What lyrics speak to you?

Yeah, I know, we love our music. We all have a shit ton of music in our ipods, our mp3 players, on our computers, on tape or on cd’s or buried in our closets. We have music that we love and that we love to listen to - but what music speaks to you the loudest?

There are songs that just seem to cry out to us as individuals. It’s not always the songs that we love the best, but it is the ones that we identify with the most.

For me, as much as I love Simon and Garfunkel, this song is not my favorite. But it is the one that I always seem to come back to, the one that says ‘me’ more than any other song. “The Boxer”. It is written from a male perspective, but the lyrics resonate with me, more than any other.

“In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains”

I heard this song decades ago…but still, I feel like the ‘fighter still remains’.

What is it that works for you?

You know, I’m probably the only jazz fan who would admit this, but country music gets me, as far as the lyrics go.

Depressive stuff like:

"Oh, the faucet started drippin’ in the kitchen
And last night your picture fell down from the wall
And today the boss said, “Sorry, I can’t use you anymore
And tonight the light bulb went out in the hall”

“Wine Colored Roses” is one I keep in mind also

"She asked lots of questions, like would I call her sometime,
and was I getting back on my feet.

She asked if I had quit drinking,
Like I promised her long ago.
The words wouldn’t come,
when I called and she answered,
But I found a way to say no.

I sent her some wine colored roses…"

along with some of the other kind, Western music, like “Time Changes Everything.”

Don’t really pay much attention to lyrics usually, but I pay attention when someone like George Jones or Tommy Duncan is singing.

Some of the Great American Songbook lyrics I like a lot – like “Spring Is Here,” “Everything Happens to Me,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” even later ones like “Black Coffee” or “Born to be Blue,” or “Who Can I Turn To?” but they can be a bit much to take in with all the rhyming and cute stuff. Best in small doses, as much as I love the tunes and the odd things that happen in some of those lyrics.

To your OP, with the whole music angle, it’s got to be full of grease. Jimmy McGriff speaks to me.

There are entirely too many that speak to me and have made the “please play these at my funeral” list but the top two are:

“The Wind” by Cat Stevens

“I listen to the wind
to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up well I think,
only God really knows
I’ve sat upon the setting sun
But never, never never never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never…”

and “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen

"The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in."

Speaking of Simon and Garfunkel, how about I Am a Rock?

"I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain. …

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me. "

This reminds me so much of me, especially when I was a disdainful teenager.

And of course, “Mother” from Pink Floyd’s The Wall:

“Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing”

It’s like they knew my home life, I swear.

Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” kind of does/did. I was definitely the wallflower socially in high school–the difference between me and the song’s singer is that I didn’t really care about it most of the time (I was happy to be a nerd holed up in the library with my nerdy friends). But sometimes I did get melancholy about what I was missing out on.

Alan Parsons Project’s “Old and Wise”–that’s my funeral song. Another Parsons song that speaks to me is “There But For The Grace of God”:

“No one is an island
No one born alone
No man can turn the tide of fortune on his own
Though some may dare to try.”

Tori Amos’ “Winter.” It reminds me of my dad, and how he’s not getting any younger and some day he’ll be gone. I pretty much can’t listen to it without tearing up.

And yeah, “I Am a Rock” is kind of me too.

Rush’s “Subdivisions,” a little bit. Mostly the “Conform or be cast out” part.

My spouse used to identify with Simon and Garfunkel’s “A Most Peculiar Man.” I’m glad he doesn’t anymore. It used to make me sad in college that a teenage guy felt that way about that song.

Wasting away again in Margaritaville - for my years in Florida
Cat’s in the Cradle - my familial relationships (parents and kids)
Father & Son - ditto
Red is a mean mean colour - just because
…and many more I can’t think of just now.

Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues was my anthem at age 33:

You know my heart keeps tellin’ me
You’re not a kid at thirty-three
Play around you’ll lose your wife
You play too hard you’ll lose your life

Some gotta win, some gotta lose
Good time Charlie’s got the blues
So Long, San Francisco, by Glenn Yarbrough

From Terminal Street by Be Bop Deluxue:

“And all the creatures born of ink and rage and lies
crawled from my pen and ran across the page to die
Facination was the germ of their disease
Degredation is the term of their release”

Carry Me by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

It remeinds me so much of my mother’s last months - lying helpless in a nursing home bed.
Then there was my mother, she was lying in white sheets there
And she was waiting to die
She said if you just reach underneath this bed, and untie these weights
I could surely fly
She’s still smiling but she’s tired
She’d like to hear that last bell ring
You know if she still could she would, stand up, she would sing

Too many to name, really. What comes to mind right now are large parts of “Least Complicated” and “Language or the Kiss,” both by Indigo Girls. I’d have to explain the connections, wouldn’t be obvious. But oh, some days I really FEEL some of those lyrics.

