Monday, January 10, 2005

In appreciation of great songwriters

Catharsis? My arse is capable of more flush.
Exposure just for closure won't accomplish much.
-Gord Downie

I love songwriters who still care about meter, pattern, and their rhyme schemes. The above line by Gord is a fine example. The words just flow. Michael Stipe is another person who really cares about how the words fit together, how they operate as a unit.

The definitive songwriter - the Shakespeare of songwriting, really - is the great Paul Simon:

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
Looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

That is an exerpt from one of his songs, American Tune. It is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. If you've never heard it, go and find it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Simon is great. Check out this verse from "Graceland":

She comes back to tell me she’s gone
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed
As if I’d never notice
The way she brushed her hair from
Her forehead
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

But, as far as Shakespearian? I think Bob Dylan is a bit closer:


You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last.
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun,
Crying like a fire in the sun.
Look out the saints are comin' through
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense.
Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets.
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home.
All your reindeer armies, are all going home.
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor.
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you.
Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you.
The vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
Strike another match, go start anew
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

7:05 AM  

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