What songs mean a great deal to you because of the lyrics themselves? Can you think of song lyrics that inspired you, that changed your perspective about something or which you came to appreciate as being particularly meaningful? Perhaps you can think of a song with a strong message in it that resonated with you?

One reason I'm asking this is because I can't hear the lyrics to ANY songs, and I'd like to discover more songs that have particularly meaningful lyrics (rather than just good tunes). I grew up with partial hearing loss, and although I can hear (and enjoy) the music of the majority of songs, I never understood the meaning of the songs being played over the radio or at live performances or dances. Only recently did I discover how wonderful some of Billy Joel's songs are; I simply hadn't seen their lyrics before. I really liked "Honesty" and "Stranger," for example, and I wished I had known what those songs meant decades ago.

To create a great experience for everyone reading this discussion topic (especially me!), please choose one, two or three songs with your favorite meaningful lyrics and then provide URLs to the song lyrics. The best way to do that would find a video that has the music combined with lyrics on the video itself or closed captions; YouTube has many videos with lyrics on them (they can usually be found by doing a YouTube search for the song + lyrics). Of course, not all songs have such a video available, so the next best option would be to find a URL to a good version of the lyrics and another URL to a video of the song. (Videos of the singers performing can be very helpful for tracking the words as they're being sung, but really good audio is an important consideration, too.)

Please feel free to put up links to just one song at a time and to come back later with links for another one, which would probably be easier for you. I think providing links to both lyrics and videos would create a really nice experience for all of us!

Another great source for finding songs with lyrics is http://www.tunewiki.com.

"Honesty," by Billy Joel, can be found in written and video form at:

Billy Joel's "The Stranger" can be found at:

At some point, it would be nice to know more about your own response to the lyrics, but that's up to you! To give people time to listen to the song first, it might make sense to write your response to the lyrics later, but you can be the judge of that.

[The above was re-edited at 8:13 p.m. October 28th (after some postings had already been provided) to emphasize providing links for the songs. ]

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Replies to This Discussion

Almost anything Georges Brassens wrote. Smart, sharp, witty, funny, and articulate to the highest degree. On top of that, his lyrics are always highly poetic, but I'm not sure how much of it survives past translation.

L'estaca (Lluis LLach), a Catalan anti-Franco protest song I've grown up with (see link in the Wikipedia article for an English translation). Solidarnosc used it as their anthem. As did the rugby union team I support ;-)

I can't help crying when I listen to that Hungarian song that's know as "Sombre Dimanche" in France and "Gloomy Sunday" in the English-speaking world. Ditto with Meeropol's "Strange Fruit". Billie Holiday's soul-rending renditions of these has probably something to do with it.
I really like "Be Quiet and Drive" by the Deftones. It's basically about being in a place that you hate and wishing that you could just drop everything and leave. It's a very hypnotic song - very good for putting on repeat :3

Lyrics here. Song here. (The video doesn't have the full song, which is too bad - the full version repeats the end chorus about another dozen times.)

"Daddy" by Korn. As someone on the lyrics comments page said, don't listen to this one if you're feeling depressed, because it'll tip you over the edge :P It's about child sexual abuse. There's this chorus that you HAVE to listen to in it, though. They were mixing in Gregorian chants in a few parts - possibly a swipe at the Catholic church? - and the chorus part where they mix in some screams with the chants is just musical genius.

Lyrics. Song.
I've been deeply impacted by many songs from eels, Nick Cave, and even a few songs by The Cranberries and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Music being such a personal and emotional vehicle, I try to avoid making individual song suggestions on such a broad topic, but I feel that the aforementioned artists have a varied catalog to suit almost any mood or feeling.
Jef, I really like this part of the song (from Angry Eyes):

"You and I must start to realize
Blindness binds us in a false disguise
Can you see me through those Angry Eyes?"

Really good point---is it possible to see people as they are when we're flooded with rage?

Listening to a song like this over and over makes you think a lot about how people deal with anger, doesn't it?

For "Blue on Black," can you explain what the lyrics meant to you or how they affected you?
Jef, you had written: "I wonder though with the 2 extremes of adoration or anger do we really see people as they are?"

I think it would be really hard to make a wise decision about them! Such intense feelings would deeply color our judgment.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about "Blue on Black." I think your interpretation is more interesting than the original words are!
Aaron S., thanks very much for providing links to the lyrics and music. I hadn't known the content of Korn's song, "Daddy" before; I was very moved by it. I also read the comments about the song to understand it more.

