Top Ten Lines in Songs
Updated: Jan 6
I wanted to make this after doing an opening lines list, I was limited and really wanted to include songs with colossal lines in them but could not,
Now obviously, this is going to be led by my tastes, I would have a crummy time making the list otherwise, and I do not wish for that. Partisanship has its place. I realise there are endless alternatives that could be a lot better. I am happy for you all to do your own and post them below, I would welcome that. Please do so rather than say on Facebook "I think that is a rubbish list".
Also to the hipsters snorting at Springsteen and whatever, I say this: I know you have infinite choices you are sure destroy mine, but I want people to read this and get it, or disagree with me. They can't do that with Japanese import only b-sides by the lead singer of The Liquorice Comfits, or forgotten New Model Army tunes.
10. Bruce Springsteen: Glory Days
" time slips away, and leaves you with nothing Mister, but boring stories of glory days"
Ever met someone years after last seeing them? Remembered them as cool, an Alpha. Then you find that rather than exciting and charismatic, you have found they are living in the past? , I have, I bet you have, and The Boss, he definitely has.
9. Babyshambles: I Love You but You're Green
"Its only blood from broken hearts, writes the words to every song"
Who could sum up something so succinct and so accurately. Peter. This often forgotten classic from the band that, in my opinion, trumps The Libertines nine days a week.
8. Stone Roses: She Bangs The Drums
"Kiss me where the sun don't shine. The past was yours but the futures mine. You're all out of time"
Youth trumps age. Rock and roll in a nutshell. I always fantasised about singing this at my vile bully school music teacher Ms (of course) Mitchell. Whilst flicking the two cold fingers at her. Reminding her that mediocrity and the end was coming for her, while experience and glory was coming for me. Whilst I never did it, thanks to Ian Brown, it still happened.
7. Kate Nash:Foundations
"You said I must eat so many lemon, cause I am so bitter, I said I'd rather be with your friends mate, cause they are much fitter"
Okay it is not Ulysses. Still it is a good laugh and funny and one of the best comebacks I have ever heard! Especially good in Kate's dry and sardonic tone and her spoken-word type delivery. Bit of a curved ball, this one. Not my usual but I do find her rather likeable. Especially since Horrible Histories
6. Morrissey: Every Day is Like Sunday
"This is the coastal town that they forgot to close down Armageddon, come Armageddon! Come, Armageddon Come"
Now I am not from a coastal town. However, the rest fits. From the undisputed lord of disaffected youth. Too young to live somewhere that does not end when the shops shut. Somewhere that will have life, choice, and appeal. Mostly, it made us realise we were everywhere. With the video that perfectly captures a longing for something visceral, that it seemed no-one else in those towns understood. Odd that it came from a man from Manchester of all places. No matter though. It was perfect.
5. Arctic Monkeys: Fake Tales of San Francisco
i) "And yeah, I'd love to tell you all my problem You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham So get off the bandwagon, and put down the handbook" ii) "his bird said it's amazing, though So all that's left Is the proof that love's not only blind but deaf"
It would be remiss of me to deny Mr Turner an entry. The fact is I struggled between two lines of the same song. So i put them both in. The damning of the pretentious behaviour of many bands, adding accents, styles etc to appear of the zeitgeist. The second line is just gold. Manipulating cliched hyperbole into the band's inimitable punchy, acerbic epigrams. Filled with Northern wit, definitely my favourite Alex Turner lyric.
4. John Lennon: Gimme Some Truth
"No short-haired, yellow-bellied son-of Tricky-Dick is gonna Mother Hubbard soft-soap me with just a pocket full 'o hope. Money for dope....money for rope"
Okay it does not sound like a particular great. Just listen to it though. As the great man himself said: "I'm doing Eddy Cochran folks. My voice won't last long". It showed his dexterity. It showed his commitment to his political and musical integrity. Most of all it showed why he is and will always be the greatest musical icon in history. I do not care what purist hipsters like Robert Elms say. John Lennon is the reason why.
3. The Libertines: Narcissist
"Oh wouldn't it be great to be Dorian Grey. Just for a day"
Peter and Carl create a baffling and totally esoteric question that could mean many things and probably does. Soaked in narcotic haze and luscious London-raunch this song bellows the line. Pathos from the history of Doherty and Barat evokes the glory of the already-lost wonder of the band that imploded just as they began. Not the best song, not even close. Maybe the best line though.
2. Pulp: I Spy
"Grass is something you smoke, birds are something you shag: Take your Year in Provence, shove it up your ASS"
This is the. most I have ever agreed with something I don't know the meaning of. That is what is so great about lyrics. You get to decide what they mean. Here, Jarvis meant, for me, that sensory hedonism and post adolescent vices was where life was, and early curfews, homework, and Sunday TV with extended promotional trailers, and the aural stain of Howard's Way music and Last of the Summer Wine, could go and do one. I'm gonna smash a phone box.
The Libertines: Music When the Lights Go Out
Johnny Cash: A Boy Named Sue
Manic Street Preachers: Little Baby Nothing
The Clash: Spanish Bombs
David Bowie: Drive-in Saturday
1. The Smiths: How Soon Is Now?
"There's a club if you'd like to to go, you could meet somebody, who really loves you. So you go and you stand on you own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry and you want to die."
This has to be number one for obvious reason. That being, you either get it or you don't. If you need it explaining, it wasn't meant for you. If you don't then it is crystallising, beautiful, evocative, poignant, and just. Late adolescence blossoming into adulthood underlining that the hurt and solitude is going nowhere. Only Morrissey. That is why, even though he may be a bit of a tit, I will fight his corner till the day I die.