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The Message in the Music (as inspired by Huston)

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5,353
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31
Many of today's hottest songs are rife with drugs, sex, guns, etc. references that some people may find. Some people feel there's a correlation to the message in these songs and crime or deviant behavior.

How closely do you listen to the message in the song, if there is one and at what point do you say I can't listen to this anymore?
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
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3,149
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27
Not all songs have "messages." Which isn't to say there aren't "messages" in songs. Sometimes they are art (or "art") and don't have a message - the "meaning" is dependent upon the ear of the beholder. For example, what is the "message" of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana? I have no idea. It's sounds like a story, but then again, it seems more visceral, more akin to an emotion than a narrative. I get no "message" from that song. But then again, I'm not an albino.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
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3,838
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25
I agree with Huston's original thread. Even though you know your kid is going to hear crap somewhere, you should still shouldn't endorse the crap as a parent.

I'm not for censorship but there is a time and place for everything. I was in a convenience store where "And then she caught me redhanded bangin' on the bathroom floor..." was on. I thought it was funny at the time but it would be inappropriate if a 9 year old walked in.

Accussing rock bands of causing suicides is just stupid and irresponsible.

Usually excessive sex or violence usually means there's nothing going on musically. It would be nice if we as a society ignored this stuff but the opposite is true. We love it!
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
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25
music

Messages and music is a tricky subject. I'm willing to bet that if you READ the lyrics of the vast majority of songs, they will come off as pretty lame in the message department. There are exceptions. From my generation there is "For What Its Worth" (Steven Stills) , Sgt. Peppers, and a lot of Bob Dylan and other folkies. Most lyrics when read are pretty light weight compared to straight poetry.

Music even without lyrics can be moving and this is where the additional meaning probably comes from.
 

donk

Cyburbian
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6,970
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I prefer music with a message that i can understand and relate to.

That is why some of my favourite albums are The Who - Quadrophenia, DK - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Rusty Hoyt Axton - Old Halo, Ramones - Leave Home, Lou Reed - Magic and Loss, VU - loaded and I could go on.

While I don't completely understand the lyrics as sung I also enjoy klezmer music.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,464
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29
I tend to focus a lot on lyrics. That's one reason I like the more esoteric metal bands (not the crappy American hair band stuff, the wierd Eurotrash doomy stuff) Sometimes they are a little (a lot?) pompous, but better pompous than "Come on Baby, Let's Have Sex."

I understand French rap music (from those exemplars of dirigiste planning, the Parisian suburbs) make our gangsta rap look feminist and loving.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
Re: music

Tom R said:
...I'm willing to bet that if you READ the lyrics of the vast majority of songs, they will come off as pretty lame in the message department. There are exceptions...
An exception from the '80s: Collin Hay the lead singer from Men at Work. On thier surface they were upbeat Oz-Pop, but the lyrics, man tell me that guy wasn't clincally depressed.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
When you hear the lyrics to men at works "who can it be" without the pop music, it is a really dark song.

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Go 'way, don't come 'round here no more.
Can't you see that it's late at night?
I'm very tired, and I'm not feeling right.
All I wish is to be alone;
Stay away, don't you invade my home.
Best off if you hang outside,
Don't come in - I'll only run and hide.

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor.
If he hears, he'll knock all day,
I'll be trapped, and here I'll have to stay.
I've done no harm, I keep to myself;
There's nothing wrong with my state of mental health.
I like it here with my childhood friend;
Here they come, those feelings again!

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Is it the man come to take me away?
Why do they follow me?
It's not the future that I can see,
It's just my fantasy

Oh...Who can it be now?
Oh...Who can it...Who can it...
Yeah yeah yeah
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Men at Work's Overkill is its equal. Pardon me while I grab the lithium...

*****

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away


Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation
It's time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation

At least there's pretty lights
And though there's little variation
It nullifies the night from overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Come back another day

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
It's just overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,903
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35
My preference is for songs that tell stories, or have a message - that's why I love bands like The Clash, Midnight Oil, Rage Against the Machine, the Tragically Hip (earlier stuff) and...Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce Cockburn, a much-mocked Canadian singer-songwrite has some really good lyrics. I'm sure EG can relate to "If I had a Rocket Launcher".
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
In the sixties we had all of those anti-war songs, and did they lead to a "peace movement?" In the seventies we had a bunch of songs about love and sex, and did that lead to some sort of "sexual revolution?" Hmmm... possibly. Alternatively, maybe they just reflect powerful issues of the time. Oh god, I didn't just defend rap, did I?
 

