Back in high school, I remember laughing over the lyrics of some song or other - "let's take a shower together," something like that. My sister, who I don't believe liked the actual song any better than I did, nevertheless thoughtfully noted that songs of that genre had more heart than the rock songs that were the staples of my social circle. At the time I had to agree. It's hard to argue that "If You See Kay" (that was April Wine) or "The Number of the Beast" (that was Iron Maiden) were as - for lack of a better term - makeout-worthy as, say, "Let's take a shower together," the name of which I can't remember if indeed I ever knew it.
And then I fell for and eventually married (and somewhat more eventually divorced) a young man for whom song lyrics were almost his preferred mode of communication, and I discovered a world to which I'd been blind and deaf before. After this long and a second marriage that's everything the unfortunate first one wasn't for either of us, I still thank him for giving me ears to hear:
- I thought I loved you - it was just how you looked in the light. ("Hum Hallelujah," Fall Out Boy)
- I feel the way you would. ("Afterimage," Rush)
- I need to feel your heartbeat, so close it feels like mine - all mine. ("Heartbeat," King Crimson)
- (Here's a whole verse from one of my favorite songs ever:)
I saw teenage girls like gaudy moths,
A classroom's shabby butterflies,
Flirt in the glow of stranded telephone boxes;
Planning white lace weddings from smeared hearts and token proclamations,
Rolled from stolen lipsticks across the razored webs of glass.
Sharing cigarettes with experience
With her giggling jealous confidantes,
She faithfully traces his name
With quick bitten fingernails
Through the tears of condensation
Thatll cry through the night
As the glancing headlights of the last bus
Kiss adolescence goodbye. ("Warm Wet Circles," Marillion)
- I am the ticket, you the prize; when begins the winning? ("Girl With Grey Eyes," Big Country)
- If I only could
I'd make a deal with God
And get Him to swap our places;
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems. ("Running Up That Hill," Kate Bush)
- (Another whole verse, and an uncharacteristic choice:)
Well I don't give a dang about nothing
When I'm singing and bling-blinging
While the girls are drinking
Long necks down!
And I wouldn't trade ol' Leroy
Or my Chevrolet for your Escalade
Or your freak parade
'Cause I'm the only John Wayne left in this town. ("Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy," Big & Rich - and it's a laff riot! I love this song)
- And the man from the magazine wants another shot of you all curled up,
'Cause you look like an actor in a movie shot, but you're feeling like a wino in a parking lot. ("Heart of Lothian," Marillion)
- (Another whole verse:)
The sky was Bible black in Lyon,
when I met the Magdalene.
She was paralyzed in a streetlight.
She refused to give her name.
And a ring of violet bruises,
They were pinned upon her arm.
Two hundred francs for sanctuary and she led me by the hand,
to a room of dancing shadows where all the heartache disappears
And from glowing tongues of candles I heard her whisper in my ear.
'J'entend ton coeur,'
'J'entend ton coeur':
I can hear your heart. ("Bitter Suite," Marillion - I think Marillion's former vocalist and lyricist, Fish, was one of the great prog poets)
- (One more Marillion. The setting is children running through a sprinkler:)
Then I heard the children singing;
They were running through the rainbows.
They were singing a song for you -
Well, it seemed to be a song for you,
The one I wanted to write for you. ("Lavender," Marillion)
- Show a little faith: there's magic in the night.
You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're all right. ("Thunder Road," Springsteen)