NPR logo Top Five Lyrics: Best Song Lines Ever

Top Five Lyrics: Best Song Lines Ever

I was talking with a friend recently who told me she never listens to lyrics. She couldn't even quote a single line from a song, even though there are plenty she listens to and loves. She's probably not alone.

A few years ago Sigur Ros proved you can sing pure gibberish in a made up language and still make beautiful music people will love listening to. I'm thinking of their unpronounceable 2002 album ( ).

But for me, the lyrics are everything. I can take a monotone melody if what they're saying cuts to the bone.

Here are my top five lyrics of all time. In no specific order:

1. "I've got a broken heart and your name on my cast. And everybody's gone at last. — Elliott Smith from "No Name No. 5"

2. "I'm an American aquarium drinker. I assassin down the avenue. I'm hiding out in the big city blinking. What was I thinking when I let go of you? — Wilco from "I'm Trying to Break Your Heart"

3. "When I was drinking, when I was with you, living it up when the rent was due, with nothing and no one to live up to." — Hem from "When I Was Drinking"

4. "I could make a career of being blue. I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth like I was 17 that would be a scream but I don't want to get over you." — Stephin Merritt from "I Don't Want to Get Over You"

5. "Don't let it bring you down. It's only castles burning. Find someone who's turning, and you will come around." — Neil Young from "Don't Let it Bring You Down"

Let us know what your favorite lyric is... or give us your top five.



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My fav lyric..."What a beautiful face I have found in this place that is circling all around the sun. What a beautiful dream that can flash on the screen in a blink of an eye and be gone from me." 'Aeroplane Over the Sea' by Neutral Milk

Sent by Melco | 1:16 PM | 11-8-2007

I used this quote in my high school yearbook, and thirty plus years later it still resonates (almost like a curse, I sometimes think).

"And here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice."

from "Memphis Blues Again" by Bob Dylan

Sent by JohnO | 2:38 PM | 11-8-2007

"Let's sing a song for Hazey Jane. She's back again in my mind. If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine".
from "Hazey Jane II" - Nick Drake

Sent by jojo.humpy | 3:22 PM | 11-8-2007

"I would cut off my right arm to be someone's lover."
-Jens Lekman, "If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)"

Sent by Grace | 3:42 PM | 11-8-2007

Jens Lekman is hilarious. You can hear Jens share his favorite CDs and talk about his latest album in a recent interview on All Songs Considered.

Sent by Robin Hilton | 3:47 PM | 11-8-2007

i'm big on melodies and orchestrations rather than lyrics, but i do like...

"music is my lover; you are just a tease."
-rogue wave, "kicking the heart out"

Sent by rachel | 5:25 PM | 11-8-2007

Rufus Wainwright:
Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Everything it seems I likes a little bit stronger
A little bit thicker, a little bit harmful for me

If I should buy jellybeans
Have to eat them all in just one sitting
Everything it seems I likes a little bit sweeter
A little bit fatter, a little bit harmful for me

And then theres those other things
Which for several reasons we wont mention
Everything about em is a little bit stranger, a little bit harder
A little bit deadly

Sent by Maryann | 7:59 PM | 11-8-2007

Perhaps it's just the way that Elvis Costello pleads,

"I don't know how much more of this I can take"

from "Watching The Detectives" that makes this line so heart-wrenching...

Sent by E. | 10:57 PM | 11-8-2007

I don't want to get over you is so amazing. It started playing in my head as I read the lyrics.

"So if you want to be with me with these things there's no telling we just have to wait and see, but I'd rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery." -- Bright Eyes from "First Day of My Life"

Sent by Robert | 11:44 PM | 11-8-2007

couldn't agree more with the wilco lyrics.
Adult Head is a fantastic read for any Tweedy fan.

other than that. Dan Bejar is an amazing lyricist. one of my favorite songs would have to be a dangerous woman up to a point. the first two verses especially

"A Dangerous Woman Up To A Point once said -
As per your wishes, I left you for dead.
I left England to the English.

Is it always one thing or the other with you?
"Forgive them, my Lord, they know not what they do!"
Hey, your friends are f***ed, in so far, as your friends are an ancient
beast bronzed in tar!

Have I told you lately that I love you?
Did I fail to mention there's a sword hanging above you?

Those who love Zeppelin will soon betray Floyd.
I cast off these couplets in honor of the void.
I was here to stay.
I would weather the storm.
I pictured heaven on earth made of clay as your form dictated..."

Sent by Bill | 1:11 AM | 11-9-2007

Another Costello: "It's the words that we don't say that scare me so."

Sent by Sean | 9:49 AM | 11-9-2007

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around

Talking Heads - Life During Wartime

Yeah, that's a great one, love it! -- rh

Sent by db | 12:52 PM | 11-9-2007

I keep thinking of things that I'm amazed I didn't think of first, if that makes any sense.

"What kind of spider understands arachnophobia?"
- Robert Wyatt "Free Will & Testament"

"Well I know karate, voodoo too.
I'm gonna make myself available to you.
I don't need no makeup, I got real scars. I got hair on my chest.
I look good without a shirt."
-Tom Waits "Goin Out West"

"She used to wear her hair like you
except when she was sleeping,
and then she'd weave it on a loom
of smoke and gold and breathing."
-Leonard Cohen "Winter Lady"

Sent by jojo.humpy | 4:29 PM | 11-9-2007

I have no idea why, but since I was a kid I get this bizarre kick out of "Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out/Come and keep your comrade warm": Back in the USSR, the Beatles.

Sent by Maggie | 5:22 PM | 11-9-2007

Hank just came on the pod

no matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive

Sent by Bob Boilen | 5:43 PM | 11-9-2007

Jesus rides beside me
He never buys any smokes
Hurry up, hurry up, ain't you had enough of this stuff
Ashtray floors, dirty clothes, and filthy jokes

The Replacements, Can't hardly wait

Sent by djinn | 9:52 PM | 11-9-2007

People, how is there no Mountain Goats on here yet??

"I wish the West Texas Highway was a mobius strip,
I could ride it out forever when I feel my heart break."

"And an astronaut could have seen the hunger in my eyes from space."

Or The Decemberists:

"Some had crawled their way into your heart,
to rend your ventricles apart."

"In bathrooms and ballrooms,
on dumpsters heirlooms,
we bit our tounges,
sucked our lips into our lungs till we were falling,
such was our calling."

Sent by Sophie | 5:38 AM | 11-10-2007

I like a lot of lyrics...but I've always loved:
"The movement you need is on your shoulders".

I also love the story behind this line, that Paul McCartney called it a throwaway line, and then John Lennon said "Are you kidding? That's the best line in the whole song."

I don't think I could live without the lyrics in songs. I really don't understand it when people are able to not listen to them.

Sent by jamie | 1:08 AM | 11-11-2007

Robyn Hitchcock's Lyrics are always amazing, surreal and profound. From glass hotel, examples of both ends:
"well the telephone was ringing
in a corridor of blue
a geranium came out of it
reminded me of you
and i was crying"

"well there's nothing in the future
and there's nothing in the past
there is only this one moment
and you've got to make it last"
Which I recite to myself once a day.

