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Story Songs

So, Ged got us started off with this whole Story-Song idea...

So, Ged got us started off with this whole Story-Song idea, and I want to thank him for coming up with the idea! Ged is awesome!

The basic premise as Ged twittered is simple, favorite songs that tell a story. Ged listed his five, and man, great list!

Coming up with 5 songs that have fantastic lyrics that tell a story, especially when that story adds to the overall essence of the song, was more difficult than I thought. Paring down the list took me some time.

  1. Simon & Garfunkel – He Was My BrotherFrom the classic, if under-appreciated, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM — this is my Simon and Garfunkel pick. And I’m a HUGE Simon & Garfunkel fan, so this was really, really tough.
    He was my brother Tears can’t bring him back to me He was my brother And he died so his brothers could be free
    The song is about a murdered “freedom writer,” and it was written by Paul in 1963. “He Was My Brother” was later dedicated to Andrew Goodman, a classmate of the duo, and one of the slain civil rights activists from Freedom Summer in 1964. Melodically, this is pure folk. Lyrically, it evokes what I can only imagine must have been a very real part of the era. My parents were in college in 1964 (or, my dad was — my mom started in 1965 I think), but neither were really involved in any movements.
  2. Counting Crows – Anna BeginsFrom August and Everything After, one of my favorite albums of all time, is a great song about falling in love, despite denying it, despite claiming you aren’t ready.
    This time when kindness falls like rain It washes her away and Anna begins to change her mind “These seconds when I’m shaking leave me shuddering for days” she says. And I’m not ready for this sort of thing
    After finally realizing that it is love, the relationship is over, and you aren’t ready for it to end. I don’t know, I love this song.
  3. Dashboard Confessional – Hands DownFrom the So Impossible EP and later A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, before this song was the emo anthem for a bunch of annoying teenagers who don’t know how to act at a concert and almost cause me to go postal on their asses, it was a song that had very, very real semblance in my own life, specifically the summer of 2002.
    My hopes are so high, that your kiss might kill me. So won’t you kill me, So I die happy.
    It is quite simply the story of a great date, from beginning to end. It’s nothing that fantastic or life-changing, unless you can relate to it on a personal level. And then the lyrics are perfect. Personally, I think Chris Carraba is one of the most amazing lyricists, even if that does get marred by his annoying fan base.
  4. Guster – Airport SongGuster is another band that I have a hard time just choosing one song. “Airport Song”, from 1998’s Goldfly, was the band’s first modest radio hit, and probably the song most people first heard by the band. It’s about joining a cult, from the POV of the cult leader.
    Put to bed the son and sister moon Ill be hiding in your dirty room Ill go there seeking only what I need La ti da we’ll stay there till we bleed
    The line, “you’ll be selling books at the airport” is always one of my favorites — because we’ve all seen those Hari Krishna freaks or whoever doing that stuff. Like most Guster songs, the melody betrays the lyrics, which are darker and more sinister than what the sound suggests.
  5. Bruce Springsteen – The RiverWithout a doubt, one of the greatest story songs of all time. Released in 1980, though written earlier as “The Ties That Bind,” Springsteen has said this was one of his breakthrough songs and one of the tracks that led to Nebraska, his evocative narrative album.
    Now those memories come back to haunt me They haunt me like a curse Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true Or is it something worse
    The song is such a great story of life, especially when things happen that are unplanned and unexpected. It’s just such a gorgeous and sorrowful song. Fantastic really.
    Check out these other “Story Song” bloggers: David Miller (@daveobe) Living in the Now David Schultz (@dvsjr) The (mis)adventures of a macintosh administrator Mike Schramm (@mikeschramm) Dave Caolo (@panache) Hardcore Geek Von Glitschka (@vonster) Glitschka Studios Andy Rudkin (@mizaru) Austin Heller (@austinheller) Mason Sklar (@zargap) Allen Emory A. Emory Alain Edouard (@alainedouard) Mark Goody (@marramgrass) marramgrass Jamie Parkins The Sound of Silence


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September 2008
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3 people have left comments

Gedeon Maheux - Gravatar

Gedeon Maheux said:

Nice choices there Christina! The Springsteen one is one of my favorites as well, glad to see it made it onto someone’s list. Hope you had fun, thanks for joining in!

Posted on: September 3, 2008 at 10:31 pmQuote this Comment
Mark - Gravatar

Mark said:

Anna Begins is one of the most achingly beautiful songs I know, especially on the VH-1 cut. Good call.

Posted on: September 4, 2008 at 6:22 amQuote this Comment
Favorite ‘Story Songs’ - Gravatar

Favorite ‘Story Songs’ said:

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