Any fool can think of words that rhyme, many others do, why can't you?
May 24, 2012 11:49 AM   Subscribe

nice. I like how it's not a definitive list -- just 30 beautiful turns of phrase.

But come on, where's ...

Dawn of our power we amuse
Re descending 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
Colors of awakening among the many
Want to follow, only tunes of a different age
As the links span our endless caresses
For the freedom of life everlasting

posted by philip-random at 12:07 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Am I only seeing white rock artists on this list?
posted by bonefish at 12:17 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

That's all I see, bonefish. But at least it doesn't say 30 best. It's just "30".
posted by cashman at 12:19 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Abracadabra...I'm gonna reach out and grab ya."
posted by sourwookie at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2012 [11 favorites]

I'll still take any of the verses from Hallelujah. I think Leonard Cohen of all people can be on the list twice.
posted by dry white toast at 12:28 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Richard got married to a figure skater and he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator and he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on and all the house lights left up bright.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:29 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
posted by bonefish at 12:32 PM on May 24, 2012 [16 favorites]

Isn't it nice?
Luring disco dollies to a life of vice

*snif!* Gets me every time that does.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:32 PM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

And who can forget that great Laibach lyric? I think it goes

posted by Kafkaesque at 12:33 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'll still take any of the verses from Hallelujah.

Oh, please ...
Anything by Cohen. Everything by Cohen ... except f***ing Hallelujah, which is about heroin anyway, isn't it? Or is that Suzanne?
posted by philip-random at 12:35 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Came in to say what tigrefacile did. But what the hell, here's the whole thing.
The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café
You laugh he said you think you're immune
Go look at your eyes they're full of moon
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies just pretty lies

He put a quarter in the Wurlitzer and he pushed
Three buttons and the thing began to whirr
And a bar maid came by in fishnet stockings and a bow tie
And she said "Drink up now it's getting' on time to close"
"Richard, you haven't really changed" I said
It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head
You got tombs in your eyes but the songs you punched are dreaming
Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet
When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?
Oh and love can be so sweet Love so sweet

Richard got married to a figure skater
And he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator
And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on
And all the house lights left up bright
I'm gonna blow this damn candle out
I don't want nobody comin' over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about
All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes dark cafes
Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away
Only a phase these dark café days
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Since we're going there:

If I'd only seen through the silky veils of ardor
What a killing crime this love can be
I would have locked up my heart
In a golden sheath of armor
And kept its crazy beating
Under strictest secrecy
High security

posted by blucevalo at 12:48 PM on May 24, 2012

all that summertime, I revolved around your eye
in exhilarating spirals in an asymmetric sky
posted by Afroblanco at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2012

Ev'rybody have fun tonight,
Ev'rybody wang chung tonight.

posted by horsewithnoname at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

No one to call him on the phone
'cept for the pope maybe in Rome.
posted by bondcliff at 12:54 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine, mine

posted by Lutoslawski at 12:57 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine, mine
posted by Lutoslawski

No self-quotes!
posted by curious nu at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The cupboard is empty, we really need food
Summer is winter and you always knew
posted by gompa at 1:06 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Libertines? Really?

Taste is pretty arbitrary, but here are a couple:

Baby, why am I worried now
Did someone make a fool of me
Before I could show them how it's done?
Can't give up acting tough
It's all that I'm made of
Can't scrape together quite enough
To ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love

-Neko Case, Middle Cyclone

And I don't want to hear a sad story
Full of heartbreak and desire
The last time I felt like this
It was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
And I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn
I watched it burn, I watched it burn.

-Emmylou Harris, Boulder to Birmingham

When the rich die last
Like the rabbits
Running from a lucky past
Full of shadow cunning
And the world lights up
For the final day
We will all be poor
Having had our say

Young Marble Giants, Final Day

We went to the Philly Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said 'Well no, we only have it iced'
So we jumped up on the table and shouted 'Anarchy'
And someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox
It it was "California Dreamin'"
So we started screamin'
On such a winter's day

Dead Milkmen, Punk Rock Girl

The sun, whose rays
Are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny
His majesty —
He scorns to tell a story!
He don't exclaim,
"I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent."
But, fierce and bold,
In fiery gold,
He glories all effulgent!

I mean to rule the earth,
As he the sky —
We really know our worth,
The sun and I!

Gilbert & Sullivan, The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on May 24, 2012

The Libertines? Really?

It is NME, after all. They've got a Tourette-like tic that makes them bark out breathless praise for middling one-hit-wonder English bands with alarming frequency. I think they once declared Supergrass to be better than the Beatles or some shit.
posted by gompa at 1:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it
- Bob Dylan

or how about

Images of broken light, which
Dance before me like a million eyes,
They call me on and on across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.
- Lennon/McCartney
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:15 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

By the way, you could do a whole list of this stuff just using Dylan's opening couplets:

God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe said, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails and negativity don't pull you through

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime
Didn't you?

