Friday, May 6, 2011

Playlist of the Month: Songs That Are Also Stories!

Quick Update: Finally tackling creative writing in my literature class, with a narrative to finish the year off. Pro: chance to write a non-research essay. Bad: going through a bunch of notes on the basics (point-of-view, rising and falling action) that my “peers” treat like calculus. Grrr.

Song Stuck in My Head: A lot of Paramore right now, actually. But I just found the score for my favorite movie on Youtube, so now the theme song is joining them.

It’s the first week of the month. Time to return to the only segment that SSF has so far managed to keep! That’s right - it’s the fourth ever PLAYLIST OF THE MONTH, peeps. POTM is, of course, a chance to share songs that could very well earn their way into your hearts and your own personal playlist for writing.

Today’s topic: songs that are also stories!

There’s generally two things musicians do when it comes to lyrics and such - either convey some universal, relatable emotions, or paint a picture. Both rule and work. When it comes to a story-songs though, inspiration is sorta just waiting to ignite. The musician will tell their side of the story, and let you finish or expand the full story. So go ahead and let the imagination juices flow.

And let’s help. Here’s my top TEN (as in, twice as many as usual) story-songs. Disclaimer: not all stories are true, of course, such as one about a girl killing her boyfriend, or another about nuclear warfare. No need to panic.

So...are you ready?

Florence + the Machine’s “KISS WITH A FIST” - Taken straight off from the soundtrack my favorite slasher-comedy film, “Jennifer’s Body”, this Florence indie-pop smash follows a rather violent guy and gal experiencing a medical case of lover’s spat. Example lyrics: “You smashed a plate over my head/and I set fire to our bed”.

Blink 182’s “ADAM’S SONG” - And you thought they were just brash punks. This surprisingly thoughtful alternative rock track from the popular pop/rock trio revolves around a guy - let’s just call him Adam - about to commit suicide. However, it doesn’t focus on the pain and torment of emotions. Told from Adam’s perspective, it’s very teenager-ish, talking about the things he's missing out on, and things he's thankful to leave behind. A goodbye. Him asking to give away his things, to fix up his room, and to “tell mom this is not her fault”. It feels like Adam’s closing a chapter - only it’s a one-chapter book. Very sad but more nostalgic than anything else.

Avril Lavigne’s “NOBODY’S HOME” - It wouldn’t be a SSF playlist without Avril! Hehe. Anyhow, serious business. Once upon a time, Canadian guitar \-pop star Avril had a friend. And this friend had wandered an unpleasant path, leaving Avril behind. Avril’s life went on to soar, but her friend’s only got worse. The result: a beautifully sad rock ballad that chronicles the slow but heavy fall of her friend. The music video even portrays a glamorous, famous girl and a lonely, homeless girl’s lives being compared (both of which is played by Avril herself).

Linkin Park’s “THE LITTLE THINGS GIVE YOU AWAY” - No rap/screaming metal beats here. With the mellow, but intense, vibe that LP has been channeling lately, this track’s lyrics was inspired when the band visited the site of Hurricane Katrina. The sorrow and empathy is mixed with the disbelief and resentment with our government. Very intense.

Green Day’s “GIVE ME NOVOCAINE” - Another track about a young teenager’s suicide (wow, isn’t SSF a ball of positive energy today?). This time though, it’s not Adam but St. Jimmy - the protagonist of the rock band’s concept album “American Idiot”. Prior to the track where St. Jimmy actually kicks the bucket is this acoustic number, in which our hero is overdosing on Novocain to “take away the sensation inside”. It’s depression, but numbed.

Phil Collin’s “ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE” - What playlist would this be without one of the classics? Hopefully you all know the legendary Collins, and maybe even know this sad but beautiful song. The lyrics follow strangers as they cross paths with people in need…and keep on walking. They’ve been crying, they need a place to sleep, everything…the fact that life remains unfair for them tells a million stories.

