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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) MikeSchramm.com Dave Caolo (@panache) Hard­core Geek Von Glitschka (@vonster) Glitschka Stu­dios Andy Rud­kin (@mizaru) mizaru.me.uk Austin Heller (@austinheller) AustinHeller.com Mason Sklar (@zargap) masonsklar.com Allen Emory A. Emory Alain Edouard (@alainedouard) alainedouard.co.cc Mark Goody (@marramgrass) mar­ram­grass Jamie Parkins The Sound of Silence

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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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Posted on: February 23, 2012 at 6:03 pmQuote this Comment