Song Lyrics

The best lyrics writer around (to me) is Suzanne Vega. Brian Vander Ark of the Verve Pipe did a fabulous job on "Underneath." Eminem may be a horrible person, but "The Eminem Show" boasts some superb lyrics. Bad Religion manages occasionally, as does Henry Rollins.

i don't need to be a global citizen
because I'm blessed by nationality
i'm a member of a growing populace
we enforce our popularity
there are things that
seem to pull us under
and there are things
that drag us down
but there's a power
and a vital presence
thats lurking all around
we've got the american jesus
see him on the interstate
we've got the american jesus
he helped build the
president's estate
i feel sorry
for the earth's population
'cuz so few
live in the u.s.a.
at least the foreigners
can copy our morality
they can visit but they cannot stay
...

-- "American Jesus" from "Recipe for Hate," Bad Religion, 1993.

America!  We love you!  How many people are proud to be citizens of this 
beautiful country of ours?  The stripes and the stars for the rights that
men have died for to protect / The women and men who have broke their necks
for the freedom of speech the United States government has sworn to
uphold.  Or so we're told.

...

See the problem is I speak to suburban kids who otherwise would of never
knew these words exist / whose moms probably never woulda never gave two
squirts of piss, till I created so much motherfuckin' turbulence / straight
out the tube, right into your living rooms I came, and kids flipped when
they knew I was produced by Dre / That's all it took, and they were
instantly hooked right in, and they connected with me too because I looked
like them / that's why they put my lyrics up under the microscope, searchin
with a fine tooth comb, it's like this rope / waitin to choke, tightening
around my throat, watching me while I write this, like I don't like this /
All I hear is: lyrics, lyrics, constant controversy, sponsors working
around the clock, to try to stop my concerts early / surely hip hop was
never a problem in Harlem only in Boston, after it bothered the fathers of
daughters starting to blossom / so now I'm catching the flack from these
activists when they raggin, actin like I'm the first rapper to smack a
bitch or say faggot / shit, just look at me like I'm your closest pal, the
posterchild, the motherfucking spokesman now for White America (chorus)

So to the parents of America I am the derringer aimed at little Erica, to
attack her character The ringleader of this circus of worthless pawns Sent
to lead the march right up to the steps of Congress And piss on the lawns
of the White House and to burn the flag and replace it with a Parental
Advisory sticker To spit liquor in the face of this democracy of hypocrisy.
Fuck you Ms. Cheny!  Fuck you Tipper Gore!  Fuck you with the free-est of
speech this divided states of embarassment will allow me to have, Fuck you!

I'm just kiddin America, you know I love you.

-- "White America" from "The Eminem Show," Eminem, 2002.

Inhale resolve
Exhale ambition
Inhale all I need
Exhale all I want
Inhale love of life
Exhale fear of death
Inhale power
Exhale force

[Chorus]
I have all I need
I can live without
I have all I need
I can live without

Inhale tolerance
Exhale judgement
Inhale what I am
Exhale what I think I am

[repeat Chorus]
Don't hold me down [X3]

Inhale fact
Exhale assumption
Inhale what I want to be
Exhale how I want to be seen

Don't hold me down [X3]

[repeat Chorus]

-- "Inhale Exhale" from "Come In and Burn," Rollins Band, 1997.

the Virgin Mary on a chain
has hit me in the mouth again
as we explore the carnal score
of sacred and profane

-- "It Makes Me Wonder" from "Songs In Red And Gray," Suzanne Vega, 2001.

