Tag Archives: Lyrics

Lyrics Volume 4: Misheard Lyrics

For Volume 1, click here.
For Volume 2, click here.
For Volume 3, click here.

In this edition of Lyrics, we’re going to discuss my favourite misheard lyrics.

Back in 1999, Thrush Hermit released their defining record, Clayton Park. During the opening track, they had what is perhaps the best lyric.

If I were Phyllis, I’d take a bullet and impress my friends.

Who is this Phyllis chick that randomly takes bullets to impress her friends. I’d like to know a bird like that. Turns out it was:

If I was fearless, I’d take a bullet and impress my friends.

Not nearly as awesome.

Next we have a song by Kingston’s The Inbreds called “Amelia Earhart.” Mike O’Neill sings:

I know she’s safe
because she’s an excellent alligator

Since when was Amelia Earhart an alligator? Well, why not, she should be, Amelia Earhart surely is one of the coolest women in history… and if she wants to be an alligator, all power to her! Oh, what? She’s not an alligator?

I know she’s safe
because she’s an excellent navigator

Well, that’s slightly disappointing.

Lyrics volume 3

For volume 1, click here.
For volume 2, click here.

On Friday night I went to see $100 at the Horseshoe Tavern, and I knew right then that I should include them in this ongoing series of awesome lyrics.

With only one album, one EP, and two seven inch records in their limited catalogue, there’s not much to choose from, but the it seems nearly every song has something worth talking about. Whether it’s songs about the hostile relationship between mother and her transexual son, self-righteous men who impose their beliefs on a lesbian couple, suicide on the TTC, or sloppy lovers, it’s easy to find something to talk about.

Instead of these, I chose the song “Fourteen Hour Day,” which is a tale of a woman and her husband, a miner in Timmins. Wishing to be able to lay down with her husband, when he’s busy working a fourteen day as the foreman in the mine. They spend their years toiling away, hoping for something better, until the end.

There’s a dip here in the mattress,
Beside me where you lay.
I can’t bear to lie here, oh I weep my night away,
You know I weep my night away.

I’ll grab that shovel darling,
March up to your grave.
Dig a hole right next to yours and next to you I’ll stay,
Yeah, next to you I’ll stay.

The pure sadness and desperation of hers is heartbreaking.

How does one end an era? John Lennon did it with a simple statement.

I don’t believe in Beatles

Lyrics volume 2

For volume one, visit here.

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Years and years and years ago I made a friend online. A really pretty older woman, who sent me cassettes in the mail, and eventually would go record shopping with me. She showed me the wonder that is Rotate This (I later fell out of love with that place. <3 Criminal), and I showed her the wonders of The Vinyl Museum.

One of those cassettes she sent this young boy had a live Velvet Underground record on one side which was enjoyed, but the other side was a masterpiece; If You’re Feeling Sinister. Those ten songs were incredible, and I couldn’t get enough. I bought every EP they released, I bought every record I could get my hands on (there were only three, and Tigermilk hadn’t yet been widely released). I even bought a sleeve for £1 from Jeepster’s website to slide over my copy of Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane and 3…6…9 Seconds of Light. I bought every Looper record, every Gentle Waves record. I even have a 7″ Gentle Waves record with a “Evensong” en français. I got a bit obsessed. I bought all the records, EPs, and singles I could get my hands on by every artist on Jeepster. Which wasn’t much, just Belle & Sebastian, their satellite bands, Snow Patrol, and Salako.

Why was I so obsessed? I have no idea. Maybe it was strange Stuart Murdoch’s voice, maybe it was their happy-go-lucky music, matched to depressing lyrics. Maybe it was the characters he wrote about; the strong women, completely in their element, always sure of themselves; the shy and awkward men with no understanding of their place in the world. I guess that leads us into the lyric that I chose:

Sebastian you’re in a mess.
You had a dream they called you king of all the hipsters,
Is it true or are you still the queen?

I like this for a number of reasons. It’s funny, in three quick lines, Murdoch sets up the major player in the story, and it’s the perfect embodiment of 1990s Belle & Sebastian.

I’m going to shatter your world here… Gentleman Reg is gay. Yes, you heard it here first, the man responsible for “The Boyfriend Song” is into blokes, the man who sang “All that I thought about for the longest time, but he’s untouchable” is gay. I know… SHOCKING.

(I apologize in advance to any family members who might be reading this, you probably don’t need to know this.)

I’m going to shatter your world, once again… I like sex. Yes, sex is fun, and I enjoy it. Odd though, I say this, and yet my current Facebook profile picture might lead you to believe I never want sex again. We do all after all know that Star Trek is the antithesis to sex.

For some reason it seems that gay musicians seem to write about sex and their sexuality more than straight musicians. Sure there’s “I Like Big Butts” or “Poker Face,” but those don’t get into the reality of love and sex. Gentleman Reg is deep gaze between two lovers, Lady Gaga is the cheesy moaning of a bad ’80s porno.

The way Gentleman Reg describes this brief moment between two lovers is perfection.

I receive the nicest gift
It’s for my eyes to scan
I respond with my hand
Giving you shivers

P.S. Elton John’s also a gay.
P.P.S. Nothing is less sexy than Leonard Nimoy.

Lyrics volume 1

So, I thought I’d start an ongoing journey into why I like lyrics, and lyricists.

We’re going to start with a gentleman named Stephin Merritt who fronts the band The Magnetic Fields. If you’ve known me for more than 15 minutes, you’ve surely heard me espouse the merits of Stephin Merritt. (har!) The Magnetic Fields are pretty fantastic, their music is smart, and funny. They gained much notoriety in 1999 when they released their triple album 69 Love Songs, which lives up perfectly to the name. Since then they’ve released i, an album in which every song starts with the letter ‘i’ and Distortion, a record covered from head to toe in… distortion. The lyric is simple, from the song “I Don’t Believe You” from their album i.

So you’re brilliant, gorgeous, and ampersand after ampersand

I have before been given funny looks when I’ve claimed that this lyric alone proves Merritt’s poetic ability, so I’ll go further into it. In those eight simple words we have so much context to the story. The venom drips off the words (figuratively), there’s so much spite and hatred in those lyrics, and the You who is being sung to is a pompous, self-righteous, vein douche.

We all remember Sloan, they were pretty great. They released an absolutely brilliant album called Between The Bridges in 1999, which is among my favourite records of all time. They also released a record called  Smeared, back in the day when they thought they were a grunge band. That didn’t work out for them, or their record label, but that’s another story for another day.

They’ve been a mainstay for Canadian music for 15+ years now, and introduced the rest of Canada to a shitload of brilliant music, including Thrush Hermit, The Super Friendz, Local Rabbits and many more.

Smeared featured a song called “Median Strip,” it’s not a great song, but it has one of their best lyrics ever.

Point came for you to be Glenn Close to me

There’s really not much to say about this lyric, other than, YES! Perhaps also, “remember when Glenn Close came onto the board? Good times.”

Coming up in volume 2, more music.