Sick Puppies’ “HOWARD’S TALE” - Oooh, this song - an alt-rock track by my favorite group - may be the heaviest listed. Not just in terms of instruments, but in emotional weight. No mere pain here - the song follows “Howard” as he goes from a relatively normal kid to one whose life is tainted at age nine when he is sexually abused (never actually said, but implied the crap out of). Only he cannot - and will not - tell anyone. Confused and victimized, he can’t function well after. He can’t be with a girl, he lives in denial, he gets expelled from school, everything. The song teasingly ends with an ending that could be interpreted as happy or cruel. Very amazing song.

The Pretty Reckless’ “GOIN’ DOWN” - Actress Taylor Momsen’s rock band that has the energy of the classics had this spunky song on their original EP. The picture it’s painting isn’t pretty. The narrator is at confession, and telling the priest a juicy story about about a cheating lover and her having to “bury him eight feet underground”. Of course, she wants forgiveness, even if it means bargaining with a priest of all people, but she also just wants answers as she’s starting to regret the deed. Very fiery and creative song.

My Chemical Romance’s “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” - Yay, another concept album! Alt-rock/punk group MyChem’s recent album, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” focused on a rock group escaping death during the end of the world (dystopia, anyone?). And this particular song, while ethereal and hypnotic, isn’t as innocent as it seems. The song is about a nuclear bomb about to go off and kill everyone, and is basically a warning to “hold your breath when the black bird flies” and “move your body when the sunlight dies”. However, it'll be a song you can’t resist listening to over and over.

And lastly…

EVERY BOWLING FOR SOUP IN EXISTENCE. You know “Bowling for Soup” right, the comical alt-rock/pop favorite? You probably know one of their hits…like one about a woman way behind in the times (1985) or a geek with a thing for a girl into wrestling and rap metal (Girl All the Bad Guys Want) or even just one about the suckiness of high school in general (High School Never Ends). My absolute favorite is “RUNNING FROM YOUR DAD”. Picture a couple swinging on the porch. Then a picture the girl’s dad running out ready to beat the life out of the boy. Ah, the romance! This song manages to come off as hilarious though.

And there’s today’s lesson! Now time for the discussion questions: what is YOUR favorite song that is only a story in musical form?

Anyhow, only the one blog post this week, but since next week is my last FULL week of school, I decided to conclude the year with a special week of blog posts on…

*drum roll*


So check for that, and have an awesome weekend! I certainly will - about to go to my first dance as a high-schooler, supporting the GLBQT community. Cool stuff.



  1. Treating it like calculus? That sounds absolutely horrific! And I love this POTM! So many songs I used to listen to a lot. And for some reason I never knew that about Avril's song, go figure. Great post!

  2. wow, that Sick Puppies song...*shivers*
    I think my favorite story-song is Nightwish's "Beauty and The Beast"...I was about to start explaining it, but decided just to post the lyrics for you instead...hope you don't mind, :D

    Remember the first dance we shared?
    Recall the night you melted my ugliness away?
    The night you left with a kiss so kind
    Only a send of beauty left behind

    Ah, dear friend I remember the night
    The moon and the dreams we shared
    Your trembling paw in my hand
    Dreaming of that northern land
    Touching me with a kiss of a beast

    I know my dreams are made of you
    Of you and only for you
    Your ocean pulls me under
    Your voice tears me asunder
    Love me before the last petal falls

    As a world without a glance
    Of the ocean´s fair expanse
    Such the world would be
    If no love did flow in thee
    But as my heart is occupied
    Your love for me now has to die
    Forgive me, I need more than you can offer me

    Didn´t you read the tale
    Where happily ever after was to kiss a frog?
    Don´t you know this tale
    In which all I ever wanted
    I´ll never have
    For who could ever learn to love a beast?

    However cold the wind and rain
    I´ll be there to ease up your pain
    However cruel the mirrors of sin
    Remember, beauty is found within

    ...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...

    Does that classify as a "story"?? take care

  3. @Loren Chase - Yeah, the teens I call "peers" aren't exactly the stellar geniuses of the future. And I'm glad you like the POTM! I'm especially glad I introduced a new Avril song, haha!

    @LBH - Awesome comment as always. That song sounds beautiful, I think it's time to spam Youtube again to listen to it. I like the frog lyric the most (I'm random, don't mind me). And yeah, that classifies as a story. No worries.