Sent by Christina Wodtke | 11:24 AM | 11-11-2007

I'm always looking for a song to reach me on multiple levels, and lyrics can register both emotionally and intellectually. Here are some I like:

1. The writing by James Mercer on the Shins' album "Chutes Too Narrow" is exceptionally poetic and imagistic. Some examples:

---"Myriad lives like blades of grass yet to be realized, bow as they pass." (Those to Come)

---"Cool of a temperate breeze from dark skies to wet grass/We fell in a field, it seems now a thousand summers passed." (Pink Bullets)

---"A cold and wet November dawn and there are no barking sparrows, just emptiness to dwell upon." (Young Pilgrims)

2. Also among current favorite writers are Neko Case, Matt Berninger of "The National," Will Sheff of "Okkervil River," and Jeff Tweedy of "Wilco." Some examples of painting with words:

---"There's a random painted highway and a muzzle of bees." (Tweedy, Muzzle of Bees)

---"Last night I dreamt that I hit a deer with my car. Blood from his heart spilled out onto my dress and was warm." (Neko Case, Favorite)

---"To love without ceasing, flowering orchards, salty sea-things." (Sheff, Maine Island Lovers)

---"How can anybody know how they got to be this way? You must have known I'd do this someday. Break my arms around the one I love and be forgiven by the time my lover comes. Break my arms around my love." (Berninger, Daughters of the Soho Riots)

3. In the sad category, from I Am the Cosmos by Chris Bell:

---"Every night I tell myself, I am the cosmos. I am the wind. But that don't get you back again."

4. In the fun category, from the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" by Frank Black:

---"With your feet in the air and your head on the ground, try this trick and spin it, yeah. Your head will collapse, but there's nothing in it, and you'll ask yourself, 'Where is my mind?'"

5. For the piercingly personal, from Gram Parsons' "Hot Burrito #1":

---"Once upon a time you let me feel you deep inside. And nobody knew, nobody saw. Do you remember the way you cried?"

6. And for the lyrically lovely, from Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye:"

---"I love you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm."

Thanks, NPR, for introducing me to so many new artists! I love you guys!


Sent by Ellen | 3:53 PM | 11-11-2007

All the laddies cat call and dog whistle
So-called gentlemen and ladies
dog fight like rose and thistle

(I've long felt Elvis Costello is perhaps our greatest living writer of songs)

Or how's about...

I know I've got a bad reputation
and it isn't all talk talk talk

(Freedy Johnson)

Sent by David Beckett | 4:01 PM | 11-11-2007

"Housing developments go up / named after the things they replace / So, welcome to Minnowbrook / Yeah, welcome to Shady Space" - Modest Mouse

Sent by Kyle | 8:32 PM | 11-11-2007

"Then she sank down to her knees,
grasped the cutter by both handles, took a deep breath
and plunged the long blade through the middle of the
package, through the middle of the masking tape,
through the cardboard, through the cushioning and
(thud) right through the center of Waldo Jeffers head,
which split slightly and caused little rhythmic arcs
of red to pulsate gently in the morning sun."-The Gift by The Velvet Underground

"And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said 'All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them'
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human"-Suzanne by Leonard Cohen

"You cry out in your sleep,
All my failings exposed.
And there's a taste in my mouth,
As desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good
Just can't function no more.
"-Love Will Tear Us Apart buy Joy Division

"I dont feel too steady on my feet
I feel hollow I feel weak
Passion fruit and holy bread
Fill my guts and ease my head"-She Bangs the Drums by The Stone Roses

"You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun"-The Guns of Brixton by The Clash

Sent by Devin Rodgers | 8:43 PM | 11-11-2007

"Hours pass by half-forgotten / Night turns black 'cause it's rotten." - Crooked Fingers "New Drink for the Old Drunk"

Sent by Clov | 11:20 AM | 11-12-2007

How about something a little less earnest....

"On the back of a winged horse through the sky, pearly grey love is leaf-like you and me, baby twinkle, twinkle blah blah blah e t c"


Sent by JD | 7:09 AM | 11-13-2007

Bob Dylan - Jet Pilot:

Well, she's got jet pilot eyes from her hips on down
All the bombardiers are tryin' to force her out of town
She's five feet nine and she carries a monkey wrench
She weighs more by the foot than she does by the inch
She's got all the downtown boys, all at her command
But you got to watch her closely
'Cause she ain't no woman, she's a man.

Sent by jordan | 10:51 AM | 11-13-2007

So many good ones! I was definitely one of those kids in high school scrawling "deep" lyrics on my bookcovers...

"can't count to
all the lovers i've burned through
so why do i still burn for you
i can't say" -- sun kil moon, "carry me ohio"

"And I claim Im not excited with my life any more
So I blame this town, this job, these friends
The truth is its myself
And Im trying to understand myself
And pinpoint where I am
By the time I get things figured out
Ive change the whole damn plan" - Modest Mouse, "Talking S%*# About a Pretty Sunset"

"Oh I wish I wish I wish I was born a man
So I could learn how to stand up for myself
Like those guys with guitars
I've been watching in bars
Who've been stamping their feet to a different beat" - Martha Wainwright, "B.M.F.A."

"Don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them" - Jackson Browne, "These Days"

"I got sixteen days
got a Bible and a rosary
God, i wish that you were close to me
'cause I owe you an apology" - Whiskeytown, "16 Days"

I hope I haven't butchered any of these!

Sent by kmf | 2:24 PM | 11-13-2007

I really like the imagery that Eef Barzelay uses in his lyrics. 'Thanksgiving Waves' in particular is a really good example:

"Are your thighs ever tender?
As they swell in my hands
And are warmed by the spit of my kisses
But I will just graze you
Like the sun does on grass
And pick at your flesh like an eagle"

Sent by Maddie | 11:00 PM | 11-13-2007

"Your grind and my grind ain't the same, dawg
I'm the catalogue, you the same song"
- Mos Def "Close to the Edge"

"All spit and spite you're up all night and down every day
A tired man with only hours to go just waiting to be taken away
Getting in to the back of a car for candy from some stranger
Watching the parade with pinpoint eyes full of smoldering anger"
-Elliott Smith "Ballad of Big Nothing" (Beautifully haunting lyrics)

"When she said,
"Don't waste your words, they're just lies,"
I cried she was deaf."
- Bob Dylan "4th Time Around"

Sent by Joel | 11:47 PM | 11-13-2007

This one cuts a little deep some days...

"Well, I may be right and I may be wrong, but you're gonna miss me when I'm gone."

Johnny Cash, "Rock Island Line"

Sent by Josh | 12:19 AM | 11-14-2007

It seems to me Sufjan Stevens Lyrics stay with you, even if you don't get into lyrics that much.... Casimir Pulaski Day: Oh the glory that the lord has made
And the complications when I see his face
In the morning in the window

Oh the glory when he took our place
But he took my shoulders and he shook my face
And he takes and he takes and he takes

Sent by Scott Battagler | 1:04 AM | 11-14-2007

"The ashtray says you've been up all night"
-Wilco, Shot in the Arm

Sent by Mark | 11:19 AM | 11-14-2007

One more classic Elvis Costello line:
"I said 'I'm so happy I could die',
She said 'drop dead' and left with another guy."