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin' to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
posted by gompa at 1:22 PM on May 24, 2012 [11 favorites]

I wish I was in Tijuana
Eating barbequed iguana

Okay - it's Morrisey's lyrics that always get me, sometimes it's just a throw away line that seems so heartbreaking.

Hand me the pillow - the one that dream on...
posted by helmutdog at 1:25 PM on May 24, 2012

In case anyone is interested I made a Spotify playlist from the songs in the article (at least, the 27 of them that are available on Spotify).
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:25 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Dylan's greatest lyric is 'All Along the Watchtower.' Move along.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on May 24, 2012

If someone had shown me this list without source or context, I definitely would have called this out as an NME list. They're soooooo predictable.

That being said, I like this list. Drove me to Spotify to listen to some old favorites (or favourites, given the source).
posted by brand-gnu at 1:28 PM on May 24, 2012

louie, louie, louie, lou-i, the bird's the word and do you know why? you gotta beat it with a stick. you gotta beat it 'til it's thick. you gotta live until you're dead. you gotta rock 'til you see red. now do you understand? do you understand? i'm a garbageman. - The Cramps.

No, really. The lyrics fit the music, the music is in perfect sleaze with the lyrics, and the band delivers on the whole package which makes it a promise kept - "now get outta your mind and get outta my way."
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying.
Brother, brother, brother, there's far too many of you dying.
You know we've got to find a way to bring some lovin' here today, yeah!

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there.

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you. Well, they'll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don't you let them.

Sometimes I'm right then I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my songs
A butcher, a banker, a drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I'm in
I am everyday people

There is a blue one who can't accept
The green one for living with
A black ones tryin' to be a skinny one
Different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby

Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time
There's something wrong here, there can be no denying
One of us is changing, or maybe we've stopped trying

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it

It used to be so easy living here with you
You were light and breezy and I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it

There'll be good times again for me and you
But we just can't stay together, don't you feel it too
Still I'm glad for what we had, and how I once loved you

But it's too late, baby, it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
posted by 2manyusernames at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

No Joni Mitchell? Seriously?

The list is invalid and shall be removed from the Interwebs until it is fixed.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:30 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ditto for Kevin Gilbert.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2012

Out of my mind on Saturday night
1970, rollin' inside
Radio burnin', up above
Beautiful baby, be my love...
posted by AJaffe at 1:32 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I forgot to leave the youtube link so I'm leaving it here because THE CRAMPS.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:32 PM on May 24, 2012

Just before our love got lost you said
"I am as constant as a northern star"
And I said "Constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar"

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
oh I would still be on my feet
posted by shakespeherian at 1:33 PM on May 24, 2012 [10 favorites]

My long baby's got Egyptian eyes
And a wicked look beyond compare

posted by chavenet at 1:34 PM on May 24, 2012

Zou bisou bisou
Zou bisou bisou
Mon Dieu qu'ils sont doux
Zou bisou bisou
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:38 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Outside another yellow moon
Has punched a hole in the night-time mist
I climb through the window and down to the street
I'm shining like a new dime
The downtown trains are full with all of those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds
Well you wave your hand and they scatter like crows
They have nothing that will ever capture your heart
They're just thorns without the rose
Be careful of them in the dark

posted by timetoevolve at 1:48 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, it is amusing that the #1 song, Springsteen's beautiful "Thunder Road", is also the one the Boss says contains the lyric he's most embarrassed by, in retrospect: "Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk" (followed by jingly guitar minisolo)
posted by chavenet at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2012

What I like about the published NME list is how short the excerpts are. It's less about perfect lyrics than perfect phrases. Which is how I tend to remember song lyrics. I doubt (short of a few things I sang in kindergarten) that I could, off the cuff, sing a single song in its entirety. But I have all these pieces ...

or do you ever get the feeling that story's too damned real
and in the present tense?

posted by philip-random at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2012

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
posted by lungtaworld at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2012

Bad black and white men
Standing in their pigpen
Selling guns to simpletons
To shoot 'em in the abdomen
And she's not interested in that
And she's not interested in that!
posted by jetsetsc at 1:56 PM on May 24, 2012

Where the eagle glides ascending
There's an ancient river bending
Down the timeless gorge of changes
Where sleeplessness awaits
I searched out my companions,
Who were lost in crystal canyons
When the aimless blade of science
Slashed the pearly gates.
posted by stargell at 1:56 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I never know what you'll find when you open up your letter box tomorrow
'Cause the little bird never tells me anything I wanna know; she's my best friend; she's a sparrow
And I'll never never know what you never never never wanna know when you know what you are, oh
posted by owtytrof at 2:10 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Mississippi Delta
is shining like a National guitar.
I am following the river down the highway through the cradle
of the Civil War.

Never been lonely,
Never been lied to,
Never had to shuffle in fear,
Nothing denied to.
Born at the instant,
Churchbells chime,
Whole world whispering,
Born at the right time.

