Your Favorite Lyrics

Songs are a great way of communicating various types of messages. Some artists are great at expressing thoughts through lyrics.

Which lyrics do you use often/ have impacted the way you view things?

I always smile when I hear “They didn’t want it, but he built it anyway” in Alec Eiffel.

Maybe a lover comes along,
Maybe in story or in song,
Maybe the heart is really strong,
A million lemmings can’t be wrong.

Lots of songs have inspired me in various ways over the years, but two in particular really stood out for me:

Ani DiFranco’s Out of Range:
I was locked
Into being my mother’s daughter
I was just eating bread and water
Thinking nothing ever changes
And I was shocked
To see the mistakes of each generation
Will just fade like a radio station
If you drive out of range

(This despite me not being a male and therefore not anyone’s daughter, of course.)

and The Gathering’s Waking Hour:
Falling down
Start again
Life can bring you down
The monumental truth
Of elegance in you
Falling for
A part of who you are
Makes you shine inside

Which to me is the simple message that people need to love some part of themselves, and when things seem dark and depressing, that is what will sustain you.

Ay muerte tan rigarosa, deja me vivir un dia
“Un dia no puede ser, una hora tienes de vida”

(Okay, I’m not exactly sure of all the spelling, but it translates as “Death, so terrifying, allow me to live a day! A day isn’t possible. You have an hour to live.”)

From Vysotsky’s “Fires.” In the course of the song, the imagery gradually devolves from grandeur and glory.

Doverchivuyu smert’ krug pal’tsa obernuli -
Zameshkalas’ ona, zabyv mahnut’ kosoi.
Uzhe ne dogonyali nas i otstavali puli…
Udastsa li umytsya nam ne krov’yu a rosoi?

Which translates as:

That gullible old Death we easily outwitted,
It hesitated some and swung its scythe no more.
For once, the bullets lagged behind and in the distance flitted…
Perhaps we’ll have a chance to wash with dew instead of gore?

This is going to sound cheesy and fangirly as hell, but I love Garth Brooks’s lyrics. If you’re not very familiar with him, take a look:

“The River”:

That snippet sounds kind of lame by itself, but just take a second and read the lyrics for the whole song. They’re amazing.

Or take “Standing outside the fire”:

If you’ve never heard “The Change”, here’s a quick sample of the lyrics:

or have a listen. (The linked video has 9/11 footage)

The song is basically about how life goes on after tragedy and how you can’t let anything get in the way of your faith in humanity.

Or how about a song of heartache and a love you haven’t quite gotten over?

“What she’s doing now”:

Absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful lyrics. I don’t know if he writes the lyrics himself, but I have mad respect for whoever does. If I’ve broken any rules in quoting all these lyrics, I apologize. They’re all four lines each, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

From “Lucky Henry” by Walter Becker:

Dusted down in shanty town behind a sky of red
Hoist upon some frozen dawn exploding in my head
Fast asleep in trouble deep or wide awake and burning
Stuck inside some stranger’s hide whose karma keeps returning

Where you trail that holy grail of darkness and despair
Way cross town, now up now down, as though you’d really care
On the bus across from us seen once in silhouette
The old man’s face you couldn’t place that now you can’t forget

Down and dirty
There you go
Lucky Henry says hello

Modest Mouse has the best lyrics of any rock band ever. Styrofoam Boots is probably the best, but just about any song is amazing lyrically.

This one is probably only cool in context. Near the end of a rambling, eleven-minute epic in which he expresses all kinds of self doubt, Harry Chapin wails:

Am I observer or participant
or huckster of belief,
making too much of a life
so mercifully brief?

Emmylou Harris, from Easy From Now On:

“Raw as a whip; clean as bone;
soft to the touch when you take me home…”

One of the lines from the chorus is:

“A quarter-moon in a ten-cent town…”

From “Icy Blue Heart:”

“She came onto him like a slow moving cold front.
His beer was warmer than the look in her eye…”

When you live in Butt Town
You gotta get down.

–Iggy Pop

“Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way”

Meaningful on several levels including the obvious (I’m a graduate student), the obvious (absent a whip there sometimes really isn’t a way…witness the condition of my desk), and the…oops-wrong forum :-P.

I love the entire set of lyrics to Sublime’s “What I got” actually, but here are a few gems:

“I can play the guitar like a motherf*cking riot.” - I have no idea why i love that line, but I REALLY REALLY do love it, and no… I cannot play the guitar like a MF’ing Riot, but I’m learning!

“Life is… too short,
So love the one you got,
Because you might get run over
Or you might get shot.”
-That’s the more meaningfull portions of the song, but for some reason I just love that other line more so.

Words and music by John Hiatt, one of my personal favorites.

Well, let me participate! :stuck_out_tongue:

“For long you live and how you fly
the smilesm you´ll give and the tears you´ll cry
all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be”

  • Pink Floyd


“You can get just so much from a good thing
you can linger too long in your dreams
say good bye to the oldies but goodies
cause´the good ole´days weren´t always good
and tommorow ain´t as bad as it seems…”

  • Billy Joel

“Dear Mr. President”

What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

“Ay muerte rigurosa” doesn’t mean “Death so terrifying”. Rigurosa has many possible translations. In this context it means punctual, strict, rigid.
Carry on.

"I’ve been waiting for the sun to come up,
Waiting for the showers to stop,
Waiting for the penny to drop,
One time.

And I’ve been standing in a cloud of plans,
Standing in the shifting sands,
Hoping for an open hand,
One time."

From King Crimson’s “One Time”

And of course, from B.B. King (not sure who wrote the lyric):

"Nobody loves me but my mother…

…and she could be jivin’ too".

"Love me, love me, love me. Say you do.
Let me fly away with you.
For my love is like the wind,
and wild is the wind, wild is the wind"
D. Bowie

"Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders,
Here are the young men, well where have they been?
We knocked on the doors of Hell’s darker chamber,
Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in,
Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying,
We saw ourselves now as we never had seen.
Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration,
The sorrows we suffered and never were free."
Decades - Joy Division

"If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor." Sit Down - James

immediately spring to mind. I’ll have a think and pop back in.