Songs with powerful lyrics

Most all songs have some kind of message to them, but what are some of your favorite songs that have very powerful/meaningful lyrics?

My vote goes to “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” by Doug Supernaw. It talks about how divorce affects kids and their parents. Part of it goes:

God bless the little hearts, they’re the ones who really pay
When Mom and Dad can’t work things out and go their seperate ways.
In a way I’m glad there’s someone there to fill the empty space
Tears of understanding streak down a dirty face.

He said “I don’t call him Daddy, but he takes care of things.
When you pick me up on Friday are you gonna bring me anything?
Oh, don’t worry Dad, you know it don’t matter what we do.
I don’t call him Daddy, he could never be like you.”

On a very similar note, “Styrofoam Plates” by Death Cab For Cutie includes these words about a deadbeat dad:

You’re a disgrace to the concept of family
The priest won’t divulge that fact in his homily
I’ll stand up and scream if the mourning remain quiet
You can deck out a lie in a suit but i won’t buy it
I won’t join in the procession thats speaking their piece
Using five dollar words while praising his integrity
Just cause he’s gone it doesn’t change the fact:
He was a bastard in life thus a bastard in death.

“Last Good Sleep” by Company Flow is an extremely vivid recount of an abusive stepfather. It’s very powerful.

The ignorance was blissfulness, in recollection
A gift of innocent time from a merciful deception
Awoke to hazy landscapes to find my world defied the laws my mind mandates
Patching jugulars with Band-aids
Paternal unit well above my bed
Coherent only barely through the shock of what her broken face told me
“You should have known what happened”
I was young and oblivous
“He almost killed your mom”
If I knew I could have done something
“You’ll never see him again”
Yeah but I see him every night
And cover my ears in tears as he beats his fucking wife

“Billy Austin” by Steve Earle.

XTC’s “Books are Burning”:

“Books are burning
In the still air
And you know where they burn books
People are next”

Tool’s Prison Sex. Creepy, depressing and powerful.

So many songs, too many to name. I’ll offer up one that immediately takes me back to my childhood. Makes me cry almost everytime I hear it. One of my favorite modern rock/pop songs:

Everclear- Wonderful

I’d go for Mz Dynamite’s It Takes More

"Now who gives a damn
About the ice on your hand
If it’s not too complex
Tell me how many Africans died
For the bagettes on your Rolex
So what you pushing a nice car
Don’t you know there’s no such thing as superstars
We leave this world alone
So who gives a about the things you own

Certainly not me
Certainly not me
'Cos baby personally
I like to be challenged mentally
Content’s insignificant
And it don’t help to pay my rent
It’s pure negativity
That you impose on me"

“Let Us Love in Peace” from ** The Beautiful Game ** by ALW and Ben Elton:

People need love, that’s what we live for.
Now is the time; it’s not too late.
We have to love, try to forgive more.
No child was ever born to hate.
I will fight for peace with all my might. That’s what’s right.

Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt did not strike me as particularly powerful. But when Johnny Cash sings it… Damn!

Millworker by James Taylor:

Bob Dylan - Masters of War.
Seems somehow appropriate at the moment.

Julian Lennon’s “Saltwater”. I also believe his dad was a songwriter of some sort…

“We light the deepest ocean
Send photographs of Mars
We’re so enchanted my how clever we are
Why should one baby feel so hungry she cries
Saltwater wells in my eyes”

I just wanted to agree with you Fingolfin - this song has me welling up every time I hear it! The line above is the one that sets me off the most - it reminds me so much of when I was 11 years old, and my parents were divorcing.

I went through a phase of listening to it a lot, but now I have children I find it upsets me even more.

Yep. War Pigs as well.

Yeah, um, War Pigs by Black Sabbath.

I don’t know what I thought I was quoting. hehe.

That’s a good one… Dylan has a lot of them. Percy’s Song always gets me (but 99 years, he just don’t deserve, turn, turn to the rain and the wind).

Nick Cave also has some powerful songs, like The Mercy Seat.

[]{And Are You the One} I’ve been waiting for?

Whoah for funky coding, don’t know what’s up with that.

Johnny L.A… I agree on “Hurt”, the video is even more jarring when you see the state he’s in.

If you want to talk powerful lyrics on the theme of war, how about the master? (Roger Waters, if you didn’t know:))

“Forward they cried from the rear
and the front ranks died
The generals sat, and the lines on the map
Moved side to side.”

With all the pro-war sentiment disguised as “support our troops”, it’s a little on the nose don’t you think?

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I’m too scared to see the lyrics to post a link to them. Jeff Buckley’s cover of it is frighteningly beautiful.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black body swinging in the Southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South/The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth/Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh/And the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck/For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck/For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop/Here is a strange and bitter crop."
gives me chills…