Author Topic: Brilliant lyrical couplets  (Read 3766 times)

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polkablues

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Brilliant lyrical couplets
« on: November 07, 2005, 03:21:58 AM »
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I've recently been noticing a trend in a lot of the music I listen to: clever rhyming couplets.  Here, then, is a repository for all the cleverest pairs of lines you've ever heard (four lines work too; I can't think of the literary term for that, though).

Placebo are couplet gods:

"I wrote this novel just for you/
It sounds pretentious, but it's true"
-"Blue American"

"Always stays the same, nothing ever changes/
English summer rain seems to last for ages"
-"English Summer Rain"

"Any means in your horizon, heaven in a tourniquet/
The afterlife to keep your eyes on, bitter pill you take today"
-"Allergic (to Thoughts of Mother Earth)"

"Like the naked leads the blind/
I know I'm selfish, I'm unkind/
Sucker love, I always find/
Someone to bruise and leave behind"
-"Every Me Every You"

"Beauty lies inside the eye of another youthful dream/
That doesn't sell its soul for self-esteem"
-"Plasticine"

Ryan Adams has his share of winners:

"'Cause I feel just like a map without a single place to go of interest/
I'm further north than south, if I could shut my mouth she'd probably like this"
-"My Winding Wheel"

"Nothing breathes here in the cold, nothing moves or even smiles/
I've been thinking some of suicide, but there's bars out here for miles"
-"Dear Chicago"

"You and I used to shine like a jewel/
But time's been nothing to us but cruel"

"If we were nothing and we're only the past/
Well I'm just living in a dream, I guess"
-"Sweet Illusion"

David Poe

"So I found the way to California/
It was your last great shot/
When you're on your way to kingdom come/
California was as close as you got"
-"California"

"My sister used to get high, she used to make a sound/
Now she's sweet and low, when he's around"
-"Reunion"

"Think of all the time you spent/
Making rent/
And miracles/
That came and went/
But she's so fucked and beautiful"
-"Settlement" (...that one broke my rules a little)

Bright Eyes (I could fill this whole thread with examples from Bright Eyes songs)

"We made love on the living room floor/
With the noise in the background from a televised war"
-"Landlocked Blues"

"Are you the love of my lifetime, 'cause there's been times I've had my doubts/
We were just kids when I first kissed you in the attic of my parents' house"
-"You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will."

June Panic

"It's a lonely kind of smart/
That keeps them apart"
-"David Poe"

Green My Eyes (the self-serving portion of the evening)

"Damn, girl, you must be made of stone; to hear me piss and moan/
You'd think I plan to spend my entire fucking life alone"

"But it's okay, I don't exist/
I'm just a slowly moving mist/
A single cell that won't divide/
I'm just a twinkle in your eye"
-"Damn, Chelsea"

"I've seen the love between two grow/
When sabotage is all they know"
-"Sabotage Is All They Know"

"He remembered her sing of such true things/
The sadness that love always brings"
-"My Phantom Limb"

"Stumbling through days one at a time/
A willing partner in your life of crime/
Just wise enough to rise above/
And realize that we are here for love"
-"Tendency to Exist"

So you get the idea.  Now share your favorites.  Spread the word.  The lyrics don't have to meaningful, as long as they're clever enough that you don't care.

Oops, I almost forgot my all-time favorite (more Placebo):

"I'm unclean, a libertine/
And every time you vent your spleen/
I seem to lose the power of speech/
You're slipping slowly from my reach"
-"Without You I'm Nothing"
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Just Withnail

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2005, 07:36:52 AM »
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Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure
Did she understand it when they said
That a man must break his back to earn his day of leasure
Will she still believe it when he's dead
- Beatles, Girl
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Gamblour.

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2005, 03:23:57 PM »
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Those are great, but they aren't couplets.

A
A
B
B

Jay-Z
I heard "Son do you know why i'm stoppin' you for?"
Cause i'm young and i'm black and my hats real low
Do i look like a mind reader sir, i don't know
Am i under arrest or should i guess some mo'?
"Well you was doin fifty-five in a fifty-fo' "

D.A. tried to give the nigga shaft again
Half-a-mil for bail cause i'm African

You know the type loud as a motor bike
But wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight

-99 Problems
WWPTAD?

JG

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2005, 05:10:18 PM »
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Cut this picture into you and me
Burn it backwards kill this history
Make it over make it stay away
Or hate’ll say the ending that love started to stay

 or...

There’s a kid a floor below me saying brother can you spare
Sunshine for a brother old man winter’s in the air
Walked me up a story asking how you are
Told me not to worry you were just a shooting star

or...

It’s a picture perfect evening and I’m staring down the sun
Fully loaded deaf and dumb and done
Waiting for sedation to disconnect my head
Or any situation where I’m better off then dead



--elliott smith, sweet adeline



cron

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2005, 08:23:55 PM »
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i actually dislike placebo for their rhymes, and the voice . they are lazy i think.  i can't remember in which magazine i read that you could rhyme most of  'sleeping with ghosts' lyrics with 'french fries'
context, context, context.

RegularKarate

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2005, 09:12:56 PM »
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I agree... I don't get why people think Placebo are good... maybe I haven't heard the right songs, but the ones I have heard are real shit and the lyrics are at least half the reason.


noyes

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2005, 08:39:38 AM »
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like every elliott smith song has at least one incredible rhyming couplet.

