms of his girl.
Patti's is more abstract, imagery, and the marriage of power with a deep core of vulnerability - you and me against the world, but the loneliness and doubt of the day time - imploring her lover to forgive the strength of her passion, and for physical embrace to allay the doubts.
They're both excellent, but very different perspectives wrung from the same song.

Patti Smith – Rock & Roll Nigger Lyrics 13 years ago
Sex and artistic outcast status rolled up as one.
Nigger could be nigger, or it could be freak, or queer or punk. Any word that sets one aside from mainstream society, 'outside of society', and which implies societies rejection or disapproval. And nigger was probably the most powerful. She's staking ground - making a claim, and at the same time declaring allegiance.

And at the same time, from Babelogue and the middle section, there's sex and art. Women's perspective, I guess, and a woman's experience of sex that seems to drive so much of 'Horses' - the complete absorption of the 'I was lost...' lines. A moment beyond one's self, where all else is lost to sensation.

And the link - the equation of the two, art and sex - the rush of sex, and the rush of rock'n'roll, or performance, that's so obvious in her performances from the time.

Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi's Dead Lyrics 13 years ago
If any of you have not heard the Nouvelle Vague version of this you should seek it out. They also do a cover of The Sisters 'Marian' amongst other moments of genius.

As for the lyrics, nevermind whether this is about Bela Lugosi's life or him in role as Dracula the brilliance of the lyrics in the 1st verse, the phrasing in delivering
"The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box"
with it's bled-red internal rhyme. That's a quality piece of lyric writing that.

Marillion – He Knows You Know Lyrics 13 years ago
Sharpest, most succinct Fish period Marillion song. Not just about heroin, but an all bases covered chemical habit, and the offers of help spurned.
And no sympathy.

Marillion – Blind Curve Lyrics 13 years ago
It's a series of reminisces, probably written as fragments at different times, in keeping with the themes of the album; lost love, regret, loss of innocence etc.

The ending is the backdrop to the desolation - more desolation! The Cold War, Britain, West Germany, Northern Ireland, and tv news.
And all that piled on top of the personal desolation / desperation "Oh, I can't take anymore!"

Mylo and Threshold are the best sections IMO.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Little Red Rooster Lyrics 14 years ago
The Willie Dixon classic given a lurching, distorted reworking with the trademark "Big William" whistles layed over the top.
As a good a version as you'll ever hear.

The Sisters of Mercy – Dominion/Mother Russia Lyrics 14 years ago
Cold War nostalgia perfection.

Lord knows what it mean, but it evokes the (un)comfortable, totalitarian certainties of the cold war - the sense of brooding empires stood in opposition, and the rest of us as pawns.
How I miss it.

Bob Dylan – One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) Lyrics 14 years ago

When I said "goodbye" to you and smiled
I thought that it was well understood
That I'd be comin' back in a little while
I didn't know that I was sayin' "goodbye" for good

And I still don't know if I was, was I?

The Sisters of Mercy – Alice Lyrics 14 years ago
Alice is a wallflower - shy, retiring, fearful - pressed against the wall, laughing strangers threatening to crush her, leaving her petals on the floor.

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