Waxing lyrical

Album Collection
Album Collection (Photo credit: maddenman2000)

A couple of weeks ago I received a link from a friend, via Facebook, to the 100 Influential Albums. The site says that not many people own more than seventy of their list of albums, and challenge you to take their test and see how many you have.

Now, I own a fair few albums, and think I have a pretty decent taste in music so I was quite keen to take the test. I thought I would own about twenty or so of the albums. I certainly wasn’t expecting to only own eight. Eight – what a measly, pathetic amount! Surely I must own more than that. I know this test is subjective but come on!. Who decided these albums and what was their criteria for choosing them? To be honest, it probably tells you on the site somewhere but, true to form, I haven’t bothered to look.

As a writer, I often think about which other writers inspire me. Those who I would love to have just a tiny, little piece of their talent – Dickens, Hardy, Larkin, Lee and Shakespeare to name a handful. But there are other writers that move me – the lyricists. The power they have to move and touch me is incredible. Certain songs just evoke an emotional response from me. Sometimes, the song reminds me of a place or a particular event in my life. Often it is just the beat or the rhythm of a song that pierces straight into my heart. But usually it’s the lyrics. We all know the ones. The lyrics that actually speak to us. That lay witness to our life. I think to myself, “how the hell did you do that Mr. Songwriter? Sneak into my house in the dead of the night, creep upstairs to my bedroom, tiptoe up to me and take a peak inside my head. I never even knew you were there.”

So today I have decided to be totally self-indulgent. To share with you some of those lyrics that have made me stop dead in my tracks and go “wow!” I think I may even make this into a regular feature, and randomly post lyrics with an explanation of why I love them so much. Totally, totally selfish I know, please forgive me. So here’s the first one. Are you ready?

There’s more to life than books, you know but not much more.

Handsome Devil, The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow (1984)

Like many teenagers in 80s Britain, I grew up listening to The Smiths. The combination of Morrissey‘s lyrics and Marr‘s music inspired a generation and beyond. I remember my brother, who is nine years younger than me, listening to them in the 90s. My mum was not impressed. “I’ve had to listen to this lot once before,” she said in exasperation. It’s fair to say my mum did not get The Smiths. It’s fair to say that many of my school friends didn’t get The Smiths. They were too busy listening to Wham! and The Housemartins. Not me thought, I couldn’t stand either which did mark me out as a bit of an oddity. But hey, it’s good to be different!

These particular words resonated and have stuck with me all through the years. Why is that? Because, quite simply, they are true!


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