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Cute Couplets and Luscious Lyrics

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Next to the bass the most interesting part of any song is, for me, the words.

So what couplet or 3 or 4 lines do you treasure? Not whole songs, just the little gems of wordsmithery that leap out at you.

I'll start with Elvis. Honestly the King Of The Couplet  the Vizier of the Verse, for me - I could easily just quote him all day.

So to get the ball rolling, from The Loved Ones :

"Don't get smart or sarcastic he snaps back just like elastic,
Spare us the theatrics and the verbal gymnastics we break wise guys just like matchsticks"

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“You are the church of love and suddenly I’m feeling holy” - voices of the beehive - I think their songwriter is/was a member 

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I always thought this was a clever little lyric from the late, great, Kirsty MacColl.

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
It’s wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care

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Bowie - Drive-In Saturday
 
”His name was always buddy 
And he'd shrug and ask to stay
She'd sigh like twig the wonder kid 
And turn her face away.
She's uncertain if she likes him 
But she knows she really loves him
It's a crash course for the ravers 
It's a drive-in Saturday...” 
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Joni Mitchell - Hejira

“I know, no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone...”

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21 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I always thought this was a clever little lyric from the late, great, Kirsty MacColl.

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
It’s wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care

Wonderful song , but on a point of order,  that verse is by Billy Bragg (on the original Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy)

The extra verse(s) on Kirsty's cover were

"My dreams were full of strange ideas

My mind was set despite my fears.

But other things got in my way

I never asked that boy to stay.

 

Once upon a time at home

I sat beside the telephone

Waiting for someone to pull me through

When at last it didn't ring

I knew it wasn't you"

These were also written by Billy, but adapted by Kirsty.

 

On a related note, I'd propose

"There's a guy works down the chip shop, swears he's Elvis

Just like you swore to me that you'd be true

There's a guy works down the chip shop, swears he's Elvis

But he's a liar and I'm not sure about you."

Edited by MrCrane
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If you pass through my soul tonight
Gather all his troubles
Tomorrow's long eternal night
Gather for tomorrow

"Love Under Will" Fields Of the Nephilim...their definitive track lyrically and musically to me

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, davepb24 said:
"Love Under Will" Fields Of the Nephilim...their definitive track lyrically and musically to me

And me

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No, no

No n-no, no

No n-no, no

No, no, there's no limit

Heart wrenching enough stuff from 2 Unlimited without the refrain of 'Techno, Techno, Techno, Techo', to really put it all into perspective. Gets me right there, everytime.

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“Nw I guess I’ll have to tell ‘em

That I got no cerebellum”

Joey Ramone’s finest, courtesy of ‘Teenage Lobotomy’.

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Good as some of the quotes are... they don't quite hold up when they're there in black and white.  In fact some of them can look quite pretentious, especially when taken out of context like this.

I think a great vocalist can make ANY combination of words sound good however.

Consider:

Quote

Tank fly boss walk jam nitty gritty
You're listening to the boy from the big bad city
This is jam hot
This is jam hot

Then listen to the narrative.  The Boy has little to do with the story.  The narrative is by a girl who doesn't care about her bo's reputation, she is that hot for him.

She then goes on:

Quote

Love is a game of chances
So I'll take my chance with you
And you I won't try to change
We talk about it and I'd
Rather have a piece of you
Than all of nothing

Oh really?  You mean you won't become a bunny boiler somewhere down the line?  Okayyyyyyy.

Quote

Friends are always telling me you're a user
I don't care what you do to them
Just be good to me
Just be good to me

Takes one to know one duck.

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Do you still remember 

December's foggy freeze

When the ice  that clings on to your beard

Was screaming agony.

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Love me a bit of Tull, Ian Anderson writes some telling lyrics!

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"He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat,
To view his collection of stamps;
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
The wine, his cigar, and the lamps:"

from "Have Some Madeira M'Dear" by Flanders and Swann

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‘There’s no love song finer

But how strange the change from major to minor

Ev’ry time we say goodbye’

 

Cole Porter

Edited by bassace

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3 hours ago, SpondonBassed said:

Is that a reference to Twiggy?

image.png.88dcef39543b5ba7b480ff23c2b32d18.png

It is! He wasn’t shy in referencing actual people in his lyrics - on Aladdin Sane (the album that Drive-In Saturday comes from) there are name checks for Twiggy, Che Guevara, Benny Goodman and Mick Jagger.

