Songs you finally understand

“My Little Town” by Paul Simon. Sort of half-listening to it when it came out, I thought it was an American Penny Lane. No. He hated the place. Phony patriotism, fake piety (“I grew up believing/God watched over us all/And he would lean on me/As I pledged allegiance to the wall”), stifled intellect (the black rainbow), ecological degradation. “Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town” indeed.

“Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I knew it was a break-up song and gradually understood it to be a gay break-up song. But Elton always sang it so melancholy. It was written as a very angry gay break-up song. “Mongrels who ain’t got a penny/sniffing for tidbits like you/ON THE GROUND.”

I never realized it was a breakup song. And would it be a gay one? I don’t think he was out of the closet at the time.

Aint No Way by Aretha Franklin
The lyrics:
Stop trying to be something you’re not.
Hard, cold, cruel is the man
Who paid too much for what he got.

I was a teenager when I first heard this song.
But it wasn’t until I was many years older
that I fully understood the meaning of those lines.
I still think they are some of the most profound lyrics on popular music.

Same here.

Taupin writes the songs, Elton just sings them (Taupin’s straight AFAIK)

I’m aware of that. I’ll rephrase. Why would Bernie write a gay breakup song for a still in the closet Elton?

Also curious about this. And wondering, unless the genders of the people involved are mentioned, how can any love song be inherently gay or straight? I mean, a lot of them are vague enough lyrically that the listener can insert themselves as appropriate, so…

Except for one or two songs Michael Stipe said he didn’t use pronouns or mention genders for just that reason.

I’m not exactly sure what the song means, but it’s one of the most poignant songs I know. My own take is that Bob’s getting a little famous and is going on tour -leaving his woman behind- and while that’s sad it’s part of fulfilling their dreams. “In this bright future, you can’t forget your past.” It’s a bittersweet continuation of their bittersweet lives. His recounting of simple joys in the midst of oppression and poverty is poignant in a way that a broken heart is not.

But maybe I’ve got the meaning all wrong.

I don’t know the song, but read the lyrics and can’t figure out what the above quote means.

I learned that the pyramids WERE built by Irishmen!
(“The Irish Were Egyptians Long Ago”)

I’ve always interpreted this song to be about the universal oppression of women. Kind of like “Keep Yo Head Up.”

I was thinkin’ bout the unreleased rarity Jizz on Your Tits


I never heard the song, but according to Wikipedia:

Oh, of course. Nothing sexual about that. :cool:

I didn’t realize until a few years ago that the Prince and the Revolution song “I Would Die 4 U” was about a God as savior conveyed through Christianity.

I think it’s no woman, nuh cry. As in don’t cry girl.

Hmm, seems like **Nobody **knows.

While I always knew what the lyrics were to Pink Floyd’s “Time”, it wasn’t a song that I really “got” until I got older.

You are young and life is long/And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find/Ten years have got behind you

Ain’t that the truth.

Elton John’s “Nikita” is about a homosexual imprisoned in the USSR, where, yes, you could be locked up for being “different”:

*Do you ever dream of me
Do you ever see the letters that I write
When you look up through the wire
Nikita do you count the stars at night

And if there comes a time
Guns and gates no longer hold you in
And if you’re free to make a choice
Just look towards the west and find a friend

It could only be about her in a couple of ways. Perhaps she’s lamenting dating so many rich douchebags that no one really knows which douchebag she’s singing about. Or unless she’s schizophrenic, and one of her personalities is singing about another one.

No, I go with my explanation above. She’s dated tons of rich douchebags who are all egotistical enough to believe that she wrote a song about them.

I generally agree with this. She never explicitly says that the person who thinks the song is about him is wrong.

In Piano Man by Billy Joel

Now Paul is a Real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
He’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life.

It wasn’t until recently that I suspected that it wasn’t Davy that would remain in the navy for life but that Paul and Davy would be talking for life.

I actually heard an interview with Billy Joel about this song, and he said Davy was a real guy who probably would be in the Navy for life.