"I've never been to Minnesota, still I'd love to live in Maine
Never been to Salamanca, still I'd love to live in Spain"

Devendra Banhart, Lagoon

etc.
south america's my name.

picolas

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2005, 01:22:10 PM »
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Calamine,
You're a pal o' mine.

MacGuffin

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2006, 01:41:07 PM »
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U2's 'One' Voted Britain's Favorite Lyric

LONDON - The Irish band U2 has given Britain its favorite song lyric, according to a survey released Monday.
 
The line "One life, with each other, sisters, brothers" from the 1992 song "One" topped a poll conducted by music channel VH1.

Runner-up was the downbeat "So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry, and you want to die" from The Smiths' "How Soon is Now."

A line from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" — "I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now, entertain us" — came third. Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and Coldplay's "Yellow" took fourth and fifth places.

The top 10 was a mix of the affirmative and the acerbic, ranging from Robbie Williams' uplifting "Angels" — "And through it all she offers me protection, a lot of love and affection, whether I'm right or wrong" — to Radiohead's sour "Creep."

More than 13,000 people participated in the poll on the station's Web site, choosing from a list of 100 lyrics selected by music industry figures.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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godardian

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2006, 02:18:05 PM »
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The voters must have been idiots. Not only is that line not even the best one from "How Soon is Now?" but any line in that song is better than any line from "One." To top it all off, there are many U2 songs with better lyrics than "One." Whatever.

Just off the top of my head:

"In your broken home, he broke all your bones
Now you're taking it time after time" - Suede, "Animal Nitrate"


"And when the clothes are strewn
Don't be afraid of the room" - David Bowie, "Lady Grinning Soul"

"Sukie was the kid, she liked to hang out at the art school
She didn't enroll, but she wiped the floor with all the arseholes" - Belle and Sebastian, "Sukie in the Graveyard"

...and of course...

"Pasolin is me
Accatone you'll be" - Morrissey, "You Have Killed Me"

and

"The youngest was the most loved
The youngest was the cherub
We kept him from the world's glare
And he turned into a killer" - Morrissey, "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

I Love a Magician

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2006, 07:15:51 PM »
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"You got to tell me brave captain
why are the wicked so strong
How do the angels get to sleep
when the Devil leaves his porchlight on"

Tom Waits is awesome.

cron

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 07:27:55 PM »
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i think my favorite piece of lyrics is and will always be british sea power's carrion's chorus

oh the heavy water how it enfolds
the salt, the spray , the gorgeous undertow
always, always, always the sea
brilliantine mortality.


and i also like a part of the libertines' good old days

i've tried so hard to keep myself from falling
back into my bad old ways
and it chars my heart to always hear you calling,
calling for the good old days
cos there were no good old days
these are the good old days
context, context, context.

polkablues

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2006, 08:26:18 PM »
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I've been digging the Decemberists recently:

I found you, a tattooed tramp
A dirty daughter from the labor camps
I laid you down in the grass of the clearing
You wept, but your soul was willing

-"We Both Go Down Together"

And Brandi Carlile:

Tomorrow I'll be lying under you
With a heart of gold and arms to fall into
I know that there might come a day
where my life is through
But I just want to be closer to you

-"Closer To You"

And the best lyric of all time, from Tool:

If, when I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay
You minimize my movement anyway
I must persuade you another way

-"Pushit"
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Gamblour.

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2006, 11:39:24 AM »
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And the best lyric of all time, from Tool:

If, when I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay
You minimize my movement anyway
I must persuade you another way

-"Pushit"

Glad to see your enthusiasm for Tool. I don't think the meaning of that lyric is not anything compared to the cadence and the internal rhyme and the way Maynard sings it. It is one of my favorite Tool lyrics as well, but not for its meaning. It's so powerful and he's screaming it out to the universe, really beautiful, actually.

For the Decemberists, I think anything from the Mariner's Revenge Song or especially the Sporting Life are my favorite lyrics:
"There’s my father looking on
And there's my girlfriend arm in arm
With the captain of the other team
And all of this is clear to me
They condescend and fix on me a frown
How they love the sporting life"
WWPTAD?

godardian

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Re: Brilliant lyrical couplets
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 01:18:13 PM »
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Good call on "Carry On," cronopio.

As for "One" being considered to have the best lyrics, Morrissey apparently said from the stage last night (in Salford), "Bono beat me to number 1 in a poll of lyrics. I mean, he's nice, but come on!"

Actually, I'm much more surprised to hear the big M say he thinks anyone's nice than that he thinks he's the best lyricist. I mean, that's something even people who don't like his musical direction are usually honest enough to admit.

So, we're really not sticking with couplets anymore, are we?

From "L. Wells" by Franz Ferdinand (currently my favorite song):

"In the bright cold air
You seem as innocent and fair
As Rita Tushingham in 1961"

and

"LP records in your little hands
Put them on your little Dansette for a dance
All those men sing, 'You'll never walk alone'
But you'll never let them break your little heart"

The English and their fellow UK dwellers can keep their stupid royalty, but I've always wanted to be English just for that innate pleasure and playful joy they seem to take in words. If you were wondering why 99.9% of any lyrics I post here will be from a UK band, that's why. Americans don't do words like the English, not by a long shot. American lyrics always sound doggedly one-dimensional and literal-minded (yet somehow simultaneously vague) in comparison. I will say that Fountains of Wayne's Welcome Interstate Managers brings a great U.K. pop-song tradition to American themes, which I thought worked marvelously.

The Rita Tushingham bit could only mean:



And I don't know how I knew what a Dansette was, but in case you don't:




""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

 

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