SGB

Cyburbian
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3,387
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25
Tranplanner said:
Bruce Cockburn, a much-mocked Canadian singer-songwriter....
Much-mocked? Primarily by Canadians?

I've enjoyed his music and lyrics for the past 15 years. His greatest hits album is on my "must buy" list.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,903
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35
SGB said:
Much-mocked? Primarily by Canadians?
Yeah...he gets, or rather used to get, made fun of a lot. I guess that's because he was ahead of the curve a bit on a lot of environmental and social issues.

That, and his name. But maybe we were just being juvenile.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
TP, I agree with you on Bruce Cockburn - excellent, and gets hardly the recognition he deserves.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
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2,274
Points
25
musica

Michael Stumpf said:
In the sixties we had all of those anti-war songs, and did they lead to a "peace movement?" In the seventies we had a bunch of songs about love and sex, and did that lead to some sort of "sexual revolution?" Hmmm... possibly. Alternatively, maybe they just reflect powerful issues of the time. Oh god, I didn't just defend rap, did I?
I think that its the other way around, at least to a great extent. The "Peace Movement" lead to the music etc. If someone joined "The Movement" because of some song,listen closely and you can probably hear the wind whistling through his/her ears.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
music

There is a folkie from Maine, David Mallett. Really great lyricist and a pretty good singer and musician. He wrote "The Garden Song" that was recorded by John Denver, Pete Seeger and PPM. His only shortcomming is that he sounds a bit too much like Gordon Lightfoot. One of his songs, I think it is "Fire" about his farmstead burning down when he was a boy (based on a true story) actually hurts me to listen to it.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
Then there's always the deep meaning behind Cyndi Lauper's She-Bop.

Has anyone seen my kitten?
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
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27
Chet said:
Then there's always the deep meaning behind Cyndi Lauper's She-Bop.

Has anyone seen my kitten?
When women do the She-Bop, do they kill kittens as well? I thought it was just men.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
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3,241
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27
Chet said:
Then there's always the deep meaning behind Cyndi Lauper's She-Bop.

Has anyone seen my kitten?
Ah yes, and "Turning Japanese". not so PC now though.

The lyrics of "whip it" and "rock lobster" are so moving. Really, I take them to heart everytime I hear them, I can't help but shed a tear.

With all of the wedding related crap in my life right now I laugh to think people wanted "Every Breath You Take" played. Um, yeah, stalker. Oh, and Norah Jones has a great voice, but maybe you shouldn't play the sorry I stood you up "Don't Know Why" song. Although, I'm leaning toward "Cherry Pie", lyrical genius there!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
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I am all for music with a message and I am also a fan of music with no message. One of my all time favorite bands, the Ramones, sing songs about sniffin' glue and hanging out.

I also like a lot of rap music. I look back at the NWA "F---- Tha Police" and Body Count "Cop Killer" controversy in the early 90s and I guess I never thought that the message was "Hey kids, go out and kill cops" yet the media twisted it into that. I think that the message was "Hey, this is what is happening to Blacks in the inner City. This is how we are treated by the police." I still find it amazing that a music group can be criticized for singing about shooting people and womanizing, but when these same themes appear on TV or movies, there is little to no outcry.
 

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
Music without any messages is OK for washing dishes, but I prefer my music fast, short , and political. Dead Kennedys, The Clash, Crass-style bands are my old favorites that I still listen to on a daily basis.They have kept me sane for the last 15 years or so...

And there is nothing better than listening to the Pogues while drinking...

I also find myself listening to a lot of hip hop, but only with positive and political messages (i.e. Public Enemy, KRS-One, Tribe Called Quest, etc.). This stuff IS the future and it is NOW.