Also another killer James Mercer (The Shins) line:
"Since then it's been a book you read in reverse
So you understand less as the pages turn
Or a movie so crass
And awkwardly cast
Even I could be the star"

Sent by MarkF | 2:07 PM | 11-14-2007

For those who can remember the angst of adolescence,Springsteen's "Growing Up"says more than any counselor, mentor, or educator could ever hope to:
"I stood stone-like at midnight, suspended in my masquerade.I combed my hair 'til it was just right, and commanded the night brigade. I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, and I walked on a crooked crutch. I strode all alone through a fallout zone, and came out with my soul untouched."

And, in the 'saying a lot with a little' category, praise to Jimmy Reed:
"Big boss man, can't you hear me when I call? You know you ain't so big, you're just tall, that's all."

Sent by Butch | 2:24 PM | 11-14-2007

Westerberg has a million of them, but this is the best, from "Answering Machine":

"I got a handful of friends,
one needs a match, one needs some ice."

Now, for years I just considered this a throw-away line, i.e., he's at a party and some of his friends are there and they need this stuff. UNTIL, someone on the 'mats board pointed out that he's saying the smoke and the drink are LITERALLY his friends... at which point this line jumped to the top of my all-time favorite Westerberg lyrics. Maybe everyone already realized this but to me it was a revelation. Genius.

Sent by MarkF | 2:24 PM | 11-14-2007

Here's a great example of Stephin Merritt's penchant for cliches to their extreme and making quite a clever line along the way:

"I'm so in love with you, girl, it's like I'm on the moon/I can't really breathe but I feel lighter" - from "A Pretty Girl is Like"

MF DOOM has so many clever lines and intricate rhymes it makes my head spin. A good example (note the internal rhyme):

"The rest is empty with no brain but the clever nerd/the best emcee with no chain you ever heard" - from "Figaro"

Greg Brown has some of the most moving and poetic lines I've heard. This is more like a verse than a line, but oh well:

"We could have died dancing in each other's arms
or driving home close and warm out through the little farms,
or in the bed, holding on and shaking.
But we did not - and where you been lately?" - from "Lately"

And I have to mention John Prine who hovers around near the top of my All-Time Greatest Lyricists List:

"Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?
I'm a human corkscrew and all my wine is blood
They're gonna kill me Mama. They don't like me Bud." - from "Jesus, The Missing Years."

But in no way will I commit to these as my top 5 favorite lyrics. That's just to difficult.

Sent by Evan | 2:33 PM | 11-14-2007

I like to listen to snippets of lyrics, and let them paint a picture for me instead of taking them literally.

Some of my favorites are:

3rd Planet by Modest Mouse - "And your hands and knees felt cold and wet on the grass to me
Outside naked, shiverin' looking blue, from the cold
sunlight that's reflected off the moon
Baby cum angels fly around you reminding you we used
to be three and not just two
And that's how the world began
And that's how the world will end"

To me, they paint almost the thesis for this album - that you can get wrapped up in your personal drama, but at the end of the day, we are all pretty insignificant. This is spelled out even more in "the stars are projectors."

All of LCD Soundsystem's lyrics are great, but I especially a moment from the new album when James Murphy says, "you turn 25 / and now you're out of escapes."

Radiohead - "Optimisitc:" For some reason, whenever I hear, "The big fish eat the little ones/ The big fish eat the little ones/ Not my problem give me some," I think of a multi-lane highway, with progressively faster cars passing each other. And, when I am passing people on the highway, I always think of this lyric.

Sent by Ian | 4:46 PM | 11-14-2007

yeah Paul Westerburg was an interesting guy Mark. My favorite part of his song writing is that fact that he doesn't have lyrics to make sense. Its him shooting crap out because it sounds good with the song, I believe he said that in an interview

Sent by Devin Rodgers | 2:11 PM | 11-15-2007

"The generation that would change world is still looking for it's car keys."

From the song "Drinkin' On The Job" by The Rainmakers.

Sent by Jeff | 3:49 PM | 11-15-2007

"She's a fine looking lady and she likes to go down on me, and I like to go down on her too"

Bonnie Prince Billy

Sent by Dave | 11:06 PM | 11-15-2007

Here's four from songwriters I really like...

Craig Finn from The Hold Steady never disappoints, but I particularly love the lyrics for "Crucifixion Cruise". Here's a few:
"She put her mouth around a difficult question. She said lord what do you recommend? To a real sweet girl who's made some not sweet friends. Lord what would you prescribe? To a real soft girl who's having real hard times."

I also really admire John K. Samson from The Weakerthans, who is an amazingly gifted writer. These lines from "Aside" is great:
"And I'm leaning on this broken fence between past and present tense. And I'm losing all the stupid games that I swore I'd never play."

And then there's Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers, and this from his song "Water Ban":
"It's hard to understand the cruel cruel summer of a a water ban. A dead grass cradle and a water can to hold our prayers for rain."

And finally, Mark Eitzel, and his opening verse to the American Music Club song "I've Been a Mess":
"Lazarus wasn't grateful for his second wind. For another chance to watch his chances fade like the dawn and leave. I can barely tell you just how pale I get without you. I've been a mess since you've been gone."

Sent by Kerry | 1:15 AM | 11-16-2007

wow it's hard to pick just one line of lyrics that are my favorite because i love so many of them! music is like my life, and i know the lyrics to like every song. seriously. ok but if i had to choose one lyric it would be,"Next thing you know you've gone too fast and you would do anything to make it last, but you keep on going even though you see the signs hoping it won't go wrong this time." it's from a song by diamond rio, but i don't remember the name of it.

Sent by trish | 8:59 AM | 11-16-2007

All of David Berman's Silver Jews lyrics are a tie for favorite, but here are two that come to mind almost immediately-

"The drums march along at the clip of an IV drip, like sparks from a muffler dragged down the strip...uh huh huh, I really hope you come around. It's sunny and 75, it feels so good to be alive... c'mon baby don't stay insi-ide, everybody's coming out tonight"
from "People"


"When there's trouble I don't like running, but I'm afraid I've got more in common, with who I was, than who I am becoming. When I go downtown, I always wear a corduroy suit. 'Cause it's made of a hundred gutters that the rain can run right through. But a lonely man can't make a move, if he can't even bring himself to choose between a pair of black and a pair of brown shoes."
from "Black and Brown Blues"


Sent by kh | 6:59 PM | 11-16-2007

"I leave the party at three a.m.
Alone, thank God
With a valium from the bride
It's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love."

from Neko Case's 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.'

Love singing along to this song!

Sent by Leanne | 1:10 PM | 11-17-2007

I'm a sucker for Radiohead:

"You want me/F---ing well come and find me/I'll be waiting/with a gun and a pack of sandwiches"

Sent by Matt | 5:58 PM | 11-18-2007

I got a cravin' love for blazing speed
Got a hopped up Mustang Ford
Jump into the wagon, love,
throw your panties overboard
-- Dylan

Sent by David | 6:51 PM | 11-18-2007

In 1984 I was hospitalised for approaching perfection. Slowly screwing my way across Europe, they had to make a correction.

