Exploration: Music – Week 1

A few days ago, I was at the public library when I chanced upon this book: 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die by Ricardo Cavolo. It’s illustrations caught my eye:

IMG_0970

Anyway, so that’s how I decided to start a solo music exploration project. I grabbed one out of my many idle notebooks to jot down my thoughts as I listened to each of these artists. Along the way I found many songs with rather meaningful lyrics and thought to share them here.

This week, I explored 14 different artists. I won’t mention all 14, instead I’m just going to feature the (lyrical) gems I discovered! So this isn’t as much about music as it is about words & lyrics.

Dion & the Belmonts

  • Genre: pop, doo-wop style
  • Real feel-good music that you can’t help but move along to… and with pretty quirky lyrics!
  • I laughed out loud when I heard this verse of The Wanderer:

Oh, well, there’s Flo on my left and there’s Mary on my right
And Janie is the girl, well, that I’ll be with tonight
And when she asks me which one I love the best?
I tear open my shirt and I show Rosie on my chest

I mean… I’m not encouraging playboy behaviour, but the humour embedded in the lyrics was a pleasant surprise!

 

Bad Religion

  • Genre: Punk rock
  • I just want to shine the spotlight on Punk Rock Song. The song’s catchiness and upbeatness eclipses the meaningfulness of the lyrics. Take a look at the first verse and the chorus:

Have you been to the desert?
Have you walked with the dead?
There’s a hundred thousand children being killed for their bread
And the figures don’t lie they speak of human disease
But we do what we want and we think what we please

This is just a punk rock song
Written for the people who can see something’s wrong
Like ants in a colony we do our share
But there’s so many other fuckin’ insects out there
And this is just a punk rock song

There was a period of time, a couple of years back, when I was really into punk music. Listening to this just brings me back to those days. Beneath the punk exterior (coloured hair, piercings, and all things badass), punk’s ethos of being free, being yourself, and fighting back against social norms and injustice resonated in me and it’s one reason why I think everyone should have a little Punk in their lives.

 

Oasis

  • Genre: Britpop
  • Anyone who has done a little music exploration on YouTube knows Oasis’ Wonderwall. But I’ve never gone beyond that until now.
  • Oasis’ Crying Your Heart Out is heartfelt and uplifting with it’s chorus and bridge:

‘Cause all of the stars
are fading away
Just try not to worry
You’ll see them some day
Just take what you need
And be on your way
And stop crying your heart out

Get up (get up)
Come on (come on)
Why’re you scared? (I’m not scared)
You’ll never change
What’s been and gone

And a shoutout to their eternal rival, Blur! Discovered Blur from this book as well and I love both of these bands… please don’t make me choose!!

 

The Carter Family

  • Genre: Country/Folk
  • This is probably the most Country I’ve ever listened to. Carter Family’s music makes me feel so merry, it’s no wonder they have the song Keep on the Sunny Side.
Well there’s a dark and a troubled side of life
There’s a bright and a sunny side too
But if you meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view
Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life

 

Bob Dylan

  • Genre: Folk rock
  • NO WONDER he won a Nobel Prize in Literature! His lyrics are exquisite. Plus I love his voice! Here’s a part from Forever Young. I feel this song of his perfectly summarises what I want to write on every birthday card I give:
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
(Sorry I couldn’t resist copying and pasting the entire song lyrics.. haha)
Well that’s the end of my Week 1 installation of music exploration! Look forward for more to come the next few weeks.
Also, I feel kinda bad because there were some artists among the 14 that produced music without lyrics, and although they had nice songs I didn’t mention them because.. well, I wanted my posts to highlight the awesome lyrics in some songs.
So maybe on my very last week after I’ve explored all 101 artists I’ll do a post about those songs without lyrics 🙂
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