Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My Favorite Lyrics, part 1

An old girlfriend and I once debated which was more important in a song: lyrics or melody. I argued for the former and don't remember if I won (probably not; she was a smart one), but I still believe whatever I said back then. If I can't mean the words I'm singing along to, the song just isn't that good or important to me. "Meaning the words" ranges in depth, from fun bubblegum fare to intense emotional introspection -- and though I lean toward the latter, I'm not immune to the likes of Li'l Mama's "Lip Gloss," either (which, incidentally, I heard on my way to the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco earlier this year -- on an Oakland station, of course -- and I warned my friends that it would sweep the country in no time . . . nice to be ahead of the curve). But I digress; below are a few of my favorite lyrics from songs I've been replaying in my office lately. Yes, I listen to the same dozen or so songs for a solid few weeks before altering the mix, just because I'm a little possessive and obsessive like that. After all, if the music makes your foot tap, lyrics make your heart beat, and I can use all the help I can get.

"Left and Leaving," The Weakerthans: My city's still breathing (but barely it's true)/through buildings gone missing like teeth./The sidewalks are watching me think about you,/sparkled with broken glass./I'm back with scars to show./Back with the streets I know/will never take me anywhere but here.

"I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You," Tom Waits: Well, the night does funny things inside a man/These old tom-cat feelings you don't understand/Well, I turn around and look at you, you light a cigarette,/I wish I had the guts to bum one, but we've never met,/And I hope that I don't fall in love with you.

"Operator," Jim Croce: Isn't that the way they say it goes?/But let's forget all that/And give me the number if you can find it/So I can call just to tell them I'm fine and to show/I've overcome the blow/I've learned to take it well/I only wish my words could just convince myself/That it just wasn't real/But that's not the way it feels.

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