So again, I understand some poppy dancy music is fine, but I'd rather listen to the national news service to get my daily dose of crappy sounds and propaganda.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
tunes

There's nothing quite like listening to Charlie Parker.
Like, krrrazy, man!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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Points
29
Dead Kenedies

Jello Biafra was one of the best lyricists there ever was! I love Holiday in Cambodia, California Uber Alles (a little dated since Jerry is another sold out politician), Winnebago Warrior, Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'Round (very topical today), and (please no flames from EG :) ) Police Truck.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,984
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Re: Dead Kenedies

BKM said:
Jello Biafra was one of the best lyricists there ever was! I love Holiday in Cambodia, California Uber Alles (a little dated since Jerry is another sold out politician), Winnebago Warrior, Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'Round (very topical today), and (please no flames from EG :) ) Police Truck.
I don't know what in your post would make me flame you. We don't listen to those bands at the Bob Dole Anger Managment Center (Not affilitated with the real Bob Dole).

I have been flame free for many a week now. :)

What is police truck?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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A lot of the bands/musicians I like are heavy on the poetic and lyrical depth but I also enjoy listening to songs where the words are secondary to the sound and emotion being conveyed. I mean, has anyone actually listened to the lyrics in lot of Radiohead's songs (especially on Kid A)? Most of them are gobblety-gook, but it sounds damn good.
 

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
Re: Re: Dead Kenedies

What is police truck?

Police truck is what's called the "freezer" (at least in Chicago...).
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
biscuit said:
A lot of the bands/musicians I like are heavy on the poetic and lyrical depth but I also enjoy listening to songs where the words are secondary to the sound and emotion being conveyed. I mean, has anyone actually listened to the lyrics in lot of Radiohead's songs (especially on Kid A)? Most of them are gobblety-gook, but it sounds damn good.

What I like about Radiohead is that they use the voice as another instrument. It almost doesn't matter what Thom Yorke is singing. However, I do think that on "Hail to The Thief" they lyrics have become more political.

I think that the current state of the world is going to breed more politically inspired lyrics from both sides of the fence.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Just a nasty (trendily leftist) anti-police song.

"Police Truck"

Tonight's the night that we got the truck
We're goin' downtown gonna beat up drunks
Your turn to drive I'll bring the beer
It's the late, late shift no one to fear
And ride, ride how we ride
We ride, lowride

It's roundup time where the good whores meet
Gonna drag one screaming off the street

And ride, ride how we ride

Got a black uniform and a silver badge
Playin' cops for real/playin' cops for pay

Let's ride, lowride

Pull down your dress here's a kick in the *(^&*
Let's beat you blue 'til you (deleted)
Don't move, child got a big black stick
There's six of us babe, so ....(deleted)

And ride, ride how we ride
Let's ride, lowride

The left newspapers might whine a bit
But the guys at the station they don't give a shit
Dispatch calls "Are you doin' something wicked?"
"No siree, Jack, we're just givin' tickets"

As we ride, ride, how we ride
Let's ride,

(Just thought that the Kent State discussion may be repeated. You HAVE been flame free, though)
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
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31
Some of the messages of life and living that I have accumulated since I played my first record (78 RPM) somewhere in the time zone known as the 1950's.....

Parents:
"mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird"
Surrender
Cheap Trick

Parenting:
"god bless the child"
God Bless The Child
Blood, Sweat, Tears

Early Teen Love Lost
"since I don't have you"
Since I Don't Have You
The Skyliners

First Real Love
"so you can cherish me as much as I cherish you"
Cherish
The Association

Alternate Lifestyles
"la la la la la la la lola"
Lola
The Kinks

Politics (1970)
"four dead in ohio"
Ohio
Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young

Politics (Today)
"god bless america"
Kate Smith version
OR
(more cynical version....Meryl Streep at end of DEER HUNTER)

The Way Things Really Are
"I won't get fooled again"
The Who

Aging
"hang on to 16 as long as can"
Jack & Diane
John Mellencamp

Adult Love Lost
"whatever you got and whoever it was I guess you couldn't get it from me"
Left In The Dark
Meatloaf

Revenge
"don't f&%k with a mountain"
Billy The Mountain
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention

Meditation
"the breath of the morning, I keep forgetting, the smell of the warm summer air"
Subterranean Homesick Alien
Radiohead

Happy
"I feel like singing"
I Feel Like Singing
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

Travel (View # 1)
"gotta keep my wheels rollin'"
24 Hours At A Time
Marshall Tucker Band

Travel (View # 2)
"last quart of pabst here I go"
Radar Love
Golden Earing

Happy At 54 Years & 10 Months
"when you wake-up feeling old"
When you Wake-Up Feeling Old
Wilco