A family of musicians took shelter for the night,
in the little harbour church of St. Cecelia.
Two guitars, black tie bass, drum, tambourine,
The rows of jericho and bougainvillea.

Tell me why,
Why won't you love me for who I am where I am.
He said 'cause that's not the way the world is baby.
This is how I love you, baby.
This is how I love you, baby.
posted by BeeDo at 2:14 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

the sun is up, the sky is blue,
it's beautiful, and so are you
posted by Lucinda at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2012

woo hoo
woo hoo
woo hoo
wooooooo hoooooo

-- Blur
posted by mightygodking at 2:26 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Where the vulture glides descending
On an asphalt highway bending
Through libraries and museums
Galaxies and stars
Down the windy halls of friendship
To the rose clipped by the bullwhip
The motel of lost companions
Waits with heated pool and bar
posted by quiet coyote at 2:27 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The wind is ruthless, the trees shake angry fingers at the sky
The people hunch their shoulders, hold their collars over their ears and run by
It's a cold rain, it's a hard rain, like the kind you find in songs
I guess that makes me the jerk with the heartache
Here to sing to you about how I been done wrong

I am sitting, watching out the window of the coffee shop
And I am waiting, waiting, waiting for it to let up
I am rocking like a cradle, warming my hands with the cup in between
I am leaning over the table, holding my face over the steam

And before it gets so cold that the rain turns to snow
There's just a couple things I'd like to know, ohhh

Like: how could you do nothing, and say "I am doing my best"?
How could you take almost everything - and then come back for the rest?
How could you beg me to stay, reach out your hands and plead
And then pack up your eyes and run away, as soon as I agreed?
posted by flex at 2:27 PM on May 24, 2012

I don't pretend to know what you want / But I offer love..
posted by kariebookish at 2:32 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

His palms are sweaty
Knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already
Mom's spaghetti
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:32 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't know much about you, not more than a word or two can say
But anything I learned about you, I learned through the pit of my stomach anyway
posted by mightygodking at 2:38 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I never thought this could happen
But somehow the feeling's gone
You got sick of the patterns
And I got lost in this song
posted by mightygodking at 2:40 PM on May 24, 2012

Your skin is like water
On a burning beach
And it brings me relief
posted by jimmythefish at 2:51 PM on May 24, 2012

Rode in on a Greyhound,
I'll be walking out if I go...
posted by AJaffe at 2:52 PM on May 24, 2012

Numbers 1-30 should have been from the Pogues. But I guess Shane MacGowan is more of a poet than a lyricist.
posted by batou_ at 3:04 PM on May 24, 2012

And she goes on curating your domestic museum
She disappears in her loyalty
She is a dress wearing a face in the doorway
Opening her arms out to you
posted by vaghjar at 3:09 PM on May 24, 2012

Where the Lords face is like an all night cafe
There's a woman who'll wait on what you have to say
And your dreams are like marbles in the pocket of a little boy
And they whisper when you hold them, like a beautiful girl
Beautiful girl

Rickie Lee Jones -- Deep Space
posted by venbear3 at 3:11 PM on May 24, 2012

Tell me how are you coping
Now that it's time to leave
How can you burn more
You've been burning for years
They assumed when you fled
You were good as dead
Was their indifference crueler
Than your nothing to eat
posted by SageLeVoid at 3:31 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

There was four Italian sausages cooking
On the outdoor grill
And man oh man... they was a sizzlin'
posted by jimmythefish at 3:34 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Trust the NME to include Foals (the apotheosis of the arc of angular skinny-jeans indie that started with Interpol, then went via Franz Ferdinand and The Killers). You can tell how tight their trousers are by the urgently yelped delivery of the vocals.
posted by acb at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2012

The Most Hard Rock Lyric of All Time:

Lock up your daughter
Lock up your wife
Lock up your back door and run for your life
posted by rahnefan at 3:47 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am an old woman
named after my mother
my old man is another
child that's grown old
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hey, I just met you,
and this is crazy,
but here's my number,
so call me, maybe?
posted by Avenger50 at 4:40 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

On a slight tangent, I've been listening a lot to the new album by an Australian band named Aleks and the Ramps, whose lyrics are is a goldmine of dry, laconic wit and virtuoso wordplay, like “meanwhile back on the Serengeti, my shirt's still smelling all cigarettey” and “I got old, I had some kids and let them do anything but crystal meth, every sleep is like a mini death, a sockpuppet production of Macbeth”. The musical arrangements are not half bad either.
posted by acb at 4:40 PM on May 24, 2012

don't come looking to find me
unless you really know your way around thin air
let the shadows of the branches in the wind
serve as your memory of me
see 'em dancing there , see 'em dancing there
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 PM on May 24, 2012

no smokey?