David Berman, Silver Jews

Sent by ML | 12:52 PM | 11-19-2007

My favorite lyric of the moment:

"Here I am ten years down the road.
With all I've learned, still I just don't know."

-- Todd Shaeffer (from the song, "Where Songs Begin" - Railroad Earth)

Sent by Mitch Gilbert | 2:25 PM | 11-19-2007

"Silently reflection turns my world to stone, Patiently correction leaves us all alone."

Sent by anna | 2:28 PM | 11-19-2007

"Scattered shadows on a wall, you watch the long light fall
Some impressions stay and some will fade
Tattered shoes outside your door, clothes all on the floor
Your life feels like the morning after all year long." -- The Weepies

"maybe I would have been something you'd be good at
maybe you would have been something I'd be good at
but now we'll never know
I wont be sad but, in case I'll go there everyday
to make myself feel bad, theres a chance I'll start to wonder if this was the thing to do" -- Tegan and Sara

"I've got faith in love,
but I've dumped myself a bit."
-- Grace Bolyard (17 year old singer/songwriter in Arizona, so you've probably never heard her. If you have, kudos!)

"This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin,
tried to reach deep,
but you couldn't get it.
Now you're outside me,
you see all the beauty,
repent all your sin."
-- Stars

Sent by Kristen | 9:03 AM | 11-20-2007

"You won't be happy with me, but give me one more chance. You won't be happy anyway."

--Stephin Merritt/Magnetic Fields from "100,000 Fireflies"

Sent by Barnold | 10:53 AM | 11-20-2007

Looking out the door i see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water
"Lover, You Should've Come Over" Jeff Buckley

The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them
"Bastards of the Young", The Replacements (Westerberg)

Sent by Caroline | 12:41 PM | 11-26-2007

The Piano Has Been Drinking
Tom Waits

The piano has been drinking
my necktie is asleep
and the combo went back to New York
the jukebox has to take a leak
and the carpet needs a haircut
and the spotlight looks like a prison break
cause the telephone's out of cigarettes
and the balcony's on the make
and the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking...

and the menus are all freezing
and the lightman's blind in one eye
and he can't see out of the other
and the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid
and he showed up with his mother
and the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking

cause the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler
cream puff casper milk toast
and the owner is a mental midget
with the I.Q. of a fencepost
cause the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking...

and you can't find your waitress
with a Geiger counter
And she hates you and your friends
and you just can't get served
without her
and the box-office is drooling
and the bar stools are on fire
and the newspapers were fooling
and the ash-trays have retired
the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking
The piano has been drinking
not me

This song never fails to make me smile: It's not often that somebody tries to anthropomorphize everything in the whole damn building!

"...And the owner is a mental midget with the IQ of a fencepost..."

I especially like this line because the previous line is a gibberish placeholder that Tom left in because he's so utterly cool that he can get away with it: "...cream puff caspar milk toast." He intimately understands the comedy of songwriting: nobody remembers the placeholder line because the joke overshadows it.

Sent by Mike Craghead | 11:17 PM | 11-26-2007

Simple and heart Felt. Blind Melon; No Rain.
"All I can do is read a book to stay awake and it rips my life away, but it's a great escape"

Sent by stan | 11:56 PM | 11-26-2007

"Someone in my dictionary is up to no good/I never find the very special words I should"

"You forgot about the things that he could say like:
'I don't think that I like you anymore'
Well I found new feelings at the feeling store"

Both from Animal Collective's "Banshee Beat"

Sent by Cole | 2:29 PM | 11-27-2007

A little Paul Simon

"When something goes wrong
I'm the first to admit it
I'm the first to admit it
And the last one to know"
-from Something So Right

Sent by Laurence | 4:53 PM | 11-28-2007

"Was that a raindrop or a tear in your eye?, were you drying your nails or were you waving good by?"....Tom Waits...2:19

Sent by Brian | 6:36 PM | 11-28-2007

"we're gonna sail through the night sky like a pair of bottle rockets."

-the mountain goats' "commandante"

Sent by e | 6:47 PM | 11-28-2007

These lyrics are not terribly deep or anything but as a married 40 year old woman, I never would have thought a band of 20 year olds would come up with a song that seemed so applicable to my life right now......
You used to get it in your fishnets, Now you only get it in your night dress
Discarded all the naughty nights for niceness
Landed in a very common crisis
Everything's in order in a black hole
Nothing looks as pretty as the past, though
Your Blood Mary's lacking in Tobasco
Remember when he used to be a rascal...
Flourescent Adolescent by The Arctic Monkeys
(I only included the first bit but the rest is just as good....)

Sent by n | 8:22 PM | 11-28-2007

My best friend in college quoted this to me during my first "real" break up:

You want to fight for this love, but honey you cannot wrestle a dove. (The Shins)

Sent by Angela | 2:55 PM | 11-30-2007

Just too many good ones.

She looked into my eyes
She took hold of my hand
She says, "You can't repeat the past"
I said, "You can't? What do you mean you can't?
Of course you."

Dylan, Summer Days

Operator, oh let's forget about this call
There's no one there i really wanted to talk you
Thank you for your time
Oh you've been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime

Jim Croce

I'm a bad idea whose time has come - Paul Westerberg

You managed to crawl
Inside my brain
You found a hole
And then you came

Lucinda Williams

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die Folsom Prison Blue, Johnny Cash

I'm older than I once was
Younger than I'll be
That's not unusual

The Boxer, Paul Simon

But she never lost her head even when she was giving head
Lou Reed, Walk on the Wildside

Too many...

Sent by Chuck | 7:15 PM | 11-30-2007

Here is one that resonates for me --

Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
-- Joni Mitchell, Passion Play

Sent by Mark W | 5:17 PM | 12-4-2007

There are so many, and many great ones don't resonate without the music they originally came with. This is simply the first one that comes to mind. But damn, when it comes to mind, my heart soars, I tear up a little, and I think: "It's going to be alright." And you can't really ask more of a pop lyric:

"What you don't have, you don't need it now/What you don't know, you can feel it somehow...It's a beautiful day."
"Beautiful Day" by U2

Sent by David Watts Barton | 1:35 AM | 12-6-2007

1. "Trapeze Swinger", Iron & Wine
"Please, remember me
My misery
And how it lost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain
And chasing trains
The colored birds above there running
In circles round the well
And where it spells
On the wall behind St. Peter's
So bright with cinder gray
And spray paint
'Who the hell can see forever?'"

2. "Static on the Radio", Jim White
"3 A.M. I???m awakened by a sweet summer rain???
Distant howling of a passing southbound coal train.
Was I dreaming or was there someone just lying here beside me in this bed?
Am I hearing things?
Or in the next room, did a long forgotten music box just start playing?

And I know it???s a sin putting words in the mouths of the dead.
[And I know]
It???s a crime to weave your wishes into what they said.
[And I know]
Only fools venture where them spirits tread.
[???Cause I know]
Every word, every sound bouncing ???round my head is just static on the radio.
Everything I think I know is just static on the radio."

