When Lyrics Speak: the Singer/Songwriter connection
When Spence first asked me to become a contributor here at ATWN, I was both honored and excited. And in that moment, I knew without a doubt that my first post would have to be about one band—my favorite of all-time, the one that’s held my heart through the years, the one who earned the first tip of my glass (err…post?)—only the more I thought about it, the more another, more interesting question popped into my mind.
Why them? Why have they stayed with me? Why even now can I listen to their old and new albums on repeat and rarely skip a song?
And as I jumped down the rabbit hole of self-reflection, one LARGE, glaring thing jumped out at me.
Those are the albums that typically stay with me, the ones that move me the most. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good, catchy single just as much as the next person, but when it comes to not just a single song, but an entire album, the ones I listen to over and over on repeat, the ones that get somewhere deep inside my psyche, the ones that sing to me (pun intended), each has that emotional connection between writer and singer that grabs you right in THE FEELS.
Like a good book, a well written song can transport you. It can turn something around, make you see it from a different angle, it can remind you of the past, the present, or what you hope for your future, it can convict you of something you wish you’d hidden farther away or remind you of that person you haven’t talked to in too long. It’s the very coolest kind of muggle magic.
Here are a few of my favorites through the years:
Band/Artist: Bush (see what I did there?)
Album: Razorblade Suitcase
Song: Straight No Chaser
The Feels: “climb inside you, away from strangers / building a system of alleys and motorways / it’s all in the way that we know we could have it all / some satellites of pain can’t always be ignored / it’s all in the face of what we thought we knew before / war on all sides”
My thoughts: Gavin has a poetic, abstract way of writing that has always spoken to me. The lyrics often fit the mood of the song perfectly, and as you listen to the clip below, you’ll notice it’s very slow, very moody, and very…sad. It’s hard not to feel the melancholy vibe he paints and the song ends on the words “there’s nothing like losing you.”
Band/Artist: Cravin’ Melon
Album: Red Clay Harvest
Song: Hey Sister
The Feels: “she told me all about her life, one lonely night / sadly she thought he hung the moon / she never meant to fall in love with his kind / I hate to tell you, girl, I can’t ease your mind”
My thoughts: Southern rock at its best. I saw this band live too many times to count. And unlike Gavin’s lyrics, theirs are straight forward. If you’ve never been in a bad relationship, then, well, this one probably isn’t for you.
Band/Artist: Toby Lightman
Album: Little Things
Song: Leave it Inside
The Feels: “Trying so hard to make it work out, but I can live without / All of these silly games that I know nothing about / This is getting way out of hand / Fallin down, unable to stand / Emotions I’ve chosen to ignore / Do I know what I’m looking for?”
My thoughts: Toby was the opening act for another band I’d gone to see and one live performance was all it took for me to fall in love with her voice and her words. This album is AH-MAY-ZING.
Band/Artist: Thriving Ivory
Album: Thriving Ivory
Song: Angels on the Moon
The Feels: “I wanna feel, all the chemicals inside / I wanna feel / I wanna sunburn, just to know that I’m alive / to know I’m alive ”
My thoughts: Written after 9/11, this song is hauntingly beautiful, and you can tell by the way lead singer Clayton Stroope sings it that he feels every single, beautiful word. I’ve heard the song and watched the video a million times and have yet to tire of it.
Band/Artist: The Avett Brothers
Album: The Carpenter
Song: The Once and Future Carpenter
The Feels: “Forever I will move like the world that turns beneath me / And when I lose my direction I’ll look up to the sky / And when the black cloak drags upon the ground / I’ll be ready to surrender, and remember / Well we’re all in this together / If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die”
My thoughts: The Avett Brothers continue to move me with their cool, relaxed vibe. It’s mellow, it’s well-written, and it’s easy to listen to on those days you need to be reminded that life’s about more than the rat race.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some albums to revisit.
Until next time…