Sunday, 9 June 2013


I really like songs that can tell a story. Most everyone can write a love song, but to tell a story, I think that takes much more talent. Now, I'm not talking songs from musicals (although I really do like One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head).

Below are some stories I've quite enjoyed over the years:

Years ago, I was at a party at a friend's house and he proclaimed Paul McCartney was a better songwriter than John Lennon. I quipped, "Oh really? Jet. Woo-ooo-OOOO-ooo-ooo-OOO-ooo. Jet. Woo-ooo-OOOO-ooo-ooo-OOO-ooo. Or how about IIIIII loooooove youuuuuu? IIIIII loooooove youuuuuu." (Obviously, I forgot about this song. And Just Another Day.)

I once saw an interview where Paul McCartney said he didn't read books - I was in my English Lit phase at the time so snobby me didn't think too highly of him. (I still think it's ridiculous that some people don't read books - they don't know what they're missing!)

Obviously, I have no understanding of what it's like to be a gay young man (or a lesbian), but the feeling of isolation in this song has always touched me.

Now, I have a number of songs I could load videos for, but this post will probably take forever to load if I add every video. A few most honourable suggestions:
American Pie - such a classic 
Hotel California (yes, with the instrumental at the end and dayum, that bass player was gooood lookin')
Hasn't Hit Me Yet (which I linked in a previous post
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy 
There Goes My Life 
I Love This Bar
Wait, what? Kenny Chesney? Toby Keith? But (I imagine you argue), them there are country songs. Most country songs are storytelling songs. True, but some are better than others. Another one I quite like:

I've come to appreciate George Strait - I really like his voice, and I like a number of his songs. If you want to listen to the original by Hank Snow, feel free.

A more recent song I've come to really enjoy:

"Seems as though you lost sight Of what's important when depositin'
Them cheques into your bank account
And you up out of poverty
Your values is a disarray, prioritizin' horribly
Unhappy with the riches
'cause you're piss-poor morally
Ignorin' all the prior advice and forewarnin'
And we mighty full of ourselves all of a sudden, aren't we?
Okay, so the grammar is pretty awful, but I love the line - "'cause you're piss-poor morally".

One band I have been a real fan of over the years has been The Police. There are many songs of theirs (and of Sting's) I could list in this post, but I want to keep it as short as possible. I've chosen this song because it has a lyric that has stuck with me since I was a teenager. It's probably because it really describes me:

"Since I'm never lonely being alone" ... 1979. I learned the truth at 17 that Sting was oh-so-hot. I mean, look at him - in his retro Bill Nye the Science Guy outfit. Sigh. I love Sting and his fretless bass. Despite the fact he's been awful to the help who have to change his tantric yoga sex-stained sheets.

Never heard the above song? Check it out. I always have to play this twice when it comes on my iPod.

A band worth checking out (that is no longer around) is Fossil. I saw these guys open up for Kirsty MacColl at the El Mocambo in Toronto in ... 1994? I bought their cd the next day, and it is still one of my favourites. I like every song on that cd. It's too bad they didn't make it big, although they did have a minor hit with Moon. I urge you to check out their other songs, in particular Martyr's Wife and Josephine Baker, which is such a sweet, lovely song.

Neil Young. He has about a gazillion songs that are stories. This is a great video - it's a compilation of videos shot at the same concert and edited together. The uploader did a fantastic editing job. And it's also a nice segue way to Pearl Jam. (btw, is it me or does the bass player bear a passing resemblance to Seann William Scott?)

So out of myriad Pearl Jam songs, I choose the one I find the most poignant:

Hearts and thoughts they fade. Fade away.

We're all going to be there someday.

But in the meantime, let's take a trip to Berlin:

I kept my favourite two for last.

When I was little and I visited my cousins, we would swing on their swing set and sing this song:

Those were the days my friend. We thought they'd never end.

And my most favourite:

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolour in the rain.

Maybe I enjoy this song so much because I was born in the Year of the Cat.

I hope you've enjoyed this selection of music.

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