Lyrical things you like


I like it when there are time jumps in songs, or when songs tell a story that lasts a long time.

like this drive by truckers song where he’s singing about his ancestors moving to america and then he sings about meeting his wife.

or this paul kelly song, where a boy grows up and has a child and its heartbreaking

or this paul kelly song

or that bit in bradman by paul kelly where he says

now shadows they grow longer and there’s so mush more yet to be told
but we’re not getting any younger, so let the part tell the whole

paul kelly does it a lot. drive by truckers do it a lot too.

makes me cry.



Not sure if this counts but love the jump backwards in time from the second REM album to REM fighting in the American Civil War (?)


I like it when the lyrics of the song have the word ‘stop’ in and the music stops at the same time. Also when someone hesitates before singing the word hesitate.


The judicious use of repetition. For example, the bit in I Want To Be Well by Sufjan where he sings “I’m not fucking around…” over and over the top of the “I want to be well” refrain.


References to “between your house and mine”


i also like that

this is a good thing like that where he’s singing about missing a beat and misses a beat. dont know if this a similar thing actually. oh well.


Similar is when the drums come when Bob Pollard sings “You just have to join in on this song” in this.


Good thread.

I like it when the album title comes from a lyric in one of the verses (and the lyric is not the name of the song), even better if it’s not a single.


hmmm… I’ll have to have a think about this. which is good, because I haven’t thought about lyrics for a bit, and I would kind of like to try getting back into that mindset.

I like it when lyrics are somewhat oblique, without being entirely stream of consciousness. when a subject or story is woven from the outside in, hinted at with layers of detail.

perfect example:


dig this verse, tho. the build is just… it’s as good as anything I’ve ever heard in song.

A black sheep boy dissolves
In hot cream
In sweet moans
In each dead bed and empty home
In each seething bacterium
Killing softly and serial
He lifts his head, handsome, horned, magisterial
He’s the smell of the moonlight wisteria
He’s the thrill of the abecedarian
(See the muddy hoof prints where he carried you?)






That whole stop thing reminds me of the middle of this (although it’s not a ‘stop’)


that’s a beautiful song. I’ve not heard that before.


ah really? glad to introduce you to it. some great words in there - abecedarian, diapason…

love that whole album. all spun out from a cover of this beaut


I like a lyric that takes a while to decipher. Like, it’s written from some mad angle that’s completely impenetrable the first few times you hear it, and then you work a few bits out and suddenly the whole thing falls into place and the song now has a brand new meaning. Like solving a crossword clue, really. Satisfying. Half man half biscuit are good for this kind of thing, REM as well to a certain extent


best :


I like it when lyrics are somewhat oblique, without being entirely stream of consciousness. when a subject or story is woven from the outside in, hinted at with layers of detail.

i think i like that too. yerman from protomartyr does it well i think, and kristin hersh, without being as pretty as those lyrics you posted.

but my brain generally ignores lyrics until it gets hooked by something, and with that style of writing i’m probably missing 90% of intent. with linear story songs i’m already thinking about the story and then my brain will automatically start figuring out if there are more interesting things going on under the surface layer.

i dont have that thing that some people have where they feel the need to decipher things, dunno what any of the songs off ys are about and that’s one of the best albums ever.

dunno if i agree or disagree


I mean, somewhat oblique is the key.

I was thinking to myself, so why don’t I like some of Joanna Newsom’s lyrics all that much?, and… I mean, I don’t know really. sometimes they’re just too fussy and ornate, like she’s crammed too many old timey words in there or it requires deeper attention than you get by just listening normally.