Lyrical Poetry set to Music

As I have made no secret, I am not a big fan of poetry. I love Haiku in all it’s forms, but I find strict-double-down-nitty-gritty poetry to be unctious (don’t you LOVE that word?!). Those modern-day beatniks who spout their ideals with a backdrop of music just make me want to laugh while puking. If you want a good example, go here: Levi the Poet’s “Resentment”.

See what I mean? Wow. I must say though, my 18 year old son, Strat, LOVES him. Ugh.

But this is my point: some song lyrics are pure poetry, and I love them. Here are two snippets from Jack Johnson’s “Taylor”:

They say Taylor was a good girl
never one to be late
complain express ideas in her brain
Working on the night shift
passin out the tickets
you’re gonna have to pay her
if you want to park here.
Well mommy’s little dancer’s
quite a little secret
working on the streets now
never gonna keep it.
It’s quite an imposition
And now she’s only wishin’
That she would have listened
To the words they said.
Poor Taylor.
See? That is a story in itself, and only the first stanza of the song. Poor Taylor, indeed. Her future was so bright and now she’s only wishin’ that she would have listened. Haven’t we all experienced that hindsight?
 
The second stanza is even better:
 
Peter Patrick pitter patters on the window
And Sunny Silhouette won’t let him in
and poor old Pete’s got nothin ’cause he’s been fallin’
but somehow Sunny knows just where he’s been
He thinks that singin’ on a Sunday’s gonna save his soul
but now that Saturday’s gone
Well sometimes he thinks that he’s on his way
but I can see, that his break lights are on
There is nothing better to describe some phases of life than to say, “sometimes he thinks that he’s on his way but I can see that his break lights are on.” Indeed.
 
Other stories and poetry in songs from my day belong to Paul Simon and Don Henley. I still love “Last Worthless Evening” from the latter. I waited all my life for a man to tell me that this was the last worthless evening I’d ever spend. Matchbox 20’s lyric from “If You’re Gone” is still the most romantic phrase in music: “There’s a little bit of something me in everything in you.”
 
This is the true poetry set to music. Not some rambling, stacatto, angst-ridden, self-mutilating, self-righteous young adult who doesn’t appreciate the liberty he has to post his unctious videos. and I say again: Ugh.
 

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