Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Songs as poetry

This recent post from the "professor of Seoul" (He's kinda the James Brown of the literary world) Horace Jeffery Hodges, which gives praise to the song "Green Eyed Lady" but finds that it doesn't work as a poem without music, inspired me to ponder just what songs would work solely as a written poem minus the music.

I've come to the conclusion that it's almost impossible to tell such a thing. Every time I try to recite a song's lyrics, I can't help but hear the melody accompanying the words.

That said, I have still managed to come to the conclusion that Don Maclean's Vincent is probably the best pop song written that could stand alone as a poem.

This is also in the running.


Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

Anything by Yoko Ono. You won't hear the tune in your head -- promise.

May 24, 2006 5:09 AM  
Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

James Brown, eh? Thanks ... I hope ... but I can't do any splits.

Except for that split infinitive the other day.

Oh, and like Brown, my teeth are falling out ... one of them, anyway ... okay, it was pulled out ... and it needn't have been.

(Stupid dentist...)

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

May 24, 2006 5:51 AM  
Blogger stewdog said...

You could go through the lyrics of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Browne and find many songs that could stand alone as poems. That illustrates what is missing in mainstream pop music today. . .the poet as lyricist.

May 24, 2006 7:51 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

How about "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War"? Or "The Late Great Johnny Ace" (Stewdog and Timdog would like that one)? I would agree that Paul Simon comes closest to writing song lyrics that can stand alone as poems. Whether they could be considered particularly good poems is another matter. I'd have to think about that.

On the other hand, where is the wit in song lyrics these days? Paul Simon and Lyle Lovett exhibit some wit occasionally, but Cole Porter they ain't. (I'm probably being unfair to Simon; he has written some pretty sly and ironic lyrics...)

May 24, 2006 8:31 AM  

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