Summing-Up How To Go Thru Life
(was actually a comment just before playing to a live audience"
"play f%$kng loud"
Like A Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan (Live in 1966, switching to electric from accoustic)

& not to forget famous lyrics that never got attached to songs:

"wormer, dead man.....neidermeyer, dead...."
Bluto (Animal House)

"gentlemen, no fighting in the war room"
President of U.S. in bomb shelter (Doctor Strangelove)

"klatu barada nicktoe"
Giant Robot (Day The Earth Stood Still)

Golden Oldie Bear
 

Jessie-J

Cyburbian
Messages
386
Points
12
I like trip hop alot, especially with female vocals....something so sexy about that. Anyway, Portishead, Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps.... Lyrics are definately second but it's still beautiful stuff.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Repo, what sniffing glue and hanging out are not important things to write and reflect about? (I am a huge fan and have every album on vinyl and most on CD and saw them 9 times).

Best Pogues song is Dancing Matilda, really good story. They are not the same since Seamus left / was given the boot.

Not much more that can be said about jello and the DK most songs still relevant today and don't sound dated. Jello's spoken word is as biting and funny as his lyrics. Lots available for free download at alternativetentacles.com (may not be a work friendly link that is why I've just given the address)

Billy Bragg - for all of us social justice types. (I am not a lefty though)

I just can't get into radio head, his voice annoys me and they seem like they are trying to be weird just to be weird.

As for bruce coburn, if I had a rocket launcher I know what i would do and to who.....
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
songs

Bear Up North said:
Some of the messages of life and living that I have accumulated since I played my first record (78 RPM) somewhere in the time zone known as the 1950's.....

Alternate Lifestyles
"la la la la la la la lola"
Lola
The Kinks

The only thing I can add to this list are:

"Do what you want but don't do it here." Bruce

"Sayin' its your job don't make it right Boss." Cool Hand Luke

and : "Those not busy bein' born are busy dying." B. Dylan
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
donk said:
Jello's spoken word is as biting and funny as his lyrics. Lots available for free download at alternativetentacles.com (may not be a work friendly link that is why I've just given the address)
I still love DK, but I think that Jello's ramblings have gotten tired. I listened to his most recent spoken word CD and he just seems to be making up lies or half-truths and presenting them as facts. Or making statements and not providing any evidence to support them. Maybe I am just older and wiser than I was in high school and he has been doing this all along. :)
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
Repo Man said:
What I like about Radiohead is that they use the voice as another instrument. It almost doesn't matter what Thom Yorke is singing. However, I do think that on "Hail to The Thief" they lyrics have become more political.

I think that the current state of the world is going to breed more politically inspired lyrics from both sides of the fence.
I agree that a lot of songwriting- especially seen in Radiohead- has become very political, but I would also say that most people, particularly Americans, do not care. Europeans are troubled by unchecked US power and will try to work this frustration into protest, art and song - whether that all falls on deaf ears is another discussion.

I think it's interesting on Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" that while some of lyrics are all doom and gloom, others cast those attitudes aside - almost admitting an overreaction. I think it's the song 2+2=5 that ends with a refrain - "the sky is falling, but it's not, maybe not"
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
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26
huh?

biscuit said:
A lot of the bands/musicians I like are heavy on the poetic and lyrical depth but I also enjoy listening to songs where the words are secondary to the sound and emotion being conveyed. I mean, has anyone actually listened to the lyrics in lot of Radiohead's songs (especially on Kid A)? Most of them are gobblety-gook, but it sounds damn good.
i think Thom York writes lyrics as he thinks of them. Most of his current lyrics sound like thoughts and not sentances. The old radiohead is good too.. Somewhat more storytelling, but discussing societies quirks, wrongs, etc.s
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I think Radiohead are trying to appeal to the Cyburbia crowd with the CD art of New York and London (I'm guessing) city blocks filled with messages. I like the lyrics.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
Did anyone else watch Radiohead last night on MTV2's $2Bill concert. They played some new stuff but most of their show was more rock oriented songs from "The Bends" and "Paranoid Android." I don't know if it was remastered or not but I'm all over that tour this summer if they're as good live as they were on TV. Excellent
 

H

Cyburbian
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2,850
Points
24
I used to know someone who would quote lyrics form songs as philosophy when in an argument, it was so comical. Nothing like talking about the World Bank or something and then have the dude bust out some U2 lyric. HA.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
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30
I usually like a little satire in my music, and I get hooked in by some clever phrase. Most of the music I grew up with was pretty depressing (my favorite band of all-time is the Chameleons UK). I like things a little lighter on the emotions these days... like Cake, the Hip, White Stripes, etc.