Now if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that's quite a different subject
But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I'm sad, oh I'm sadder than sad
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad
Like a clown I pretend to be glad

Now there's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown, when there's no one around
Uh hum, oh yeah baby

Now if I appear to be carefree
It's only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don't let my show convince you
That I've been happy since you
Decided to go, oh I need you so
I'm hurt and I want you to know
But for others I put on a show, ooh yeah

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around, oh yeah, baby baby
Now if there's a smile on my face
Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don't let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don't care
When really I'm sad…I’m hurting so bad……


and laura nyro ...

Oo la, la, la, oo la, la, la, la.
Emily and her love to be, carved in a heart on a berry tree.
But it's only a little farewell love spell, time to design a woman.
Touch me, oh wake me, Emily you ornament the earth for me.

Emily, you're the natural snow, the unstudied sea, you're a cameo.
And I swear you were born a weavers lover, born for the loom's desire.
Move me, oh sway me. Emily, you ornament the earth for me.

Emmie, your Momma's been calling you.
Who stole Mama's heart and cuddled in her garden?
Darling Emmie, la, la, la, oo la, la la.
You're my friend and I loved you, Emily, Emily, Emily, Emily.

She got the way to move me, Emmie. She got the way to move me, yeah.
She got the way to move me, Emmie. She got the way to move me, get up and move me...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 PM on May 24, 2012

No Elbow? Nobody? Man.

Let's just pretend I quoted the entirety of The Bones Of You here, a song that is and will always be my downfall.
posted by Sokka shot first at 4:53 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

and otis -

Sittin' in the morning sun
I'll be sittin' when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch them roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay
Cuz I've had nothing to live for
And look like nothing's gonna come my way

So, I'm just gon' sit on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Looks like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, listen

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone, listen
Two thousand miles I roam
Just to make this dock my home, now

I'm just gon' sit at the dock of a bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
Sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2012

*resists mightily the urge to print lyrics to mcarthur park*
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 PM on May 24, 2012

someone left the fucking cake out in the rain already. Get over it.
posted by philip-random at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2012

Wiggle wiggle wiggle.
posted by maryr at 5:21 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

For contrast:

"When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
Remember me, remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate."
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:23 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why don't you ever want to play?
I'm tired of this piece of string
You sleep as much as I do now
And you don't eat much of anything
I don't know who you're talking to
I made a search through every room
But all I found was dust that moved
In shadows of the afternoon

And listen, about those bitter songs you sing?
They're not helping anything
They won't make you strong

So, we should open up the house
Invite the tabby two doors down
You could ask your sister
If she doesn't bring her basset hound
Ask the things you shouldn't miss:
Tape-hiss and the Modern Man
The Cold War and card catalogues
To come and join us if they can
For girly drinks and parlor games
We'll pass around the easy lie
Of absolutely no regrets
And later maybe you could try
To let your losses dangle off
The sharp edge of a century
And talk about the weather, or
How the weather used to be

And I'll cater with all the birds that I can kill
Let their tiny feathers fill disappointment
Lie down; lick the sorrow from your skin
Scratch the terror and begin
To believe you're strong

All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV
And frankly that thing doesn't really interest me
I swear I'm going to bite you hard
And taste your tinny blood
If you don't stop the self-defeating lies
You've been repeating since the day you brought me home

I know you're strong

[Plea From a Cat Named Virtute] Always makes me cry.
posted by byanyothername at 5:34 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am pleased Nick Cave made the list (and a bit grumpy about some of the company he's keeping on it), so here's an Antipodean auxillary for the list.

Paul Kelly belongs on anyone's list of beautiful songs, pretty much pick any song he's ever done.


Deeper Water
You Broke a Beautiful Thing
How to Make Gravy

Or we could add to the list Bye Bye Pride by the Go Betweens.

And the Lucksmiths!
posted by pymsical at 6:01 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Harumph. It's as if they've never even heard Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Crisco Party."
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:16 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Never to part since the day we met
Out on Interstate 91
I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck
When we kissed at the overpass
I was sailing along with the people
Driving themselves to distraction inside me
Then came a knock on the door which was odd
And the picture abruptly changed
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:38 PM on May 24, 2012

byanyothername, the sequel annihilates me.
posted by valrus at 6:52 PM on May 24, 2012

It's as if they've never even heard Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Crisco Party."

hey, they CAN now!!
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh it don't rain anymore, I go outdoors
Where it's fun to be
And I know you love me
I know you do
posted by hugandpint at 7:11 PM on May 24, 2012

There are loves that you wear in a ring on your hand
in a frame on the living room shelf.

