This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

Wax lyrical and win a book

13th March 2006

Music channel VH1 are currently asking us to vote for the nation’s favourite lyric. They have offered up 100 lyrical slices from 100 of the greatest songs ever, and as you’d expect, some of the choices are spot on, and some are way off.

Encouragingly, there are a lot of great bands in there, but I think many should be represented by better lyrics. So, here’s my overview of the ones that deserve to be there, and the ones I wish were included. Tell me your favourite lyrics, and you could win a copy of Blog Design Solutions...

The best of VH1’s selection

I’m certainly not a fan of 50 Cent, but I do love his “I love you like a fat kid loves cake” line from 21 Questions. That’s funny. The Happy Mondays appear with “Son I’m 30, I only went with your mother ‘cause she’s dirty, And I don’t have a decent bone in me, What you get is just what you see, yeah” from Kinky Afro. There are some great Radiohead lyrics, plus all the usual stuff you’d expect from The Beatles, The Stones, The Jam, The Kinks and so on.

If I had my way…

The Smiths have three sets of lyrics in the list, and whilst I think those from How Soon Is Now are the best of the three, I personally love this witty snippet from The Queen Is Dead:

So, I broke into the palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner.
She said : “Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing”.
I said : “That’s nothing - you should hear me play piano”.

Note that in the above, “paino” is pronounced “pi-a-nerr” to rhyme with spanner. The Stone Roses are listed, which pleases me, but I don’t feel that the lyrics from the chorus of I Am The Resurrection come anywhere close to this from She bangs The Drums:

I can feel the earth begin to move,
I hear my needle hit the groove,
And spiral through another day
I hear my song begin to say:
Kiss me where the sun don’t shine
The past was yours but the future’s mine.

Now that’s poetry. Then, VH1 - much like the rest of the world - are crimially overlooking the incredible Elbow, and almost all of the lyrics from their latest Leaders Of The Free World album are worthy of inclusion. Check this description of a club doorman from Forget Myself:

The man on the door has a head like Mars
Like a baby born to the doors of the bars,
And surrounded by steam with his folded arms,
He’s got that urban genie thing going on.
He’s so mercifully free of the pressures of grace -
Saint Peter in satin, he’s like Buddha with mace…

NWA are featured in the list, with “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge” from Straight Outta Compton, but surely…

Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube,
From the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes.
When I’m called off, I got a sawed off,
Squeeze the trigger, and bodies are hauled off.

...is the killer cut from that particularly lovely song.

What would you add to the list?

In my view, the VH1 list is a bit crap, and I’d love to see some of my choices in there. Knowing how knowledgeable you lot are when it comes to music, I’d be very interested to know what lyrics you’d add to the list, given the choice. You don’t have to select cool songs - often crap songs by uncool artists can still have killer lyrics.

I’ll send one of you a free book

For extra incentive, I’ll pick one of you at random on 25th March, and send you a copy of Blog Design Solutions for your trouble.

Responses

# Matthew Pennell responded on 13th March 2006 with...

As I’ve been adding song lyrics to my site’s homepage title for the last few months, I have a ready-made list of killer lines; some choice cuts:

“Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I’m shit-faced” (The New Pornographers, Use It)

“You make me want to pick up a guitar, and celabrate the myriad ways that I love you” (Interpol, Slow Hands)

“Always drunk on Sunday, trying to feel like I’m at home” (Black Crowes, Jealous Again)

# quis responded on 13th March 2006 with...

There are far too many good Smiths’ lyrics. And, as you noted, it’s the delivery that really makes them. From I know it’s over:

“If you’re so funny
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
And if you’re so clever
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very entertaining
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very good-looking
Why do you sleep alone tonight ?
I know ...
‘Cause tonight is just like any other night
That’s why you’re on your own tonight

Again, this one’s all in the delivery, but thought I’d throw it in just because it’s a terrifyingly great song. The Jesus Lizard - Elegy:
Just when you’re about to
Learn to smile again
I’m going to be the one to
Teach you how to cry

Brian Eno - Golden Hours:

The passage of time
Is flicking dimly up on the screen
I can’t see the lines
I used to think I could read between

I could go on. Lots. Haven’t looked to see if any of these are on the VH1 list, but listening them will ruin your life so terrifically.

