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Once upon a time

What do you think are some really great first line/lines of songs? Pretty much every song on Nebraska sucks me into the story right away.

Nebraska: I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton. Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died

Atlantic City: Well they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night now they blew up his house too.

State Trooper: New Jersey Turnpike ridin' on a wet night 'neath the refinery's glow, out where the great black rivers flow. License, registration, I ain't got none but I got a clear conscience about the things that I done

Reason to Believe: Seen a man standin' over a dead dog lyin' by the highway in a ditch. He's lookin' down kinda puzzled pokin' that dog with a stick

Man those are all so great. I want to read a short story based on each of them.

Do you like narrative in your music? What pulls you in?

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
twiin
Nov. 8th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
Coil - Are You Shivering: Are you shivering? Are you cold? Are you bathed in silver, or drowned in gold?

Suzanne Vega - Small Blue Thing: Today I am a small blue thing, like a marble or an eye.

Lou Reed - Street Hassle: Waltzing Matilda whipped out her wallet, the sexy boy smiled in dismay.

Dead Kennedys - Chickenshit Conformist: Punk's not dead, it just deserves to die when it becomes another stale cartoon.
twiin
Nov. 8th, 2011 03:47 am (UTC)
lastly:

Paul Anka - Diana: I'm so young and you're so old
auntpurl
Nov. 8th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
"I spent all my money in a Mexican whorehouse, across the street from a Catholic church" - Tom Waits, Mr Siegel.

Tom Waits is the master of this game.
sabotabby
Nov. 8th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
I was going to say: Pretty much all Tom Waits songs ever.

Also, the Decembrists. In general, if music involves a narrative, I love it.
auntpurl
Nov. 8th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
Anyone who has a Tom Waits icon, I must friend. It's, like, a rule or something.
sabotabby
Nov. 8th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
This is understandable and I shall add you back.
corduroyarmy
Nov. 8th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
The Hollies- 'Saturday night I was downtown, working for the FBI.'
narrative in music is my favourite! I'm going to think of other classics, but this song, 'long cool woman' has an achingly cool guitar lick, and also a really good story.
anne_t_social
Nov. 8th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
I do like narrative in a song, but I can't think of any outstanding examples of first lines because I'm a little brain dead right now.
eilenna
Nov. 8th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
I love narrative songs! I'm surprised to find out that when I think of the songs I love, they are religion-y and written by friends, either while they were religious or afterwards:

- "travelin' salesman goes door to door. comes to my own and sells me a whore."

(this makes me laugh, like, milk up my nose laugh, every time I hear it. and.. whore is not a slur to me.. hope it's ok to quote this song.)

- "something's bothering Jesus, and nobody knows what it is."

- "when I was a young boy, I went to church on Sundays, then went home right after, it was not a fun day. It was bound to happen... the church blew up."

- "toots are true and Jesus do. Children on you, children on you." -written because he had this big torn up religious children's book and those were the words/letters left on the page.
queencallipygos
Nov. 8th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
For some reason I'm blanking on all the awesome FIRST lines except for one from Tom Waits ("Uncle Vernon, independent as a hog on ice" -- seriously, what the hell does that MEAN?), but lyrics do often pull me in. Sometimes they're narrative, sometimes they're just....well-phrased:

"I shall drive my chariot down your street and cry
" 'Hey, it's me, I'm dynamite and I don't know why'...."


"What you don't have, you don't need it now, what you don't know you can feel somehow...."

"Brought a second hand Nova from a Cuban Chinese
Dyed his hair in the bathroom of Texaco
With a pawnshop radio, quarter past 4
Well, he left Waukegan at the slammin' of the door
He left Waukegan at the slammin' of the door...."


(Actually, you could take most of the entire album Rain Dogs and stick it here.)
girl_fawkes
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Atlantic City breaks my heart... it's got a lot of memories attached to it.

The winning narrative for me though will always be Tangled Up In Blue "Early one morning the sun was shining, I was layin' in bed, wondering if she'd changed at all, if her hair was still red." It's actually got a lot of those same memories attached to it, too.
littlegirltoast
Nov. 9th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
"I can't write left-handed / Would you please write a letter to my mother?"
Bill Withers, "I Can't Write Left-Handed"

"You lack the minerals and vitamins, iron and the niacin / fuck who that I offend, rappers sit back, I'm 'bout to begin!"
Omar Credle, "Time's Up"

"I've a secret obsession / it's totally Tupperware / my own science project / defying wear and tear / I'm jealous of shopping carts / and all of their brand new things / I want to fondle their labels / in the hopes one will rub off on me"
Jewel Kilcher, "Memoirs Of A Housewife"
a_clear_job
Nov. 11th, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
narrative in music IS the principle thing that draws me in. it is uber important to me.

that's why i love songs by artists like okkervil river, john vanderslice, the mountain goats, malcolm middleton, etc.

opening of "our life is not a movie or is it" by okkervil river:

"It's just a bad movie, where there's no crying..."
dzuunmod
Nov. 13th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Off-topic...

I could maybe use your help with something very soon! Where can I email you?
audrawilliams
Nov. 13th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
audra.williams@gmail.com!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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