A couple of days ago it was revealed that the UK’s favourite song lyric is “One” by U2.
While it’s undoubtedly a beautiful song, it wouldn’t make my top ten.
I’m more inclined to go for the lyric that came in at number 2 in the poll by VH1: “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths.
While Morrissey’s genius is undisputed, in my opinion, that’s not my favourite Smiths song as it turns out.
Anyway, for a bit of fun, here’s my top ten all time favourite lyrics (though it’s an interchangeable ranking depending on my mood)
# 1 “Consolation Prize” Orange Juice
I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn
I was hoping to impress.
So frightfully camp it made you laugh
Tomorrow I’ll buy myself a dress,
Edwyn Collins tries to win a girl’s heart away from her macho boyfriend using a range of sartorial tactics. If there’s a more visually humorous lyric than this, then I’ve yet to hear it. He won my heart forever with this, that’s for sure 🙂
# 2 “Reel Around The Fountain” The Smiths
I dreamt about you last night
and I fell out of bed twice.
You can pin and mount me
like a butterfly.
Morrissey pinches dialogue from “A Taste Of Honey” and makes it his own. The subtlety of the homo-eroticism is brilliant.
#3 “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Joy Division
Why is the bedroom so cold
Turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed,
Our respect run so dry?
Yet thereâ€™s still this appeal
That weâ€™ve kept through our lives
Love, love will tear us apart again
Have seven lines ever revealed as much about the death of love? Cold. Harsh. Painful. Unsentimental. Perfect.
#4 “Coin Operated Boy” Dresden Dolls
coin operated boy
sitting on the shelf he is just a toy
but i turn him on and he comes to life
that is why i want a coin operated boy
made of plastic and elastic
he is rugged and long-lasting
who could ever ever ask for more
love without complications galore
many shapes and weights to choose from
i will never leave my bedroom
i will never cry at night again
wrap my arms around him and pretend….
I want to visit Amanda Palmer’s world, just for a day. It must like some curious dusty attic, filled with weird and wonderful things that surprise and terrify you in equal measure. Like this mechanical boyfriend that’ll love you forever.
This song is just so eccentric and imaginative, and the delivery is genius. If you ever get a chance to see these guys live, then grab it, they’re amazing.
# 5 “That Song About The Midway” Joni Mitchell
I met you on a midway at a fair last year
And you stood out like a ruby in a black manâ€™s ear
You were playing on the horses, you were playing on the guitar strings
You were playing like a devil wearing wings, wearing wings
You looked so grand wearing wings
Do you tape them to your shoulders just to sing
Can you fly
I heard you can! can you fly
Like an eagle doinâ€™ your hunting from the sky
It’s the description here that does it for me. The way that ruby would mesmerise you and draw you in, attract you despite yourself. Joni hints at the dangerous predator behind the illusion, but encourages you to fall for his charms along with her. Genius.
# 6 “The Boy With The Arab Strap” Belle and Sebastian
Everyone suffers in silence a burden
The man who drives minicabs down in Old Compton
The Asian man
With his love hate affair
With his racist clientele
Weird wee song this. The coy sleaziness of the title has you expecting something else. So to find the lyrics taking such a turn and easing toward social commentary is delightful. The hidden goings on in a city, as imagined by the ever surprising Stuart Murdoch. What a world he sees!
#7 “Range Life” Pavement
Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins
Nature kids, I/they donâ€™t have no function
I donâ€™t understand what they mean
And I could really give a fuck.
The Stone Temple Pilots,
Theyâ€™re elegant bachelors
Theyâ€™re foxy to me are they foxy to you?
I will agree there isnâ€™t absolutely nothing
Nothing more than me
Dreaminâ€™ dream dream dream….
Stephen Malkmus gives us the low down on life on the road, the perils of rock stardom and his dreams of a quiet idyll.
He seems as perplexed with the whole shebang as anyone and it’s impossible not to giggle.
#8 “Lover You Should’ve Come Over” Jeff Buckley
Looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water
And maybe Iâ€™m too young to keep good love from going wrong
But tonight youâ€™re on my mind so you never know
When Iâ€™m broken down and hungry for your love with no way to feed it
Where are you tonight, child you know how much I need it
Too young to hold on and too old to just break free and run
Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun
And much too blind to see the damage heâ€™s done
Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one
So Iâ€™ll wait for you… and Iâ€™ll burn
Will I ever see your sweet return
Oh will I ever learn
Oh lover, you shouldâ€™ve come over
â€™cause itâ€™s not too late
Guilt, regret and realism side by side. Jeff mourns his mistake at having his fun and yearns for a lover that will never return. Painful but strangely beautiful.
#9 “Animal Nitrate” Suede
Well he said heâ€™d show you his bed
And the delights of the chemical smile,
So in your broken home he broke all your bones
Now youâ€™re taking it time after time
Oh it turns you on, on, now he has gone
Oh what turns you on now your animalâ€™s gone?
In the 1990s, while (the really quite posh) Damon Albarn sang smug songs about the working class in a fake estuary accent and Oasis swaggered about in a drunken haze mouthing off anthemic dull-witted nonsense, Suede scuttled around in the sordid hinterland of Britain telling tales of sex, drugs and general seedy misery. Which of course, made them far more interesting and attractive. 🙂
#10 “Sympathy For The Devil” The Rolling Stones
Please allow me to introduce myself
Iâ€™m a man of wealth and taste
Iâ€™ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a manâ€™s soul and faith
And I was â€™round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whatâ€™s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
Inspired by Bulgakov’s masterpiece, Jagger makes the devil absolutely sexy as hell. A song that could make a heathen of anyone 😀