# Tom responded on 13th March 2006 with...

I don’t want to fight
just want a piece of your life
oh, if you come out to play
I don’t want you to say…anything
I didn’t feel a thing when you told me that
you didn’t feel a thing when I told you that
I didn’t feel a thing, another breakfast with you

Ladytron - Another Breakfast with You

# Andrew K responded on 13th March 2006 with...

For all my fellow cubicle slaves in IT-land:

Calm, fitter, healthier and more productive.
a pig, in a cage, on antibiotics

source: ‘Fitter Happier’ from Radiohead’s OK Computer.

Also rather fitting, from the same track:

At a better pace, slower and more calculated, no chance of escape
Now self-employed, concerned, but powerless

Being a monday morning, that’s about as uplifting a quote as I can come up with at the moment. :)

# Stefan Hayden responded on 13th March 2006 with...

The best has to be from old school Weezer:

I talked for hours to your wallet photograph
And you just listened
You laughed enchanted by my intellect
Or maybe you didn’t
You remain, turned away
Turning further every day

# Mearso responded on 13th March 2006 with...

Anything by The Fall contains a rich vein of bile, wit and invention.

from ‘Oswald Defence Lawyer’

Oswald defense lawyer
Embraces the scruffed corpse of the mark twain
Oswald defense lawyer

# Kitsimons responded on 13th March 2006 with...

I’m tempted to agree with David Brent and say Desree… but I won’t.

I’m a big fan of the lyrics to Coldplay’s Amsterdam:
Stuck on the end of this ball and chain
I’m on my way back down again
Stood on the edge, tied to the noose, sick to the stomach
You can say what you mean but it won’t change a thing
I’m sick of the secrets
Stood on the edge, tied to the noose
And you came along and you came along and you cut me loose

# Lee Hickman responded on 13th March 2006 with...

For anybody that has ever loved and not been loved back!

The Temptations - Just my imagination.

Every night, on my knees I pray,
“Dear Lord, hear me please
don’t ever let another take her love from me
or I will surely die..”
Her love is heavenly;
when her arms enfold me,
I hear a tender rhapsody…
but in reality, she doesn’t even know me

# Ray Mosley responded on 13th March 2006 with...

As a teenager Radiohead were the band for me….

“You want me, well fucking well come and find me
I’ll be waiting with a gun and a pack of sandwiches”

Radiohead - “Talk Show Host”

# Peter Goddard responded on 13th March 2006 with...

Can you follow this one…

“Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources,
Chased amid fusions of wonder, in moments hardly seen forgotten
Coloured in pastures of chance dancing leaves cast spells of challenge,
Amused but real in thought, we fled from the sea whole.
Dawn of thought transfered through moments of days undersearching earth
Revealing corridors of time provoking memories, disjointed but with
Purpose,
Craving penetrations offer links with the self instructorĂs sharp
And tender love as we took to the air, a picture of distance.
Dawn of our power we amuse redescending as fast as misused
Expression, as only to teach love as to reveal passion chasing
Late into corners, and we danced from the ocean.
Dawn of love sent within us colours of awakening among the many
WonĂt to follow, only tunes of a different age, as the links span
Our endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting.”

The Revealing Science of God - Yes ~ Tales from Topographic Oceans

Yes ... I know it’s bollocks ... Its YES!