There are some that you sing to the wide open plain
there are some that you keep to yourself.
posted by tzikeh at 7:16 PM on May 24, 2012

There must be a thousand things you would die for
I can hardly think of two
posted by pjenks at 7:17 PM on May 24, 2012

My neck, my back
Lick my p___y and my crack
posted by hugandpint at 7:19 PM on May 24, 2012

in each other's shadows we grew less and less tall
and eventually our theories couldn't explain it all
and I'm recording our history now on the bedroom wall
and when we leave the landlord will come
and paint over it all

you are a china shop
and I am a bull
you are really good food
and I am full
I guess everything is timing
I guess everything's been said
so I am coming home with an empty head

Ani Difranco = awesome lyrics
posted by Ghidorah at 7:20 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's love,
This time it's love, my foolish heart.
posted by No-sword at 7:22 PM on May 24, 2012

Behind the curtain
There may be sun
One thing's for certain
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in hell
God bless this cheap hotel
posted by kneecapped at 8:18 PM on May 24, 2012

Oh, man. For at least two of these they didn't even pick the best lyrics from the same SONG.

For Elliott Smith, the right quote from "Between the Bars" isn't the one they picked, it's

"People you've been before
That you don't want around anymore
They push and shove and won't bend to your will,
I'll keep them still"

And for Joy Division, they equally fouled up the selection from Transmission. The right quote from that song (though I would've picked a few lines from New Dawn Fades, myself) is this one:

"I could call out when the going gets tough.
The things that we've learned are no longer enough.
No language, just sound, that's all we need know,
To synchronise love to the beat of the show.
And we could dance."

Of course, I guess neither of these are the stererotypically "dark" lines from the songs, but a slight peek into the real meanings of the songs show that for both Between the Bars and Transmission, they're the real deep core of the hopeless helplessness in the first and the bare emotional sense of abandon in the second.
posted by chimaera at 8:21 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, I love you a lot
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart
And what difference does it make
I still love you a lot
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart
And on your breast I gently lay
All my head in your arms
Do you love me from the top of your heart
I tried my best, I tried in vain
Do you love me a lot
Do you love from the top of your heart
posted by persephone's rant at 8:22 PM on May 24, 2012

The short and sweet…

I'm the dog that ate
your birthday cake…
It's a wonderful life.


Or, if we are going to really wax poetic and poignantly beautiful:

When we touch the world
And it falls away
When we feel like we're born
Just to fall apart

And our mother lies in state
And the broken pitcher glistens
And the snow is at the window
Making neither sign nor symbol
And the earth covers earth
And the mud lies in pools

Where the sand-dunes stretch unbroken
And the dry wind bends and sighs
And the geese are running harmless
And our desires are running wild
When we're looking at the smoke
That's rising from the incense
Neither coming here nor going
Neither heaven here nor hell
Neither borning here nor birthing
Neither dying here nor death

And we're wrapped inside our troubles
And we're wrapped inside our pain
And wracked with fires with longing
And our eyes are blind with night
With our fingers clutching coins
And our thoughts burning with 'I'
And our eyes cannot be sated
With the world and it's nightmares
With the world and it's dreams
Though later they'll be filled
With a small handful of dust
And the gods appear on altars
And we recognise their face
It's a face that we have carved there
And it's full of fear and longing
And promises and threats
But they neither stoop to conquer
Nor do they stoop to praise
And the mines are void of diamonds
That we carry in our rags

And all the world seems
A sadness song
All the world seems
A sad sadness song

—Current 93
posted by Moody834 at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

My prediction is that y'all are gonna hate
On the style we create, straight 2008
But I know that you really can't wait
Because people always askin' me
When's the release date?
Well maybe, baby, you could wait and see
Until then all these Pavarattis followin' me
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 8:52 PM on May 24, 2012

Silver foxes lookin for romance
In their chain-smoke Kansas flashdance ass-pants
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2012

ass n titties
ass ass titties titties ass n titties
posted by elizardbits at 9:20 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by
I say to myself you're such a lucky guy,
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true
out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me.
But it was Just my imagination,
once again runnin' away with me.
It was just my imagination runnin' away


A child is born, with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smiling on you, but he's frowning too
Because only God knows, what you go through
You grow in the ghetto, living second rate
And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate
The place, that you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alley way
You'll admire all the number book takers
Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpockets, peddlers and even pan-handlers
You say I'm cool, I'm no fool
But then you wind up dropping out of high school
Now you're unemployed, all null 'n void
Walking 'round like you're pretty boy floyd
Turned stickup kid, look what you done did
Got send up for a eight year bid
Now your manhood is took and you're a may tag
Spend the next two years as an undercover fag
Being used and abused and served like hell
Till one day you was found hung dead in a cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young
posted by pianomover at 12:56 AM on May 25, 2012

Ima let you finish, NME, but Metafilter has the best Best Lyrics list of all time. Of all time!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:05 AM on May 25, 2012

Her interest fades like breath on a mirror.

A heart that's full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won't heal

And in my best shoes I started falling forward down the street
I stopped at a church and jostled through the crowd
And love followed just behind me, panting at my feet
As the steeple tore the stomach from a lonely little cloud
posted by Decani at 5:48 AM on May 25, 2012

I walked today on the cold grey shore
where I watched when I was much younger
while they built the dunes upon the sand
for the dead from the Great Hunger
for the dead from the Great Hunger.

