Let’s Get Lyrical

On this very day in 2007, I posted on my old blog asking people if they had any requests/suggestions from people on things to write about.  One of my friends commented saying, “You should analyse song lyrics and music in a geeky type fashion and then write extensive journal entries about your findings.”

Now, I have wide and meandering musical tastes, and being geeky about it isn’t my style.  There are too many bands and genres, and not enough time for me to learn the intimate details of them all, what with writing 12 books in 12 months and working and sleeping and all.  However I do love taking apart lyrics and poking fun at them, and I have sporadically done so ever since.

In related news, you may be aware that this year, UNESCO’s annual literary campaign is taking the form ‘Let’s Get Lyrical’.  They want YOU to tell them about the lyrics you love, thus combining reading and music into one almighty celebration.  There is an extensive programme of events running throughout February to support this, with lots of local authors and musicians getting involved.

I think it’s a fantastic idea, and to show my support I plan to conduct a comical dissection of a song every day from now until the end of February.  To start us off, here is that first example from way back in the mists of 2007.

The Smiths’ 1984 top ten single, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, is lyrically one of my favourite songs ever.  It makes me laugh every time, although I appreciate that might be missing the point to some extent.

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I’m miserable now

OMG, HOW TROOOOO!!!! It’s like, you’re happily sitting in the Union quaffing pitchers of Purple Cheeky Sex On The Swings or whatever with your best girls, and it’s all Vaseline round the edges, everybody laughing, then a few hours later you’re all alone with a beast of a sugar come-down and the skin of a 13-year-old. It’s only a few short steps to injecting lambrini and secreting strawberry bon bons about your person.

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

It’s like, you look on the interwebnet and in the paper and all that and it seems like you’re qualified for bugger all, then you find one, and apply, and get it, and you’re all woo, and then you work in it for three months and they STILL DON’T PAY YOU but you can’t stamp on your line manager’s head cause she’s heavily pregnant and that’d be pretty poor form.

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die?

Well, there’s a question. It’s something about the human compulsion to do stupid things, such as fall desperately in love with people who don’t know you exist, or to ski jump off the edges of cliffs (which is sort of a physical equivalent). There’s also the fact that we’re always wasting time, playing solitaire or watching telly or whatever, it’s not till you look back that you consider time a valuable commodity, and that’s only because it’s now unobtainable and therefore has a mysterious allure.

Two lovers entwined pass me by
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

Pfft. Doesn’t bother me, he’s probably given her chlamydia.

(I was looking for a job, and then I found a job/…/To people who don’t care if I live or die?)

What she asked of me at the end of the day
Caligula would have blushed

That must have been some question. This is a guy who is meant to have had incestuous relationships with his sisters after all. Amongst other crazy people pastimes, such as tyranny, nicking shells to annoy Neptune, making his horse a priest, and declaring himself a god. What makes such a person blush? Maybe he farted…

“You’ve been in the house too long” she said
And I naturally fled.

Mmm. If you’re especially flatulent and you’ve been in the house for ages, I guess it is a pretty natural reaction to do a runner when someone else gets back home and forces a confession. Very insightful.

In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I’d much rather kick in the eye?

Possibly my favourite line, not least because he somehow tricks the listener into thinking that the words ‘eye’ and ‘smile’ rhyme. I would love to be able to kick anyone in the eye; it should be an accepted social thing. People who blank you, for example, ought to be punishable by a kick in the eye. But yes, why do we smile at them? Is it a case of simple good breeding? Or perhaps it’s a defence mechanism – if we smile, they won’t kick us in the eye? I personally do it to freak them out. Muhahaha.

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I’m miserable now
“You’ve been in the house too long” she said
And I naturally fled.
In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die?

The vocal inflections on ‘live or die’ by the way, very silly. Hooray!

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Filed under adolescence, adulthood, Edinburgh, letsgetlyrical, music, noise, university

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