# JamesM responded on 13th March 2006 with...

For me, recently, it’s got to be:

ARCADE FIRE
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

“And if my parents are crying,
Then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours

You climb out the chinmey
And meet me in the middle
The middle of the town
And since there’s no one else around,
We let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know
Then our skin gets thicker from living out in the cold”

# Tony responded on 13th March 2006 with...

it’s nothing, it’s so normal you
just stand there I could say so much
but I don’t go there cuz I don’t want to
I was thinking if you were lonely
maybe we could leave here and no one would know
at least not to the point that we would think so


everyone here knows everyone here is thinking about somebody else
it’s best if we all keep it under our heads
I couldn’t tell, if anyone here was feeling the way I do
but I’m lonely now, and I don’t know how
to get it back to good

Matchbox20, Back To Good

# Russell responded on 14th March 2006 with...

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant shipĂs smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I canĂt hear what youĂre sayinĂ.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

# marvincooper responded on 14th March 2006 with...

She was into S&M and bible studies
Not everyone’s cup of tea she would admit to me

Belle & Sebastian
If You’re Feeling Sinister

# Simon responded on 14th March 2006 with...

Taken from ‘Life’ by Desree…

“I don’t wanna see a ghost
It’s the sight that I fear most
I’d rather have a piece of toast”

Genius!

# Robw responded on 14th March 2006 with...

My friends are so distressed
And standing on
The brink of emptiness
No words… I know of to express
This emptiness

My Friends by RHCP

A touch depressing, but very good none the less.

# Ben Ward responded on 15th March 2006 with...

Hmm, the idea of ‘The Nation’s Favourite lyric’ is an odd one. Certainly on the VH1 list you’ve got some genuinely creative, emotive and unique lines that reward the efforts of some all time great songwriters.

But there’s also “I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky”: Not exactly poetry but understandably someones favourite since it conjures memories of an entire period of pop music.

In that respect, I think the competition is too broad.

Of course, as to why the first line of “Yellow” by Coldplay is nominated may always be a mystery.

Anyway, Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’ is engraved on my iPod (‘All the unborn chicken voices in my head’), although my favourite part of that song is undoubtedly:

That’s it, sir
You’re leaving
The crackle of pigskin
The dust and the screaming
The yuppies networking
The panic, the vomit
The panic, the vomit
God loves his children, God loves his children, yeah!

Fabulous.

Shall also mention Arctic Monkey’s ‘A Certain Romance’ for being gloriously witty. Extra credit for including the line ‘tracky bottoms tucked in socks’, which is nothing short of audacious.

On a vaguely related note, Colly, by which I mean not really related at all: I stumbled across a clash of titans as your ever-favourite Arctic Monkeys cover Girls “Apparently this new album is their Sergeant pepper” Aloud (via:mardy-bum.com). You might just like that. Or just laugh a lot.

# Richard Medek responded on 15th March 2006 with...

I’m going to have to go with this beautiful, inspiring line from my childhood:

My anaconda don’t want none˜
Unless you’ve got buns, honĂ

So beautiful, if a bit silly; I mean, everyone knows snakes don’t like bread so I’m not sure exactly what Sir Mix-a-Lot was thinking.

# Simon responded on 15th March 2006 with...

I thought of a classic piece of songwriting genius, brought to us by Shaun Ryder. Taken from Black Grape’s ‘Stupid Stupid Stupid’ album, the lyrics from ‘Dadi was a badi’ are as follows…

“Daddy was a baddy
He wore a baddy’s hat
And any chick with massive tits
My Dad just had to shag…”

Also, I thought of (it’s a bit random, although the World Cup’s coming up), John Barnes’ contribution to New Order’s ‘World in Motion’:

“YouĂve got to hold and give
But do it at the right time
You can be slow or fast
But you must get to the line
TheyĂll always hit you and hurt you
Defend and attack
Theres only one way to beat them
Get round the back
Catch me if you can
CosĂ IĂm the england man
And what youĂre looking at
Is the master plan
We ainĂt no hooligans
This ainĂt a football song
Three lions on my chest
I know we canĂt go wrong”

# Brian Middleton responded on 19th March 2006 with...

Here is a gem taken from the Mates of State song ‘Everyone Needs an Editor’..

I color the sky with you ... I let you choose the blue.

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