Although I was a doctor's son
I gazed in fear and wonder
as they perished from the raging plague
that came in from the Great Hunger
that came in from the Great Hunger.

When I watched at the age of four
in Eighteen Forty Seven
the mounds they built upon the shore.
They seemed to point to heaven
they seemed to point to heaven.

But the wind and the rain they have worked away.
Now the dunes are uneven
and the children kick the sand around
and the bones they are revealed then
and the bones they are revealed then.

My brothers and sisters died.
My mother only four and twenty
and I alone survived to see
the potatoes grow in plenty
the potatoes grow in plenty.

They stole our grain as we died in pain
to put upon their tables.
The dying covered the dead with sand
and danced while they were able
and danced while they were able.

While the fiddler played we drank poitin
and ate the last of the berries.
Then knelt and said the rosary
round the mounds of dead we'd buried
round the mounds of dead we'd buried.

I saw dark shadows rise up from the sand
and dance all around the dunes
and they danced the rattling dance of the dead
to a set of mournful tunes
to a set of mournful tunes.
A crack of lightening split the sky.
The rain on the dunes it poured.
I left them lying where I shot them down
the bailiff and the landlord.
Then I went for a drink in Westport.

I walked today on the cold grey shore
where I watched when I was much younger
while they built the dunes upon the sand
for the dead from the Great Hunger
for the dead from the Great Hunger.

The Dunes, Shane Macgowan
posted by Summer at 5:54 AM on May 25, 2012

My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hon.

and the tear jerker...

It's time for the perculator

posted by stormpooper at 6:18 AM on May 25, 2012

I am repeating myself but these lyrics kill me every time I think of them -

And when I see you, you just turn around and walk away like we never met
Oh, we used to be so brave!
I dreamt the world stopped turning as we climbed the hill
I dreamt impossible dreams that we were lovers still
- Billy Bragg

I like these too -

I should be crying but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
Of all the things I should have said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things I should have given but I didn't
Oh, darling make it go... make it go away.
- Kate Bush
posted by h00py at 6:23 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Needs more Weakerthans.
posted by giraffe at 7:42 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

plane - 雨:

追いかけ なぞった

うつむいて 君の名を呟いていた

WEAVER - ネバーランド:


NICO Touches the Walls - かけら~総べての想いたちへ~:



It's like a supernova next to the door
posted by emmling at 8:04 AM on May 25, 2012

Underspent, too young too.
I stumbled onto a picture of you
You wild bitter tale
All cherry oak and tears, as the branches looked in
Summer is dying
We are too, dear. Turn out the lights
And let that silent light in.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:43 AM on May 25, 2012

Turn out the lights Turn back the drapes
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:45 AM on May 25, 2012

No one is angry, just afraid
All interventions are full of love
All are free

[No One is Angry, Just Afraid]
posted by byanyothername at 9:30 AM on May 25, 2012

God bless the great indoors.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:49 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Baby let's go out tonight
It will all turn out all right I'm sure
Don't want to drink at home again tonight
So let's go out
Let's go out tonight
It's getting dark earlier now
But where you are it's just getting light
Where you are it will just be getting light

the triffids - tender is the night (the long fidelity)

posted by elmono at 11:42 AM on May 25, 2012

Thunderous sparks from the dark of the stadium
The music and medicine you needed for comforting
posted by quiet coyote at 1:25 PM on May 25, 2012

I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender
posted by wallstreet1929 at 2:02 PM on May 25, 2012

Elliott Smith -- Waltz #1

Every time the day
Darkens down and goes away
Pictures open in my head
Of me and you, silent and cliché
All the things we did and didn't say
Covered by what we did and didn't do
Going through every out I used to
Cop to make the repetition stop
What was I supposed to say?
Now I never leave my zone
We're both alone, I'm going home
I wish I'd never seen your face

posted by timsneezed at 4:07 PM on May 25, 2012

Stephanie Says

Stephanie says
that she wants to know
Why she's given half her life
to people she hates now

Stephanie says
when answering the phone
What country shall I say is calling
from across the world

But she's not afraid to die
the people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
'Cause it's all in her mind
it's all in her mind

Stephanie says
that she wants to know
Why it is though she's the door
she can't leave the room

Stephanie says
but doesn't hang up the phone
What sea shell say is calling
from across the world

But she's not afraid to die
the people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
'Cause it's all in her mind
it's all in her mind

They're asking is it good or bad
It's such an icy feeling

It's so cold in Alaska
it's so cold in Alaska
It's so cold in Alaska

posted by timsneezed at 4:12 PM on May 25, 2012

"True Faith" -- New Order

I feel so extraordinary
Something's got a hold on me
I get this feeling I'm in motion
A sudden sense of liberty
I don't care 'cause I'm not there
And I don't care if I'm here tomorrow
Again and again I've taken too much
Of the things that cost you too much
I used to think that the day would never come
I'd see delight in the shade of the morning sun
My morning sun is the drug that brings me near
To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear
I used to think that the day would never come
That my life would depend on the morning sun...

