Monday 2 November 2015

Waxing lyrical

I think people fall into one of two camps when it comes to listening to music: those that just like the overall sound of a song, paying no attention to the lyrics, and those for whom the lyrics are important. I fall into the latter category and suspect that you, discerning reader, do too.

I once went out with a girl who had no idea what House Of Fun by Madness was about, because she paid the words no attention. I was also able to convince her that in the chorus of Has My Fire Really Gone Out, Paul Weller later sung "I haven't put enough money in the meter". She bought this because she wasn't bothered by lyrics at all and, I guess, it sounded plausible, since the song was obviously about fires...

Last Friday, I was listening to Simon Mayo's drivetime radio show on my way home from work. A woman had called in to request a song - her family were celebrating, with one daughter about to get married and another daughter having just had a baby. So the matriarch asked if Simon would play Mr Brightside by The Killers because "it's a really good, happy song." Er, no it isn't. Good: yes; happy: no. Not unless burning jealousy makes you happy.

Lyrics are important, is the obvious point I'm trying to make. Good lyrics stay with you. Good lyrics can, and should, infuse your language. That's why, when someone says to me "That's just the way it is", I will invariably reply "Some things will never change." Or, when recounting an unpleasant event or difficult time in my life, I will often add, "I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible."

Lyrics - listen to them, people. Embrace them. Adopt them. Unless you're submitting to KissThisGuy, in which case do whatever the hell you want.

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