3. "Star Witness", Neko Case
"My true love drowned
In a dirty old pan of oil
That did run from the block
Of a Falcon sedan 1969
The paper said '75
There were no survivors
None found alive

Trees break the sidewalk
And the sidewalk skins my knee
There's glass in my thermos
And blood on my jeans
Nickels and dimes
Of the 4th of July
Roll off in a crooked line
To the chain-link lots
Where the red-tails dive
Oh how I'd forgot
What it's like"

4. "Overcome", Carina Round
"Too many ghosts reside behind this window
I could dig it out but I don't
Hear the beginning of morning song
Tripping lightly from night's tongue
City lights fade below me
Black wings spread overhead
Lover, didn't you know me?"

5. "I Dream A Highway Back to You", Gillian Welch
"I'm an indisguisable shade of twilight
Any second now I'm gonna turn myself on
In the blue display of the cool cathode ray
I dream a highway back to you.

I wish you knew me, Jack of Diamonds
Fire-riding, wheeling when I lead em up
Drank whisky with my water, sugar in my tea
My sails in rags with the staggers and the jags
I dream a highway back to you."

Sent by Carina | 10:18 PM | 12-6-2007

our world suffer under domination
of fake heroes,but please know that
true heroes are quiet heroes...
Mom, please, don"t let me die here...

Sent by Nody | 12:14 PM | 12-9-2007

Alex Walters of THE MOLLY PROJECT said it best with his song "west side story" "i'll take my precious time on you, addressing you, impressing you, undressing you." fucking shit.

Sent by John moss | 12:14 PM | 12-10-2007

"you didn't wake up this morning 'cause you didn't go to bed, you've been watching the whites of your eyes turn red
-the the

Sent by armando geraldes | 7:31 PM | 1-11-2008

"Love is lighter than air..."

-Stephin Merritt.

Sent by KTFM | 4:14 PM | 1-14-2008

Hey!Gosh there's SO many song lyrics i love but the two that come most to mind at the mo are:
"did i disappoint you or leave a bad taste in your mouth, you act like you never had love and you want me to go without" from U2's One and

"I can't light no more of your darkness, all my pictures seem to fade to black and white" Elton John's D'ont let the sun go down on me.

Sent by mauzie | 3:25 PM | 1-19-2008

"So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy, that's fine, I'll tell mine you're gay!"

Sent by felicity meyers | 1:54 AM | 1-20-2008

Townes Van Zandt "To Live is To Fly"

Livings mostly waisting time, I waste my share of mine but it never feels to good so let's don't take to long..

We got the sky to talk about and the world to lie upon...The day's up and down they come, like rain on a conga drum, forget most remember some, but don't turn none away.

This song always stops me in my tracks and forces me to listen, a masterpiece

Sent by Phil | 4:03 PM | 2-2-2008

So much of the power is bound up in the delivery, a lot of the words the really tug the sould fall flat on the page. Still, some of the stand outs:

1. Almost any Neutral Milk Hotel or Mountain Goats lyric. I lost 45 minutes trying to pick one, so I'll move on.

2. I was waiting waiting on a moment
But the moment never came
All the million other moments
Were just slippin all away
-Flaming Lips "Ego Tripping at the
Gates of Hell"

3. We're busted up, so ragged down
and kissing and subsisting;
our eyes glint wild and roll around
and the dog, he whines insisting,
he asks that we allow the sex
to make us unrecognizable;
that we allow slow violence
to prove us rebaptizable.
-Will Oldham "More Brother Rides"

4. Scott Walker has a number of gems:

And entres vie he cries
With eyes that ring like chimes
His anti-worlds go spinning through his head
He burns them in his dreams
for half awake they may as well be dead
-The Old Man's Back Again

In the river of the night I see
A face that shimmers down at me
But like a falling star burns itself out
Like a lead leaf scrapes the gravelled ground
My voice cries out, a gravelled sound
But no-one's there to hear me but the Plague
-The Plague

5.Faith lies in
The ways of sin
I chased the charmed
But I don't want them anymore

And in their eyes I was alive
A fool's disguise
Take me away from you

Shame my tongue
Fat with promise all along
But when I woke up from that sleep
I was happier than I'd ever been
-Smashin Pumpkins, Hummer

Sent by Josh Pearson | 2:14 AM | 2-3-2008

I believe Jackson Browne deserves some credit for making mainstream radio listeners actually stop and listen to what was being sung rather than just letting the sound be with them like wallpaper in a room. I see another contributer has quoted a line from the album "Late for the Sky" (1974); song:"The Late Show". Here's another line from another song on the same album;song: "Fountain of Sorrow". Jackson may be know for writing lyrics that touch listeners on a personal level that some people don't like exposed. "Fountain of Sorrow", no doubt, crosses that line, but at the point when you think the song might wimper off into its sad little own pity party, it actually gallops off into the sunset full of joy and hope. Turn it up and let it pass through you, don't be surprised when the goosebumps emerge and you feel the adrenalin surge from your a fountain from a pool...

"Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it's seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past
I'm just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love's pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There's this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight

You've had to hide sometimes but now you're all right
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to struggle, you've had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you've got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright"

Sent by Dave Roan | 9:24 AM | 2-3-2008

I always go back to this song For The Mekons Et Al. I like the idea of picking a dancing partner.

"Say your piece incidentally
And pick a dancing partner
And follow the steps and don't forget
You can use it again later

If we drink we still think
And we wake up in the morning
Or we stay out all night long
The righteous path is straight as an arrow"
-Will Oldham

Sent by Kelly | 1:33 PM | 2-6-2008

No Robert Earl Keen yet? Really? Great lyrics in all of his songs
How bout
"I'm guilty of a dreadful selfish crime. I have robbed myself of all my precious time....One thing I have found, there are just two ways to go, it all comes down to living fast or dieing slow."

Sent by Lily | 6:36 PM | 2-6-2008

A little brood of Bob:

Senor, senor, can you tell me where we're headin ?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon ?
Seems like I been down this way before
Is there any truth in that, senor ?

"Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" by Bob Dylan

Sent by Mark Jordan | 12:20 AM | 2-7-2008

Anything by Conor Oberst, really, but specially this:

When the president talks to God
Are the conversations brief or long?
Does he ask to rape our women's' rights
And send poor farm kids off to die?
Does God suggest an oil hike
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Are the consonants all hard or soft?
Is he resolute all down the line?
Is every issue black or white?
Does what God say ever change his mind
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Does he fake that drawl or merely nod?
Agree which convicts should be killed?
Where prisons should be built and filled?
Which voter fraud must be concealed
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
I wonder which one plays the better cop
We should find some jobs. the ghetto's broke
No, they're lazy, George, I say we don't
Just give 'em more liquor stores and dirty coke
That's what God recommends

When the president talks to God
Do they drink near beer and go play golf
While they pick which countries to invade
Which Muslim souls still can be saved?
I guess god just calls a spade a spade
When the president talks to God

When the president talks to God
Does he ever think that maybe he's not?
That that voice is just inside his head
When he kneels next to the presidential bed
Does he ever smell his own bullshit
When the president talks to God?