posted by timsneezed at 4:14 PM on May 25, 2012

There was a Waltz #1? Huh.
posted by maryr at 8:29 PM on May 25, 2012

You used to dream yourself away each night
To places that you'd never been
On wings made of wishes
That you whispered to yourself
Back when every night the moon and you
Would sweep away to places
That you knew
Where you would never get the blues

Well now, whiskey gives you wings
To carry
Each one of your dreams
And the moon does not belong to you
But I believe
That your heart keeps young dreams
Well, I've been told
To keep from ever growing old
And a heart that has been broken
Will be stronger when it mends

Don't let the blues stop you singing
Darling, you've only got a broken wing
Hey, you just hang on to my rainbow
Hang on to my rainbow
Hang on to my rainbow sleeves
posted by bigbigdog at 10:20 PM on May 25, 2012

I drive alone, home from work
And I always think of her
Late at night I call her
But I never say a word
And I can see her squeeze the phone between her chin and shoulder
And I can almost smell her breath faint with a sweet scent of decay
She serves him mashed potatoes
And she serves him peppered steak, with corn
Pulls her dress up over her head
Lets it fall to the floor
And does she ever whisper in his ear all her favorite fruit
And all the most exotic places they are cultivated
posted by bigbigdog at 10:22 PM on May 25, 2012

Bruce Cockburn:

Nothing worth having comes without some kind of price
Gotta kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight

posted by threeants at 2:13 PM on May 26, 2012

I think i spent the dog food money
But he'll love me just the same
If you really love me baby
Help me scrape the mucus off my brain
posted by Brak at 3:37 PM on May 28, 2012

hm, as far as turns of phrase go and not lyrics wholesale (like, say "Heroin")...

the good:
I'll make you lick my injuries

How young are you/How old am I/Let's count the rings/around my eyes

he used to be a real scene-stealer, a ravenous babyeater

he's only ever comfortable in his car/and he hates driving

I am the passenger/I stay under glass/I look through my window so bright/I see the stars come out tonight/I see the bright and hollow sky/over the city's ripped backside/and everything looks good tonight/and everything was made for you and me/all of it was made for you and me/so let's take a ride and see what's mine

now color me depressed/all my nerves got undressed

I didn't know what a brute I was/I dipped my cigarette and rode the bus

it looks a lot like engine oil and tastes like being poor and small/and popsicles in summer

feel the stick of legs leaving vinyl/the sweat of closeness, the waves of nausea

I am so angry/I am so at ease/I feel just like some great big disease

and I have read the right book/to interpret your look/you were knocking me down with the palm of your eye

you change all the lead sleeping in my head to gold

she said, there's a lot of things I'd like to do, there's a lot of things I'd like to do/and boy, one of them's not you

oh you've got the darkest eyes

I have never seen a man/in such bad shape as when you are through with him/you say it is to find who won't change you/I am that man

the sky was full with a gray winter light/and each freezing degree made its target that night/the pulse of the snow was the pulse of diamonds/the pulse of the snow was the pulse of twilight/and you wear it in your hair like a constellation/and we both swear by the size of that moon/that the sky will sing tonight

darling you are one of the bad women...

take out the garbage on Tuesday nights/seems like the small things are the only things I'll fight/see monkey, do monkey, story of my life/send three bucks to a comic book, get a house, car and wife

once you've left a a lonely rage on its own, it grows/and dynamite stuffed in a mailbox doesn't smoke until it blows

I clean the house, I put all your books in an order/I make up a colorful border/I clean my mouth/'cause froth comes out/send it up on fire, death before dawn

he belongs to someone else/I know how she spells her name

you let go of my hand, and acted like we'd never touched/like some harbor a ship never brushed

What did you get for your dishes and sweat? Oh, Missouri...

3 inches above the floor/man in a box wants to burn my soul/and I'm tired

underneath the Star of David/a hundred years behind my eyes/and with my half of the ransom/I bought some sweet, sweet, sweet sunflowers/and gave them to the night

oh the Cascades, the Cascades/where the rivers are like moving lakes/oh the Cascades, oh the Cascades/where it's dark and wet/and you can disappear without a trace

so I picked her up at St. Mary's/she was skinnier than before

when you hit me, I fell down laughing/when you kissed me, I cried/when you killed me, I was happy/when you left me, I died

we ate Soda, the embassy cat/poor Soda's coda, no more de Capo, she's decapitated/running 'round the room half baked, the other half is bacon...but Soda had a heart of gold/the ambassador's wife had the liver/"please deliver us from evil" she cried

if I were a photographer/picture-taking, beautiful people/I guess I'd make a mistake 'cause I'd probably take a picture of you

all the things that people do in winter/they all melt down in summer/things a mirror should say/on a very hot day/been crying in my eyes/vacation, vacation, vacation

they all come and peep through a hole in the wall/just watch his heart undressing

you held me so fucking tight/I need somebody strong tonight

grace, did you desert me/just 'cause I's flirting with the past?