From the same album, The Jean Genie is apparently inspired by Iggy Pop, and Lady Grinning Soul by Claudia Lennear, but neither are mentioned by name.

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I tend to find lyrics of the "She Loves me/She Doesn't love me" type to be just that bit trite while pretending to be deep... I personally don't really care either way about some singer's love life!

However, if you're going to have lyrics I'd prefer them to be either powerful, or witty...

Here's powerful:

You're a star-belly sneech
You suck like a leech
You want everyone to act like you
Kiss donkey while you beach
So you can get rich
While your boss gets richer off you

Well, you'll work harder
With a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers
'Til you starve
Then your head is skewered on a stake

Now you can go, where the people are one
Now you can go where they get things done
What you need, my son
What you need, my son

Is a Holiday in Cambodia
Where people are dressed in black
A Holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll kiss donkey or crack

 

Witty, or just downright daft:

Now this is what I want you all to do:
If you got faults, defects or shortcomings,
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines,
Whatever part of your body it is,
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through.
Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?
The desired effect is what you get
When you improve your Interplanetary Funksmanship.
Sir Lollipop Man! Chocolate coated, freaky and and habit forming.
Doin' it to you in 3-D,
So groovy that I dig me.
Once upon a time called Now!
Somebody say, "Is there funk after death?"
I say, "Is Seven Up?"
Yeah, P-Funk!

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I studied silence to learn the music
I joined the sinful to regain innocence

 

From "Dead to the world" by Nightwish. I don't listen to it much anymore, but that bit always stuck with me. 

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Apologies, it’s Bowie again (and more than just a few lines!).

I love the opening lines/verse to Young Americans. It sets the scene perfectly and is almost like the opening lines to a novel or a screenplay... 

“They pulled in just behind the bridge
He lays her down, he frowns
‘Gee my life's a funny thing, am I still too young?’
He kissed her then and there
She took his ring, took his babies
It took him minutes, took her nowhere
Heaven knows, she'd have taken anything, but...”

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9 hours ago, paul_5 said:

“Nw I guess I’ll have to tell ‘em

That I got no cerebellum”

Joey Ramone’s finest, courtesy of ‘Teenage Lobotomy’.

One of my favourites too,........

.........but (pedant on) I think that was a Dee-Dee Ramone lyric (and music).

As I understand it: if the Ramones song is about love etc then it's probably Joey.... all the Geeks, Cretins, Lobotomies and general Ramones-world stuff are probably Dee-Dee.

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From "Don't Rain On My Parade"

But whether I'm the rose
Of sheer perfection
Or freckle on the nose
Of life's complexion

 

 

 

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I'm a huge fan of Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy)  when it comes to lyrics,  there are many.  But I've always loved the sting in the tail that he put at the end of Under The Gun.

forget the many steps to heaven 
it never happened and it ain't so hard 
happiness is a loaded weapon and a 
short cut is better by far 
explosive bolts, ten thousand volts 
at a million miles an hour 
abrasive wheels and molten metals 
it's a semi-automatic, get in the car 
corrosive heart and frozen heat 
we're worlds apart where we could meet 
where the street fold round and the motors start 
and the idiot wields the power 
where the chosen hold the highest card 
on the field of honour where the ground is hard 
so the highest hand is joking wild 
and the house soon fold and no-one stand 
I put my finger on and dialled 
the tower, the moon, the gun, and 
nine nine nine, singer down 
cloudburst and all around 
the first are last, the blessed get wired 
the best is yet to come 
I put my finger on and fired 
heat-seeking, out of the sun 
you can set the controls for the heart or the knees 
and the meek'll inherit what they damn well please 
get ahead, go figure, go ahead and pull the trigger 
everything under the gun 

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One from Tom Lehrer

Sleep, baby, sleep, in peace may you slumber,
No danger lurks, your sleep to encumber.
We've got the missiles, peace to determine,
And one of the fingers on the button will be German.
 
Why shouldn't they have nuclear warheads?
England says no, but they all are soreheads.
I say a bygone should be a bygone,
Let's make peace the way we did in Stanleyville and Saigon.
 
Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Earbrass said:

"He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat,
To view his collection of stamps;
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
The wine, his cigar, and the lamps:"

from "Have Some Madeira M'Dear" by Flanders and Swann

Peerless genius. The Slow Train works as a poem in its own right.

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