I doubt it

I doubt it

Also love anything by Steve Earle, Iron & Wine, Jens Lekman (who is friggin brilliant), and Patty Griffin, among others

Sent by Carlos R. Pastrana | 2:59 PM | 2-7-2008

not in a particular order

1. 'Cos late in the evening as I sit here moping, with a bamboo needle on a shellac of Chopin, and the cast-iron heart that you failed to tear open - Elvis Costello, "The Other End (of the Telescope)," All This Useless Beauty

2. I saw two shooting stars last night. I wished on them, but they were only satellites. Its wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care. - Billy Bragg, "New England," Life's a Riot with Spy vs. Spy

3. I want to watch you windblown facing waves of wheat for your embracing. Folks singing a song of the grange - Van Dyke Parks & Brian Wilson, "Cabinessence," Smile

4. She was into S&M and Bible studies; not everyone's cup of tea she would admit to me - Belle & Sebastion, "If You're Feeling Sinister," If You're Felling Sinister

5. Everyone needs a bosom for a pillow. - Cornershop, "A Brimful of Asha," When I Was Born For The 7th Time

And I'll nominate the following for one of the creepiest lyrics ever:

Sometimes I name and number all the things you gave to me. - Elvis Costello, "Next Time Round," Blood & Chocolate

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 6:39 PM | 2-7-2008

Tom Waits has some real hundingers, but my fvourite of his has to be;

I spent all my money
In a Mexican whorehouse
Accross the street from a Catholic church
I wiped off my revolver
And buttoned up my burgundy shirt

I shot the morning in the back
With my red wings on
I told the sun it better go back down
And if I can find a book of matches
I'm gonna burn this hotel down

Sent by Steve | 2:56 PM | 2-12-2008

"If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life"
-Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol


"I'm bound by these choices so hard to make
I'm bound by the feeling so easy to fake
None of this is real enough to take me from you"
-Reservations, by Wilco

Sent by Hannah | 5:06 PM | 2-12-2008

"The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face"

Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna

Sent by Sarah | 10:15 PM | 2-12-2008

"Oh, great sights upon this state!"

Sent by JKP | 3:04 AM | 2-19-2008

Somtimes i'm angry cause i feel so angry/ sometimes all i really want to feel is love/sometimes my feelings get in the way of what i really feel i need to say- Edit the Sad Part:Modest Mouse

Sent by Mykul | 12:24 PM | 2-19-2008

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Sent by Nick | 12:07 AM | 2-21-2008

Since Yorke and Radiohead have been all over the media recently, I thought of this one:

"Peel all of your layers off
I want to eat your artichoke heart"
--Thom Yorke, Atoms for Peace

Just yummy, isn't it?

Sent by Sara | 2:23 PM | 2-22-2008

I'm surprised there's no lyrics from ted leo and the pharmacists yet. One of my favorites is from "Walking to do"

I'm old enough to know that people waiting for some big sign
Should quit their waiting on the Divine. Divine is what's in your mind

"Me and Mia" also has some pretty incredible lyrics about struggles with eating disorders. The intro is

As I was walking through a life one morning
The sun was out, the air was warm but ohh,
I was cold,
and though I must have looked a half a person,
to tell the tale in my own version,
It was only then that I felt whole.

Sent by Matt | 2:38 PM | 2-22-2008

Can't let this one pass without adding a few.

The Libertines: "There are fewer more depressing sites than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. We will die in the class we were born, that's a class of our own, my love"

Belle and Sebastian: "I could kill you, sure, but I could only make you cry with these words"

Flaming Lips: "Tell everybody
Waiting for Superman
That they should try to
Hold on the best they can
He hasn't dropped them, forgot them or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift"

Plus, the whole of Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen

Sent by missplet_name | 4:04 PM | 2-25-2008

"i don't want the world. i just want your half" -- they might be giants

Sent by kat | 12:04 AM | 2-26-2008

"They say heartbreak is good for the skin/ but all that it helped was my drinking:/picking fights with myself and my friends/and my friends/threatening to do me in."

Sent by Jane | 2:32 PM | 2-26-2008

Agree with the poster above about the Weakerthans. Their songs are little novels. Here's an example from "Plea From a Cat Named Virtue":

All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV,
and frankly that thing doesn't really interest me.
I swear I'm going to bite you hard and taste your tinny blood
if you don't stop the self-defeating lies you've been repeating
since the day you brought me home.
I know you're strong."

Or "Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961)":
"Just one more drink and then I should be on my way home
I'm not enterely sure what your talking about
I've had a really nice time but my dogs need to be fed
I must say that in the right light you look like Shackleton
Comment allez-vous ce soir? Je suis comme ci comme ??a
Yes, a penguin taught me French back in Antarctica
Oh, I could show you the way shadows colonize snow
Ice breaking up on the bay off the Lassiter coast
Light failing over the pole as every longitude leads
up to your frost bitten feet oh, you're very sweet
thank you for the flowers and the book by Derrida
But I must be getting back to dear Antarctica
Say, do you have a ship and a dozen able men
That maybe you could lend me?"

And from "Watermark"
"I've got this store-bought way of saying I'm okay,
and you learned how to cry in total silence."

Hope you're planning to do a podcast on this topic; I'd love to hear these words in their musical context.

Sent by Heidi | 4:55 PM | 2-26-2008

I always loved Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy)'s line "Tire scraps on the federal roads/ Look like crash landed crows/ from the dial-a-view.

Also on my list would have to be The Hives' "Why settle for 24, when I could have 100 fractions!?" from their song The Hives Introduce the Metric System in Time.

And, of course, Thom Yorke's "I'm an animal/ Trapped in your hot car."

Sent by Harrison Floyd | 6:46 PM | 2-26-2008

Ditto on the podcast idea from Heidi.
Can't beat the Pixies for pure random awesomeness. Blackstar and Murs for sheer "call a nurse" sickness. At-the-Drive-In for engaging incomprehensibility. Paul Simon for wryness.
As an alcoholic I have to throw in special mention for Isaac Brock's "I'm trying to drink away the part of the day that I cannot sleep away," from "Polar Opposites." BTW, the rest of that song; in the words of NWA, "kick(s) so much butt, (it) kicks ass," to paraphrase.

Sent by Zach | 9:46 PM | 2-26-2008

One current fave:

Sitting in my dirty a** room
Staring at candles
High on drugs
All alone with my hand on a Mac 10 handle
Schemin' on you n****z

From "Mac 10 Handle" off Prodigy's Return Of The Mac.

I don't know - it's just SO GRIMY...

I'll try to think of some more that aren't just the bedrock lingua franca from Dylan, Beatles, Costello, Young, Morrison, Cohen, Bowie, etc., etc.

Sent by Jeremy Shatan | 7:22 PM | 2-27-2008

I just thought of another from the world of hip hop:

A couple of years ago
They gave OutKast the key to the city
But I still gotta pay my taxes
And they show us no pity

"Gasoline Dreams" from OutKast's Stankonia

Sent by Jeremy Shatan | 7:26 PM | 2-27-2008

How about some Bill Withers:

My friends
Think that
It's their appointed duty
To tell me
That all you do is use me

I'm here to spread the news
That if it feels this good getting used
Keep on using me until you use me up

From "Use Me" of course - and even more delicious in the amazing Grace Jones version!