Here's one of the gems of my youth (which I still love... despite the depressing lyrics)... oh yeah, my mom used to call my musical taste "Mope Rock".

Swamp Thing -- Chameleons UK

I can already hear your tune
Calling me across the room
When the world and his wife
Are on my back again
Not enough pleasure
Too much pain

When the world is too much with me
Please leave, just go away
Before I lose my mind completely
Please leave, just go now
In the sidestreet something's moving
Look around, look around
All around you
Walls are tumbling down
Stop staring at the ground

I can practically see your face
And another revolutionary falls from grace
Hear the thunder in your brain
Not enough sunshine
Too much rain

When the light of life has gone
No change for the meter
Then the king of spivs will come
Selling blood by the litre
When nothing's sacred anymore
When the demon's knocking on your door
You'll still be staring down at the floor

Not too many hours from this hour
So long?
The storm comes
Or is it just another shower?

Picking up the pieces
Half alive in a nine 'til five
Vacant eyes
Is it any wonder?
Primal scream at the TV screen
Close your eyes

Now the world is too much with me
Please leave, just go away
Before I lose my mind completely
Just leave, please go now
Now nothing's sacred anymore
When the demon's breaking down your door
You'll still be staring down at the floor

Not too many hours from this hour
So long?
Now the storm has come
Or is it just another shower?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
One of the truest life messages ever from a song lyric

"I was looking for a job
and then I found a job
And heaven knows I'm miserable now."

The Smiths: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
 
Messages
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31
biscuit said:
One of the truest life messages ever from a song lyric

"I was looking for a job
and then I found a job
And heaven knows I'm miserable now."

The Smiths: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
I think most of The Smiths and Morrissey's lyrics were quite depressing.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
Planderella said:
I think most of The Smiths and Morrissey's lyrics were quite depressing.
Yeah, but I have to think that a lot of the time he means them to be tongue-in-cheek. He would have to... I mean how could Morrissey be that maudlin and depressed all the time? Even if he is English.

But you have to appreciate the fact that even though most of the songs are depressing, most of them are set to jangley and catchy music.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
biscuit said:
Did anyone else watch Radiohead last night on MTV2's $2Bill concert. They played some new stuff but most of their show was more rock oriented songs from "The Bends" and "Paranoid Android." I don't know if it was remastered or not but I'm all over that tour this summer if they're as good live as they were on TV. Excellent
I am all ready to get in line Saturday AM for tickets to their Wisconsin show.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I never really appreciated The Smiths or New Order when i was in High school, I do now.

Even if he is English.
It is not because he is English he is so depressed and maudlin sounding.......
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
donk said:
It is not because he is English he is so depressed and maudlin sounding.......
Yeah, it's because he is (or was) celibate for a hell of a long time. I'd be depressed and mopey too!
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I read this article about how lots of Hispanic youths in California and Mexico are really into The Smiths/Morrisey for some reason. Because of Morrisey's ambiguous sexuality the homosexual community in the 80's looked up to him as a gay artist while the Hispanic kids today don't see that at all. (Not that you have to be gay to like Morrisey - not that there's anything wrong with being gay, or liking Morrisey, or being gay and Hispanic and liking Morrisey, or...)
 

Jessie-J

Cyburbian
Messages
386
Points
12
I used to be a huge Smith's/Morrissey fan in high school...back when I was an emotional teen.

He got me through some rough times, I will admit. I still appreciate it, but I have to agree, it is kind of depressing sometimes. I never saw him as gay, never thought that at all. I did perceive a poetic, "beatnik" quality about him though...

Interesting about the Hispanic Youths...did the article give an explanation? Wonder if Hispanic youths relate more?
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
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24
Repo Man said:
I am all ready to get in line Saturday AM for tickets to their Wisconsin show.
I think I'm going to get tickets, too, if I can convince my Iowa friend to drive up for it. Hopefully, I can get them online or over the phone since I'm still in Boston.
 
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