Oh, “Old and Wise” is one my favorite APP songs - and definitely great eulogy music - it will guarantee that everyone cries at your funeral!

Got a few that come to mind right off:

“In a world where I feel so small,
I can’t stop thinking big…” Rush, "Caravan

“All of us get lost in the darkness,
Dreamers turn to look at the stars,
All of us do time in the gutter,
Dreamers turn to look at the cars…” Rush, “The Pass”

“I’m undefeated, and standing tall,
I don’t want to be the loser when the winner takes it all,
I’m undefeated, I’ve got the scars,
When you’ve got the will to win,
You’ve got to take it on the chin,
Stay undefeated…” Def Leppard, “Undefeated”

Another one of Paul Simon’s songs:

“Well, I would not give you false hopes
on this strange and mournful day
but the mother and child reunion
is only emotion away”

As rough as times can seem sometimes, we could turn things around in a heartbeat if we could somehow find the right attitude adjustment.

Alan Parsons’ Project:

“The game never ends
when your whole world depends
on the turn of a friendly card”

…just helps me empathize a little more with people who’ve got a monkey on their backs - gambling, drugs, whatever. They’re just so caught up in their thing that nothing else matters… and only slightest fortune has kept me from getting lost in the same wilderness.

Yeah, the two examples are slightly at cross purposes. What can I say; I’ve got more than one side.

I’ll agree with the OP’s verse from “The Boxer.” Somewhat similar, and a lyric that speaks to me, is this verse from Stan Rogers’ song, “The Mary Ellen Carter”:

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

this is the song i took my handle from - it’s called ‘punch line loser’ by the spinanes. it’s hard to find but it’s my favorite song of all time, and i think it’s one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. it still makes me all misty-eyed when i hear it:

"I saw you catch my laugh as I was slipping out the back
There’s nothing quite so funny as a hostile second coming
There’s nothing quite as charming as the wreckage of the wily
They see the world through pipe bombs
And another bloodied sapper
There’s nothing quite as ugly as the confidence of cowards
We waste time by the hours marking off our scorecards
There’s nothing quite as ugly as a world as small as ours

I hear I made you crack as I was trying out my wit
There’s nothing so pathetic as the way I blow a punch line

Laugh at me all you want

I kept the shape your hair made as you slept against the window
The world goes by and rushes
The dashboard lights grow dimmer
There’s nothing quite as lovely as a time as weird as ours
I watched your back as you were headed towards the bar
There’s nothing quite so stunning"

you need the music for the full effect, but ‘there’s nothing quite as lovely as a time as weird as ours’ is something i could get tattooed on my skin

Joy Division lyrics in general, *Passover *specifically:

This is a crisis I knew had to come,
Destroying the balance I’d kept.
Doubting, unsettling and turning around,
Wondering what will come next.

My life bears very little resemblance to Kesha’s, but still I’m drawn to her song “Crazy Beautiful Life.” The chorus goes

Every single night we fight
To get a little high on life.
To get a little something right, something real
At least we try.
Time after time
Try dodging all the douchebag guys.
Try trading all the wasted times
For something real, in this crazy life.

The song never fails to improve my mood when I’m feeling a little down, and makes me think about everything that I do have.

Townes Van Zandt - Pancho And Lefty.

“Livin’ on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath’s as hard as kerosene”

He wrote many great songs, some more personal or more depressing than this one, but none more beautiful.

Most of the other songs I love for the lyrics have the same sense of loss, examples would be From Clare To Here by Ralph McTell, Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt, originally by Nine Inch Nails, and Marianne Faithfull’s version of The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, written by Shel Silverstein.

*In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains *

I agree with the OP, this is my all-time favorite verse from any song. I always picture the fighter as seen from the window of a bus leaving town. I wish I was the fighter, but most often “I am leaving, I am leaving” my problems behind, “to my anger and my shame”.

My second favorite lines come from R.E.M.'s “Rockville”. Always makes me crack a wry smile. It’s one of my favorite “country” songs.

At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend
I don’t care if you’re not here with me
'Cause it’s so much easier to handle
All my problems if I’m too far out to sea

I don’t drink, but I’ve done my share of sitting around lying to myself after a breakup.

Jackson Browne - “Before the Deluge”

Some of them knew pleasure
And some of them knew pain
And for some of them it was only the moment that mattered
And on the brave and crazy wings of youth
They went flying around in the rain
And their feathers, once so fine, grew torn and tattered
And in the end they traded their tired wings
For the resignation that living brings
And exchanged love’s bright and fragile glow
For the glitter and the rouge
And in the moment they were swept before the deluge

Bruce Springsteen - “The Price You Pay”
You make up your mind
You choose the chance you take
You ride to where the highway ends and the desert breaks
Out on to an open road
You ride until the day
You learn to sleep at night with the price you pay*

Both of them from an earlier period in my life. Things can change if you are willing to work at it.