Sometimes a song captures absurdity and hilarity so well you can listen to it anytime and be in a good mood.
Sometimes a song’s lyrics can just be so odd, different, puzzling that you just can’t help but listen over and over, trying to make sense of it. Wondering exactly what the song is actually about.
As a huge Steely Dan fan, I can say that last one is pretty much how I feel about all of their songs.
Great lyrics are an amazing gift. The way they can change how you feel in an instant is magical.
This week’s MixTape is our second to last, I hope you can join us as we create our mixes based on the theme These Lyrics Are Genius! Thank you to our good friend of mixtape who has been one of the most consistent players, Cynthia from That Cynking Feeling for coming up with this topic!
I Will Hold It Up To The Light
I don’t know if I can say I have an anthem. That’s not quite the right word for it. I have a song that comes to me when I am having a hard time.
When I don’t know what I should do, or I do know but I am afraid. A song that reminds me that there is a much bigger picture, a plan even, and sometimes I need to get out of my way.
I first heard this song when I was 25, it was on a compilation CD I purchased. I almost regretted buying it, on a double CD there were only two songs I liked. But in hindsight, paying $14.99 to own this song was cheap considering how many times it has helped me in the last 18 years. (I can’t believe I can say that) And yes, this song also helped me make the decision to put MixTape on hold for a while.
Excerpts from Hold It Up To The Light… ( I promise not to give you this many lyrics again) by David Wilcox
The search for my future has brought me here
This is more than I’d hoped for, but sometimes I fear
That the choice I was made for will someday appear
And I’ll be too late for that flight
It’s too late – to be stopped at the crossroads
Each life here – each a possible way
But wait – and they all will be lost roads
Each road’s getting shorter the longer I stay
I was dead with deciding – I was afraid to choose
I was mourning the loss of the choices I’d lose
But there’s no choice at all if I don’t make my move
And trust that the timing is right
Yes and hold it up to the light
Blame it on Cain – Elvis Costello
And then there’s this one. I can’t believe it, but I used to sing this as a lullaby. There is actually an acoustic version of this song. So don’t worry, I didn’t sing the rockin’ version to him. I kind of knew better.
As a matter of fact the boy is singing it right along with the video now, and he said “Remember when you used to sing this to me?” awwww….
Just listen to the lyrics, I still don’t get them….but my favorite:
I think I’ve lived a little too long on the outskirts of town
I think I’m going insane from talking to myself for too long…
You Part the Waters – Cake
It would be impossible to make this list without a Cake song on it. And it would have been hard to choose. I mean Mr Mastadon Farm? I don’t even know what to say to those lyrics at all….
But the truth is, I love this song so much, there was no other choice. And when you read the lyrics you’d think it was dark and hard rocky, but it’s not, it’s Cake’s own version of fun and horns and poppy.
The first verse:
You part the waters,
The same ones that I’m drowning in.
You lead your casual slaughters,
And I’m the one who helps you win.
You’ve got your grand piano.
You don’t even play piano.
I’m the one who plays piano.
You don’t even play piano.
They Might Be Giants – hmmm… I could basically use any song off of the album Flood. But since I used Someone Keeps Moving My Chair already, I’ll go with We Want A Rock. And no, this song is not about rocking out.
And also. Who doesn’t love a song that starts in the middle of a sentence. Oh wait….
Where was I? I forgot the point that I was making.
I said that if I was smart, I would save up for a piece of string
And a rock to wind the string around.
Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.
Everything You Did – Steely Dan
As I said, pretty much any Steely Dan song could go on a list of lyrics I think are genius and spend way too much time thinking about. This is one of those songs. I really wanted to use Razor Boy but I totally forgot, I used it last week! What?! Yes my brain is that mushy.
But then I thought of this. Have you ever heard there was a feud between Steely Dan and The Eagles? Apparently it wasn’t so much a feud as it was a friendly rivalry. But the story goes that Walter Becker of Steely Dan’s girlfriend loved The Eagles and played them all the time. Apparently it drove him nuts, and one day when they had a fight he came up with this line in the song Everything You Did:
Turn up The Eagles the neighbors are listening.
And The Eagles retaliated with a song you are probably more familiar with, from Hotel California:
They stab it with their Steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast. (and yes, that is how they spell Steely in the lyrics)
Btw, those lyrics are preceded by one of my favorite lines from all Steely Dan songs:
I never knew, you were a roller skater.
You gonna show me later.
And in honor of their only being one more mix after this, I am breaking my own rules. The boy has been singing this song for 3 days so it definitely needs a place on the list.
And the lyrics are genius because, well really…just listen.
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
Have I told you guys how much I appreciate you coming to visit every week? I know a lot of you just come to hear the music, and I love that! I want you to know I appreciate you all so much. And so do all the other mixers who you visit. THANK YOU!
Next week will be our last mixtape for a while, but if you want to know when we come back, join our Twisted MixTape Facebook group by clicking that link.
The theme next week will be: Missing You
Now the rules! Five songs (give or take). Stick to the theme (as best you can). Check out the other players (everyone wants to share their tunes with you). Create a mix, not a “hey look at all the cool songs I know” we’re not snobs, if you were our best bud and you were gonna make us a tape, what would it be?
Now play the music!