Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do People Prefer Less Meaningful Lyrics?

Perhaps more interesting than the results of a recent VH1 UK poll of 13,000 people, which found U2's "One" was the #1 song lyric, is what this arguably says about people in the UK.

So "One" has popular lyrics, but the BBC asks, "is it profound and meaningful?"

"One life, with each other, sisters, brothers."

They quote Billy Bragg, who has always found lyrics important: "I've always been a content over style man. I do try and put some form of meaning into my lyrics whether it is a love song or a political song."

However, he believes that "It is often the songs that have less meaning that people tend to attach their meaning to, like One - what is it actually about?"

The article notes that people seem to believe the song is "a magically moving piece of music" and it's often played at weddings, despite lyrics such as "I can't be holding on to what you got when all you've got is hurt" which wouldn't seem to bode well for the beginning of a marriage.

Participants in the poll were given a list of 100 lyrics chosen by people in the music industry. The complete top 100 reveals a poor showing for Radiohead's "No Surprises" (97), Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Two Tribes" (86), and even Roxy Music's "Love Is The Drug" (92). Maybe the respondents were given 30 seconds to complete the survey. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Billy Bragg - Must I Paint You A Picture (from Victim Of Geography)

Bob Marley & the Wailers - Redemption Song (from Legend, #4 on the list)


Blogger xolondon said...

That "One" is a total breakup song was not evident to me until I heard Mary sing it. U2 emphasis is on the handsacrossamerica aspects, while she highlights the wearefuckedup aspects.

I can just imagine the holier-than-thou man she is singing to, who thinks he is God's gift:

"Did you come to raise the dead?
Did you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?"

And then this bit, where the dude blathers bullshit to the woman, so she has a go back at him:
"You say
Love is a temple Love's a higher law...
You ask me to enter, and then you make me crawl"

The lyrics are pretty damn good on these bits. But again, Bono sort of swallows it and all you get in one love one love.

5:53 AM  
Blogger trill42 said...

You make an excellent point... the singer makes such a huge difference. Hey, there are some beautiful covers of "...Baby One More Time". A singer can pour their heart into lyrics that hadn't much heart to begin with, make a sweet song read as creepy or vice-versa... there's definitely more to it than just the words...

And though the BBC was pretty harsh on poor, kinda-vague "One", it's hardly the worst-written song of all time.

9:30 AM  

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