Sent by Jeremy Shatan | 10:38 PM | 2-27-2008

some of my favorite lyricists are the much aforementioned

Elliot Smith:

"The light bright is now black and white/cause you took apart a picture that wasn't right" from Fond Farewell
"cause when I talk to you on the phone/well it's just like being alone" from (Not) Half Right

John Darnielle, though i must say its more in his phrasing than in the actual poetry:

"Dug up a fifth of hood river gin/that stuff tastes like medicine/but I'll take it/it'll do." from "Game Shows Touch Our Lives"
"I tried to summon up a little prayer as I went under/it was the best that i could do/and i said 'let them all fare better than your servent'/the reeds all pricking at my skin/'here's hoping they have better luck than i had down here with them'/all that water rushing in.
from "In Corolla"

and the possibly not mentioned (i haven't read all the posts) Blake Schwarzenbach from jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil, for many many songs, but most especially this description of suicide in "Conrad":
"double edged and super blue/vertically letting the light from you/casting a new darkness through the room/Angels lay their odds on you/Know not quite what they should do/Only that they can't quite tear themselves from the view"

And i leave you with one other favorite, from Pedro the Lion

"If I look up and the sky's not there/is it any reason that I should be scared?/when a promise is a promise, I'll know"
(almost makes me wish i was religious)

Sent by Josh | 5:39 PM | 2-28-2008

Here's a special Britt Daniel edition - Top Five Spoon Lyrics:

???The Way We Get By???

We get high in back seats of cars
we break into mobile homes
we go to sleep to ???Shake Appeal???
never wake up on our own

???The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine???

He makes love to the duke
He swordfights the queen
He steals the whole show in his last dying scene
No one sees the two sides of Monsieur Valentine

???I Could See the Dude???

I could see your words hang in the air
But they did not spell out
what I thought that I heard

???Anything You Want???

If there's anything you want
Come on back cause it's all still here
I'll be in the back room drinking my half of the beer

"Everything Hits At Once"

Don???t say a word
The last one???s still stinging
Back a my mind
I feel that phone ringing
And there is no way back from this

Everything hits at once
What we needs is just what we wants
I go to sleep but think that you???re next to me
I go to sleep and think you???re next to me

He's surely one of the best songwriters going - whether he's being prosaic or fantastic he's always wonderfully pithy.

Sent by Jeremy Shatan | 3:19 PM | 2-29-2008

Anything by Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes, Magnetic Fields or Dylan works for me.
A few other favorite lyricists that make me smile...
1. S. Malkmus:

Jennifer dates a man in a 60s cover band
He's the Ess-dog, or Sean if you wish
She's 18, he's 31
She's a rich girl, he's the son
Of a Coca-Cola middle man

Kiss when they listen
To "Brothers In Arms"
And if there's something wrong with this
They don't see the harm
In joining their forces and singing along

2. Art Brut (on impotence):

I'm Sorry, so sorry.
Can I get you a cup of coffee?

Don't tell your friends, don't tell you friends!
I promise it won't ever happen again.

3. my favorite Jens Lekman:

I took my sister down to the ocean
But the ocean made me feel stupid
Those words of wisdom I had prepared
All seemed to vanish into thin air
Into the waves I stared

I picked up a seashell
To illustrate my homelessness
But a crab crawled out of it
Making it useless

4. How is there no Morrissey yet?

What she asked of me at the end of the day
Caligula would have blushed
"You've been the house too long" she said
and I naturally fled

In my life
why do I smile
at people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
but heaven knows I'm miserable now....

5. I have to second the Wilco "Shot in the Arm" lyric.
Everytime that song comes on, I open my mouth and my wife interrupts, "I know, I know-- this song has the greatest lyrics ever..."

Sent by Russ | 3:55 PM | 3-1-2008

I am such a lyrics freak :D So I have many... but let's see current top 5...

Belle and Sebastian - Is it wicked not to care?
"Is it wicked not to care when they say that you're mistaken
Thinking hopes and lots of dreams that aren't there?
Is it wicked not to care when you've wasted many hours
Talking endlessly to anyone that's there?"

Bright Eyes - Bowl of Oranges (And any other song by them)
"I said there is nothing I can do for you you can't do for yourself...
He said oh yes you can just hold my hand I think that would help
So I sat with him a while and then asked him how he felt
he said I think I am cure. No in fact I am sure
Thank you Stranger for your therapeutic smile
So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone.
And your eyes must do some raining if you are ever going to grow.
But when crying don't help and you can't compose yourself.
It is best to compose a poem, an honest verse of longing or simple song of hope."

Damien Rice - Accidental babies
"do you come
together ever with him?
is he dark enough
enough to see your light?
do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
do you miss my smell?
is he bold enough to take you on?
do you feel like you belong?
does he drive you wild?
or just mildly free?
what about me?"

Abscondo - Strangled Into Gray
"You bear such weight...the so-called healthy life
You do what the doctors say
One dose each day
When too much pain flows from a so-called life
Well maybe its time to change
A choice to make

You can't go bigger, stronger, faster every day
With all you wanted and loved strangled into gray
Do you fight what's real?
Do you want to f***ing feel...
But you can't?"

And all time BEST LYRICS I've ever heard:
Abscondo - Dreamscape
"We build up walls...pretend to stand tall
And swallow thoughts like corporate food
Expensive pills to kill our moods
Kill what comes from you

Dreamscape, dreamscape, everybody's talking like they're doing great
Its all gonna break, we're all gonna wake from these lives
With nothing much to say

And without much say
watch the world go a different way
Will different colors blind our site?

I guess the Communists did think the same as you
Cuz they did listen and the system told them what to do
still they had no clue

Then one brilliant May the system fades away
Everything that they had known gets stuck in yesterday
When the lies all fade
Well they got nothing to say!

Tear down that wall-street coke-fueled death mall
We'll turn off the TV too
F*** all night and sleep 'till noon
That's just what we'll do

If you find a way to know yourself and the words you say
A life of art is the art of life

You know I once was plugged into the system too
I guess my thoughts and dreams were mine just like a branded shoe
Or a cool hairdo

Then one brilliant day I finally few away
To let my present overcome my fears and... well anyway
Now I live my day
And I've had my say"

Sent by Freedom | 1:40 PM | 3-2-2008

One from Joe Pernice's old band - a band I sorely miss - the Scud Mountain Boys.

From the album Massachusetts, the song is Cigarette Sandwich.

"Cigarette sandwich in the evening,
ice cold coffee from the time you left me.

Now only winter runs her crippled fingers through my thinning hair."

Beautiful and bleak all at once.

