Friday, January 8, 2010

Quit being a Troll and pay attention to the lyrics.

So I've always been a fan of lyrics. I never have been able to get into those bands that had a great sound if I didn't connect with what they had to say. I started writing lyrics long before I ever picked up an instrument and the writing has always been the most important thing to me in playing music. To me, music provides the emotional atmosphere for the lyrics, but it is mandatory for me that the words say something that I can connect with. I love that a song can mean something to me entirely independent of what it meant to the person who wrote it, and that it is going to be different for each person who hears it. With that in mind, here is another list for you.

Here are Ten albums with amazing lyrics that you should listen to unless you are a troll who just wants to nod along with the beat. Don't be a troll. Again, this is not a top ten list, but is rather a listing of ten albums that will hopefully plunge you into some uncharted waters and will be impactful in your musical world. Don't settle for songs that say nothing. Dig deeper.

1. Adam Again - Dig
Speaking of Digging Deeper, this is an older album and holds up well with each listen. The lyrics are powerful and aching. I especially appreciate the songs "Dig" and "River on Fire."

2. The Violet Burning - Demonstrates Plastic and Elastic
There are moments on this album that can change who a person is. "Oceana" is particularly poignant, and "Gorgeous" is one of the strongest romance songs I am aware of. It was especially wonderful when, seeing them live, I finally understood that the 'two angels painted blue' were angels tattooed on the inside of each forearm of frontman Michael Pritzl.

3. Aaron Sprinkle - Moontraveler
This is one of the solo albums from the lead guitarist of 'Poor old Lu' and is simply wonderful to listen to and learn from. I also hate the motor cars with racing stripes that keep getting in my way.

4. Tanya Donelly - This Hungry Life
This live, alt-county CD from the former lead singer of 'Belly' has been in heavy rotation in my mix ever since I borrowed it from my friend Dave. "Invisible One" makes me realize how far I still have to go before I get there.

5. Damien Rice - 9
It is hard to say too much about this album. The opening track "9 Crimes" is beautiful and tragic. I can't get enough of the way the male and female vocals intertwine. Don't listen to this album (or really Damien Rice in general) if you are borderline suicidal. He doesn't strike me as a particularly happy human.

6. Pedro the Lion - It's hard to find a friend
Another older album that has stood the test of time. The story of Hosea has never been better than in "of minor prophets and their prostitute wives." An appreciation for sarcasm is a handy thing to have going into this one, particular for songs like "when they really get to know you they will run."

7. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
This is the rare album that marries unbelievable music with equally wonderful lyrics. It's a tough call, but this is my favorite Wilco album thanks to songs like "Either way" and "Please be patient with me." If you could not care any less about lyrics, then you can enjoy this album as my favorite guitar album of all time instead.

8. Daniel Amos - Mr. Buechner's Dream
A double CD with twice the opportunity for lyrical brilliance. Terry Scott Taylor has long been one of my favorite songwriters whether it's his work for the Lost Dogs, Swirling Eddies, Daniel Amos, or his solo work. "The Author of the Story" and "Flash in your Eyes" are two favorites.

9. They Might be Giants - Flood
Fine. Go ahead and mock me. I still think this is a lyrically brilliant album and haven't gotten enough of it in the 20 years since it was released. "Dead", "We want a Rock", and "Whistling in the Dark" still speak to me on some deeper level that I have never been able to successfully explain to anyone else. In 1990, I made a little birdhouse in my soul and have never turned off the nightlight.

10. Centro-Matic - Navigational
"Not Forever Now" will always ring through me, as well as favorites like "Ordinary Days" and "Numbers one and Three." Will Johnson has been a favorite songwriter of mine ever since he stepped out from behind the drum set of the Funland Band. This album is one of his finest, though least appreciated.

Please enjoy good music responsibly.

Many Blessings

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