the reproach in your daughter's most beautiful face
made me wonder just how she could know
of that something that happened between you and me
so much more than a long time ago

her mother, I can see, lives within her still
cause she looked at me with her eyes
though I had only just met her right then
I feel that she peeled back my guilty disguise

did I break the thread, or did you break the thread?
well at this point we could ask who cares
as for the promises broken and frayed
it's 19 years late for repairs

the gray pewter vase held the deep red rose, 
one piece of coral shone white,
by the brass candlestick near your red velvet coat,
is everything I can recall of one night

will you please tell me why I remember these things
after all of this time, I don't know
I must have left all those feelings inside
cause that year I had no courage to show

was I the name you could never pronounce?
or did I even figure at all?
all of this happened before she was born
did I shadow her young pencil marks on the wall

still I am sure I was only but one
of a number who darkened that door
of your home and your hearth and your family and wife
who'd been darkened so often before

oh, the red leaf looks to the hard gray stone
to each other, they know what they mean
somewhere, their future is still yet to come
in ways that are yet as of now unforseen

-- "Song In Red and Gray" from "Songs In Red and Gray," Suzanne Vega, 2001.

But don't worry, mom, I met him in a restaurant
And all this time I've been getting to know him
he's got an ex-wife in Pasadena, and sometimes she's a mess
To deal with, but mostly we've been living here 
Uninjured ...
There's a silence, and she says, "Listen here young lady.  All that matters is
What makes you happy, but you leave this house knowing my opinion won't
Make you love me if you don't care to."
But mom, I'm sending you this photograph, I swear
This one is going to last and all those other bastards
Were only practice!
I feel the sun on my back ...
I smell the earth in my skin ...
I see the sky above me like a full recovery ...
She said "Listen here young lady, All that matters is what makes you happy,
But you leave this house knowing my opinion.  It won't make a difference if you're not ready."

-- "What Makes You Happy" from "whitechocolatespaceegg" by Liz Phair

I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested 
I'd like to think that if I was, I would pass 
Look at the tested and think there but for the grace go I
Might be a coward, I'm afraid of what I might find out.

-- "The Impression That I Get" from "Let's Face It" by The Mighty Mighty 
Bosstones.

Autumn air it carries me there
Less than an hour to go
Six hundred miles an hour
And still it feels so slow
I'm trying to get back to Burlington
To a square in the center of town
To a spot on a wooden table
Where her feet didn't reach the ground
And when she kisses me it tasted like cinnamon
And her skin smells of cider and rose
And when she looked at me we both got quiet
And my heart beats so hard we were in so close
Once for such a beautiful while that still makes me smile
And she called me her ugly American
And I would call her my Canadian flower
And I don't think that we'll ever get there again
We had such power
And she called me her ugly American
And I'll remember my Canadian flower
Especially when the fall comes to Burlington
We were in so close

-- "Canadian Rose" from "Straight On Till Morning" by Blues Traveler.

It's the crack of noon
And I sit here watching you sleeping
I only wish that I could remember your name
But I know it's written on a matchbook somewhere
And maybe I'll find it, and maybe I'll care
Or maybe your'll fix me with one of those stares
And put up a fight
So when you awake I admit I'm relieved
When you flash me a smile like a diamond
And just for a moment I almost believe
In love at first light
I propose a breakfast of coffee and aspirin
You laugh, suggesting a raw egg or two
But oh was it ever so good being bad?
Like a couple of vampires, deliciously mad
Saying this is the best blood that we've ever had
So we drank it all night
And if we untangle the webs that we weave
Then mayber there's room for more laughter
'Cos just for a moment I almost believe
In love at first light
Feeling cold
You put a robe 'round my shoudlers
Smile and pull one of your favourite books form my shelf
Let's opens the curtains and let out the dark
And if the sun doesn't melt us and there's still a spark
And we do something human like walk in the park
The spark could ignite
So maybe I'm moonstruck, or maybe naive
But I know there's a God and a Devil
So maybe I'm crazy enough to believe
In love at first light

-- "Love at First Light" from "Volume 4" by Joe Jackson.

Two weeks away it feels like the world should've changed
But I'm home now
And things still look the same
I think I'll leave it to tomorrow to unpack
Try to forget for one more night
That I'm back in my flat on the road
Where the cars never stop going through the night
To a life where I can't watch the sunset
I don't have time
I don't have time

-- "Sand In My Shoes" from "Life For Rent" by Dido.

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