Guiding Lyrics

Instead of looking at genres of music, I’m going to look inside some of them, at the lyrics. Some lyrics have helped guide me through life, by giving me a deeper understanding into something, by inspiring me to keep going, by tugging at my heart strings, or otherwise leaving a deep mark within me.

These are “my” lyrics. The lyrics that helped shape who I am, roughly in order of how much they mean to me.

Dave Mattingly: The Musical, Part 12

  • Ages and Ages – Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)Ages and Ages
    • Lyric: “Do the right thing, do the right thing.
      _____Do it all the time, do it all the time.
      _____Make yourself right, never mind them.
      _____Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering.”
    • Memories: The whole song is fantastic, but the oft-repeated chorus drives it home. I’d heard the song and purchased it, but then forgotten about it until it showed up on my playlist as I was driving home from a friend’s funeral. It hit me with exactly the right words at exactly the right time. I probably listened to the song for two hours straight on my drive home. It has become a part of me.
  • Spottiswoode and His Enemies – I’m Back UpSpottiswoode
    • Lyric: “I read my name, and the following lines:
      _____‘Get out, get out. Get away from here.
      _____Don’t look back. Have no fear.’
      _____So I walked away, pace by pace,
      _____’til I felt the sunlight lick my face.” 
    • Memories: The whole song tells a story, and is much better listened to as a whole than as just a few lyrical phrases. We’ve all fallen, whether through our own doing or not, and getting back up can be difficult. Spottiswoode’s allegorical tale of his rescue from the depths is powerful and uplifting.
  • Transplants – D.J. D.J.Transplants
    • Lyric: “Give me a chance to shine, and I’m-a blind the world.
      _____Take a stand and be the voice for those who cannot be heard.”
    • Memories: These lyrics are a great reminder for me that I should not be like everyone else, and that I have a responsibility to others. The chorus’ DIY punk ethos of “We don’t need anyone, and Lord knows we don’t need you” might seem out of place with the (albeit angry) compassion here, but that’s how I grew up seeing the world, too, so I could instantly relate. It’s tough out there, and the little guy (individuality) should lead, or rebel against, the big guy (conformity). To make the world a better place, helping others starts right here with me.
  • Runners Up: INXS
    • King – Unity Song (“They can’t take away what you are.”)
    • Depeche Mode – Get the Balance Right (“Be responsible, respectable, stable, but gullible, sound and caring, help the helpless, but always remain absolutely selfish.”)
    • INXS – Dancing on the Jetty (“Watch the world argue, argue with itself. Who’s gonna teach me peace and happiness?”)
    • Noah and the Whale – Life is Life (“Sick of being someone he did not admire. Took up all his old things, set ’em all on fire. He’s gonna chance, gonna change his ways.”)

Go back to Part 11: Outsider Music or go on to Part 13: Earworms

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