Certain songs are about unusual topics. R.E.M.'s Stand is about finding direction, such as north, or west.* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKKqLl_ZEEY
And Talking Heads’ Stay Up Late is about waking up a baby to make him stay up all night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imWnuirIL8o
Both of these songs were hits when they came out.
I’m wondering what other songs there are that feature similarly unusual topics. They don’t have to be a hit, but they should have been familiar to several thousand people in your area, for more than just a few days.
Please note that I am not asking about the music videos, but rather the topic of the lyrics.
Extra appreciation to those who can find links to the songs they mention!
And thank you in advance!
*I am aware that *Stand *can also be interpreted as being about finding direction in life, but it is more explicitly about the directions of the map.
“Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States of America. It’s about peaches.
The Gift and Lady Godiva’s Operation (both Velvet Underground of course) spring to mind.
…Which are about…?
Thank you for these replies so far.
I’d like to add that songs by comedians or comic singers should not be allowed; “Weird Al” Yankovic has several songs with unusual topics (and could make for a long thread himself); comedians in general often make songs with unusual topics. However, I am more interested in finding songs by artists who are *not *primarily comedians.
Thanks again – interesting list so far!
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, about a serial killer.
“Pinball Wizard”, about a deaf, dumb and blind pinball champion.
“Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown”, about the daughter of a wealthy sealing wax manufacturer.
“I am the Walrus”, about, um, someone who is a walrus?
The Gift is about a guy who sends himself in the mail to his girlfriend and is subsequently stabbed by her friend when she attempts to open said package.
Lady Godiva’s Operation is about, umm, Lady Godiva for the first half, and then segues into a description of a disastrous surgical procedure.
Both are novel in terms of content and form. The Gift has the lyrics being spoken by John Cale to musical accompaniment by the band. Lady Godiva’s Operation is fairly traditional (by Velvet Underground standards) and then changes to a song / shouting match between Cale and Reed.
Sorry for not explaining that!
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by The Carpenters (originally by Klaatu) is…what it says.
Atlantis by Donovan is … about Atlantis
Thanks for getting back with that.
Tom Waits, What’s He Building In There? A song wondering about what’s going on behind some dude’s closed door.
“Nature’s Way” by Spirit is about death and dying.
“Boris the Spider” by the Who
“Knight In Rusty Armour” by Peter and Gordon. Knight in, well, rusty armour, rescues damsel, they get married and have twins (they came in tins) due to his chain mail pants had a missing link!
I just recalled Church, by Lyle Lovett, which is about people getting hungry during the preacher’s sermon which has been going on for much too long. Fun stuff, complete with a gospel choir.
Given the specifications in the OP, a few of the weirdest hits from the Movida Madrileña, the musical scene of Madrid in the '80s:
Toreros Muertos, “mi agüita amarilla” (Dead Bullfighters, “my yellow water” - at first listen about urine, but it actually describes the whole water cycle).
I can’t find who sang the original, “ponga un misil en su vida” (an advertisement selling missiles).
Not so weird in other contexts, but at that point it made heads explode: Semen Up, “lo estás haciendo muy bien” (“you’re doing just fine” - what the singer’s girl is doing just fine is give him a BJ)
Not “movida” per se, but Hombres G have stories such as “Marta tiene un marcapasos” (“Marta has a pacemaker” - and the pacemaker is a cannibal) or “la cagaste Burt Lancaster” (“you’re so screwed, Burt Lancaster” - a dwarf who used to feature in BL’s movies has decided to go postal on the actor). They’re officially classified as pop, but nobody has any doubts that the singer got his writing chops from a father most of whose films were comedies.
Most of those are pretty unusual, all right. Although given the music scene, you’re right; songs about BJ’s are probably not that unusual…
“Long May You Run”, by Neil Young, is actually about, a hearse he once owned!
Also, his song, “Old Man”, is not about his Dad, but to the groundskeeper, at his ranch.
Gretchen, My Captain, by As Fast As, is about two astronauts on a one way mission of space exploration. The singer is male, and he is singing to his companion, a female, who, unfortunately for him, is a lesbian and so cannot comfort him in certain ways on this lonely mission. I’m glad that when I saw them in concert, they explained the lyrics this way because that is what they lyrics seem like they’re about, but it’s so weird that I would not take them literally unless told so.
Dieselhed, a 90s alt-country band from California, are the kings of this. They have songs about: hash browns, soap carving, their own (fictional) breakup, taking a test to operate a forklift, leaning on a stove and accidentally setting a pizza box on fire, and oddly suggestive magazine titles (“Hot VWs”).
Here’s “Snow Blind in the Liquor Store,” a song about the antics of an intoxicated girl on her 23rd birthday.
The Beautiful South’s lovely little ballad Woman in the Wall is about a guy haunted by the murdered wife he has sealed in a wall. Listen to the happy singalong and follow the lyrics here.