too many people know your first name/I'm just one, and after a while I can't bring myself to say it

and when it lands/will my eyes be closed or open?
(the lyrics to Sugarcubes' "Birthday" are also pretty vivid and wonderful; they always remind me of Pippi Longstocking somehow)

will you still love me in December/I could sleep many days and it wouldn't make a difference without you

she summered every winter through a calendar from paradise/'I was here' she scribbled in a restroom to prove she was alive

contemplating suicide or a graduate degree

I was alright, sitting stoned like a jewel-eyed baby

five miles high/falling down/in a bloody mary

throat open to the cut of winter/if only just to feel alive

somebody said you got it together/as if I'd never been alive/weak fireworks eclipsed in the trauma/another year does suicide

I'd shake from your spell if it weren't for my drinking/the wind bites more bitter with each light of morning

Tori Amos is incredibly self-indulgent when it comes to lyrics, but it's exactly that sort of process that lets some real gems fall through. Bobby's collecting bees and hammers/he used one on me/Cold War with little boys/get in with a bubblegum trade

And it's cheating/miscredit really, because it's an openfaced quote from Desert Hearts, but she reached in and placed a string of lights/around this heart of mine

That part in "Ex Factor", the you said you'd die for me/why won't you live for me is great in a plainspoken-but-dead-on way.

I also love S PRCSS's pomo lyrics on MNML--shout outs to Debord, Six Finger Satellite, and 90-minute mix tapes!--but it's hard to take them apart like this.

And like Joe Pernice but different somehow, Kristin Hersh is a master at linked evocations with turns of phrase (similar to the wizardry of This Heat at times).

you're so tall/it's like I climb a waterfall

between the tall buildings are snow-coated alleys/between us is nothing but grace

you're one in a million, you're one in two

you can't let any more skin show/you can't let anything in your eyes show, no no no

the bad:
This weekend I was at an amusement park (long story) that seemed to only play the same three songs, including some newish "romantic" Train song with a line that evokes venereal disease (my love for you went viral) while attempting to sound hip and with it. Hilarious. And you gotta love the simulacra-y goodness of a pop song that goes, with a straight face, my love for you is like a love song, baby and whose only other lyrics appear to be beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep.

On the ride home, I was also reminded of many Misfits gems. Come back little raven/and bite my face...I'm on the corner, slashed my heart for fun/I'm not alive for anyone. Just brilliant!

There's also always "Mmmbop" and peaches come from a can...

And it's not on par with the rest or anything, but as radio pop music goes I gotta say I was impressed with Gaga's Russian roulette is not the same without a gun/and baby when it's love if it's not rough it isn't fun. I also always enjoyed Janet Jackson's coyly smutty I'm not the kind of girl who likes to be alone.
posted by ifjuly at 4:03 PM on May 28, 2012

a gun in the closet, clean snow in my bed/the paths in the forest/are tainted bright red

my hips shape a cradle/my heart is full of I'm dying to feel your weight on me

lay me down in the summer breeze/where young girls find new lovers/wash my face with a white chemise/leave your coat as a cover

here I'm allowed everything all of the time

oh the heat is so great/it plays tricks with the eye/turns the road into water/and water to sky

I squint at the muscular motel light and say hey, good morning/as she jumps her keys jingle and she leaves as quickly as she came in/and I roll over and taste the pillow with my grin

she is selfish, she is kind/no one can say 'she is mine'

come on liquor, make it quick/kill the action for me, kill the action for me now/think of nothing, that's the trick/kill the action for me, kill the action for me now

and love will protect you to the edge of the wood/and a monster will get you/and love does no good

strangled by the great love in your heart

his little heart, it beats so fast/and I'm ashamed of running away

oh I dream a highway back to you, love/a winding ribbon with a band of gold

John, he's kicking out the footlights/the Grand Ole Opry's got a brand new band/Lord, let me die with a hammer in my hand

I think I'll move down to Memphis and thank the hatchet man who forked my tongue

my head is empty/my toes are warm/I am safe from harm

she stands next to the cigarette machine/'this device has got it made' she thinks/it has a cast iron stomach/but a camel for a heart

The Cure's "Plainsong" also comes to mind.

And given context the countup at the end of Le Tigre's "Bang! Bang!" is one of my favorite lyrical moments.
posted by ifjuly at 4:24 PM on May 28, 2012

A smile on a dolphin is a built-in feature.

They swim around in schools, but everyone's a teacher.

Some day, Mr. Dolphin, I know I'm going to meet ya.

[just one lyrical atrocity of RHCP.]
posted by Mid at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

the face forgives the mirror
the worm forgives the plow
the question begs the answer
can you forgive me somehow

posted by ifjuly at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2012

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