Jaume, unfortunately, I seem to find it very difficult to appreciate songs that are sung in another language. This may have something to do with my hearing loss since I really need to hear and understand the words in order to understand how the singer is expressing the emotions with the words, but that's not possible when I don't understand the language and can't pick out the words. To be candid, the English lyrics for the song "L'estaca" didn't have an emotional impact on me. I'm wondering if the associations you personally have with the song might have made it particularly meaningful for you, rather than the lyrics themselves.

I need to ask that all posters provide a link to the lyrics of any songs they recommend (and preferably the music), and to recommend specific songs, not the entire works of a singer or band. Otherwise, I and other readers unfamiliar with the songs will be overwhelmed with the time it would take to look up dozens or hundreds of unlinked songs. If you really, really love a song, please make it easier for everyone reading this topic to appreciate it as much as you do. Consider doing that an act of love on your part for the rest of us and also for the song itself!

(Jef---you posted while I was writing this posting the first time around----thanks for providing the links to the lyrics and songs!)
Jean Marie, thanks for providing the lyrics to these songs. I had trouble distinguishing the lyrics from the music for the first song, so I looked for a video showing the singers, but the second song was pretty easy to follow without a video.

I found a video of the "New Radicals" for "You get what you give" at:


Videos can give so much more information about what the singers wanted to convey, and the comments can be very informative sometimes. What do you think of the video?

"That Song Remembers When" is so rich in its details. Thanks for sharing it.
One specific song that really had an impact on me, especially because of the relationship I was in at the time, just came to mind... "Wrong Man" by Rollins Band
Aiden, that song, "Wrong Man," is a provocative one. I couldn't find the full song, so I was only able to look at the lyrics.

As a woman, my first reaction was that the "I" in the song was being rather self-absorbed. The song is about dealing with a a woman who's been traumatized by a man and who's been coping with that by putting up walls against all men. Instead of showing that he feels any sympathy for her at all, the "I" seems to focus only on the injustice to him about this traumatized woman being miserable, fearful and unable to trust him. There's not an ounce of empathy expressed anywhere.

(Another person described the real singer as being more than a little narcissistic. Narcissistic people don't experience empathy for other people.)

Trying to take the male point of view, I can appreciate it *is* tough for a guy to deal with someone who has been attacked, and an attack on a woman can have significant ripple effects for the man----even long after it happened. That's something that does need to be acknowledged. The woman may be venting far too much onto the male partner, so it feels important to realize how frustrating that would be for the male partner.

Thought-provoking song! Thanks!
I can see where one might think the song lacks empathy, but I wouldn't call it narcissistic. Song-writing is an outlet/release for many people, myself included. I find it to be an excellent way to just vent and get my own feelings out, and that's where I identify with this song.
Aiden, I see the male in the song venting about how it feels when the woman vents on him. Yes, there's value in self-expression, and in clarifying one's own feelings, but one also has to wonder how to respond to those feelings.

I personally don't know what's really going on, but thought it was interesting that someone else had said the singer seemed narcissistic. A singer might not necessarily advocate the point of view of the "I" in the song, but he could easily be misconstrued as having only that point of view.

In this song, the "I" (not necessarily the singer) focuses on his own feelings but doesn't address the feelings of the other person, the woman, who has been victimized. He doesn't sing about trying to help her at all or even feeling bad about what she went through. There's no indication he feels frustration about not being able to help her (because he apparently hasn't even tried to do that.) It's as if he thinks it's more important to think about his feelings than for him to deal with hers. And that's interesting to see----because there *are* people like that, including the guy who attacked the woman in the first place.

Most people talking about someone who's been victimized would mention *something* about feeling compassion or concern for her. This song seems unusual in not doing that at ALL.

A woman who didn't recognize that she was with a totally selfish guy who then attacked her might not be screening people well and she could end up with some other selfish guys later on. She could also wind up with decent guys who want to help but don't know how, and who would also feel frustrated at being treated like any other guy---but the "I" in the song isn't coming across to me like one of those guys.

BTW, I can see decent guys appreciating the frustration of the "I" in the song, but I hope they'd try to see the perspective of the woman, too.

Sometimes the lack of something is more important than what's been said.
Did anybody mention Andy Partridge's "Dear God"? Didn't change my life but it's nice to see people writing lyrics like that. Covered by Sarah McLachlan too.

A Patty Loveless song on the radio the other day, "Lonely too long" -- here's what I heard:

Well, good mornin'
Tell me how'd you sleep last night
We're still slimy,
So we must've done something right

But I googled it. It's not "We're still slimy" - it's "You're still smiling"

I like mine better.


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