Sent by Scott Sinclair, Wellington NZ | 1:31 AM | 3-3-2008

"mama mama many worlds i've come since I first left home" garcia/hunter
"Why am i here, I've got better things to do, I could hang out on the pier, down by the hudson sniffing glue" rhett miller OR "you can roll your eyes and nod but I swear that i saw god in the moonlight of a side street in the wreckage we call queens"
"Oh how can i explain its so hard to get on" visions
"I feel numb born with a weak heart I guess I must be having fun, the less we say about it the better we'll make it up as we go along. Feet on the ground head in the sky, Its ok I know nothings wrong"

Sent by remytnasep | 7:42 PM | 3-4-2008

"Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused."
Elvis Costello

"Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich"
Leonard Cohen

Sent by WanYe | 11:21 PM | 3-4-2008

From back when Weezer had decent lyrics, I've always liked "So you send me your love from all around the world
As if I could live on words and dreams and a million screams
oh, how I need a hand in mine to feel" from Across the Sea (Pinkerton).

Sent by Lucas | 11:01 AM | 3-7-2008

"Rows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, i've looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things i would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions i recall.
I really don't know clouds at all"
"Both Sides Now" Joni Mitchell

Sent by Letizia | 6:08 PM | 3-10-2008

She breaks for the summer, so she can find lovers,
She thinks that they are bottles of wine.
They make you dinner then they sing you to sleep,
But by the morning find the bottle is empty.

-The Format, Dead End

Sent by jkb | 2:45 AM | 3-11-2008

"Tell me your deep dark secret and I will tell you mine/Is that your deep dark secret?/Oh well, never mind."

Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love) from "Certain Slant of Light"

Sent by Tom | 4:52 PM | 3-11-2008

The Weakerthans: "Memory will rust and erode into lists of all that you gave me: some matches, a blanket, this pain in my chest, the best parts of Lonely, duct-tape and soldered wires, new words for old desires, and every birthday card I threw away." heartbreaking.

New Radicals: "I want to live it up. I don't want this high anymore, but I can't give it up."

Sent by desi | 6:29 PM | 3-11-2008

Joanna Newsom has some great lines:

"We sailed away on a winter's day with fate as malleable as clay" from Bridges and Balloons

and "I killed my dinner with karate" from The Book of Right-On.

I always love Josh Ritter, who has lines like

"We passed the time with crosswords that she'd thought to bring inside/'What five letters spell "apocalypse"?' she asked me./I won her over singing 'WWIII'/She smiled and we both knew that she'd misjudged me." from The Temptation of Adam

John Darnielle is my absolute favourite lyricist, and my current favourite lines, from Going To Georgia, are

"The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway is that it's you and that you're standing in the doorway and you smile as you ease the gun from my hand and I am frozen with joy right where I stand."

Sent by Caroline | 7:37 PM | 3-15-2008

I LOVE lyrics! Here are couple of my favourites:

"I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender"
-from "The Pretender" by Jackson Browne

"I'm not seventeen, but I've cuts on my knees
Falling down as the winter takes one more cherry tree."
-from "Girl" by Tori Amos

Jackson Browne and Tori Amos are my favourite lyricists of all time. Sheer poetry!

Sent by Jennifer | 9:50 PM | 3-15-2008

Top five Modest Mouse lyrics. 5."Self pity me, so pitiful/ You can see that birds and worms don't get along/ Self rightous me, so wrong though/ You can see that we don't have to get along/ Self pity me, so pitiful/ You can see that birds and worms do not agree/ And we will crawl." -Birds vs. Worms 4."Point A to point B,oh, I know/ Lots of points but no points in between for me/ So lonely but never alone I know/ I'm at my house but I wish that I were at home. -Point A to point B 3."Talking sh*t about a pretty sunset/Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon/ Changed my mind so much I can't even trust it/ My mind changed me so much I can't even trust myself. -Talking sh*t about a pretty sunset. 2."From the top of the ocean, yeah/ To the bottom of the sky, goddamn/ Well I get claustrophobic/ I can, you know that I can." -Teeth like God's shoeshine 1."Every time you think you're walking, you're just moving the ground/ Every time you think you're talking, you're just moving you're mouth/Every time you think you're looking, you're just looking down." -Cowboy Dan

Sent by William | 6:04 PM | 3-26-2008

sidewalk social scientists don't get no satisfaction - blondie

Sent by Nicole | 5:36 AM | 4-1-2008

Well, I?m a great music lover but I'm a boy of my time, so this choices of mine are better be called "the best misical lines I've ever heard in pop, R&b and Rock contemporary" So here they are:

"And we\'ll get lost together
Until the light comes pouring through
It\'s when you feel like you\'re done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you\'re not lost
When your world\'s crashing down
And you can\'t bear the cross
I said, babe, you\'re not lost" - "Lost" Michael Bubbl??

"Sad and it's not fare, how you take advantage of the fact that I love you beyond the reason why" - Ne-yo "Hate that I love you"

"I close my eyes than I won't see the love you don't feel when yo're hollding me." - Bonnie Raitt "I can't make you love me"

"Some mistakes where built to last,
That's what you give and that's what you get for changing your mind" - George Michael "Freedom"

"Things ain't what they used to be, my love for life has gone you see, am I fighting things I cannot see?" - Anouk "Jerusalem" (but her best lyric is "Michel")

"Treated me kind
Sweet destiny
Carried me through desperation
To the one that was waiting for me" - "Vision of love", Mariah Carey

"Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without" - "One", U2

"Forgive, sounds good
forget, I'm not sure I would
they say: time heals everything
but I'm still waiting" - "Not ready to make nice", Dixie Chicks

"Bittersweet memories - that is all I'm taking with me" - "I will allways love you", Withney Houston

"No matter how deep we grow
you always seem to let me know
it ain't workin'
it ain't workin'
and when i try to walk away
you hurt yourself to make me stay
this is crazy" - "EX-factor", Lauryn Hill

"You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way" - "Fast Cars", TRacy Chapman

...among others... hope you agree.. =/ XD

Sent by Michael Keyts | 6:35 PM | 6-6-2008

Late in the game for this, but for me No one ever had such glorious wordplay (though Elvis Costello comes damn close!) or captured quite so eloquently the sheer misery that is teenage life better than Britain's Billy Bragg in that tale of that first crush - "The Saturday Boy"

"She danced with me and I still hold that memory
Soft and sweet
And I stare at her window
As I walk down her street
But I never made the First Team,
I just made the First Team laugh
And she never came to the phone
She was always "in the bath"...

In the end it took me a dictionary
To find out the meaning of "unrequited"...
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited.."

and the sweet sadness of his anthem to lost love - "St Swithins Day"

"And the times that we all hoped would last;
Like a train,
they've gone by so fast
And though we stood together
At the edge of the platform
We were not moved by them...

The polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On st swithin's day..."

Sent by Roberta Guthrie Cox | 1:25 AM | 7-15-2008

how about shawn colvin's polaroids? never heard her before i caught the song on a late night npr program. i woke me up with the melody, but the words evoke a youthful life of travel and bohemian living better than any poem or lyric i have ever read. "i was so wary then, the ugly american, thinner than oxygen, tough as a whore. i said you can lie to me, i own what's inside of me, nothing surprises me anymore. but forests in germany, kids in the tuileries, broken down fortresses in old italy. and claiming his victory, shrouded in mystery, he went running away with me."
anyone who traveled as a youth, knows what she is talking about.

Sent by jon frank | 6:26 PM | 9-24-2008