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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Labi Siffre's 'So Strong' gives me goosepimples every time I hear it. Penned as a response to the state of South Africa during apartheid, it works as an anthem for all disenfranchised people.

Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' need I explain?

Elbow's 'One Day Like This' I love this song anyway, but it reminds me of the perfect birthday in the perfect company.

There are so many more, but these are today's goosepimplers.
Anne, thanks so much for finding videos with the lyrics of the songs right on the video! That's the best way for me to follow the music and the words at the same time (in addition to captioned videos, which are rare).

"One Day Like This" is delightful!

"So Strong" has a great message and is really inspirational and empowering.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" was a great song to hear and read again. When a song talks about friendship like this, it emphasizes the value of being supportive of one's friends. I myself didn't feel supported that way when I was growing up, and it was hard to get for a long time that people valued being supportive of each other. Songs like BOTW can be so powerful at communicating what's important to the singer(s) and then make us think about what's important to us.

Thank you!
"I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants me to be just like them" Bob Dylon
There really are too many to mention - I'm all about lyrics. I guess recently I've been enjoying The Cat Empire's lyrics a lot, especially song like Protons, Neutrons, Electrons and In My Pocket.

I also love the hell of out Captain Tractor, who are very underappreciated. Check out Ghostriders, Someday, and Number 3 Roxburgh Street.
Thought I'd share my reactions to Billy Joel's songs "Honesty" and "The Stranger."


I really appreciated Billy Joel singing this. I've certainly met some people who *didn't* want me to be honest with them; they only wanted to be cheered up. There can be too much emphasis on being nice and pleasant all the time at the expense of dealing with reality. If we're not honest with each other, then what are our relationships actually based on? It felt refreshing to see a singer express a desire for honesty rather than superficial, temporarily soothing words uttered just to smooth things over.

The Stranger

"The Stranger" points out, I think, that we can feel so much pressure to put on a facade that we don't even know some of the deeper aspects of who we are, and we can be strangers to ourselves as well as to the people we love. As atheists, many of us have felt a lot of pressure from society to downplay what we really think and feel, and sometimes we've even felt badly about being different. I like how the song states that the "stranger" within each of us is not evil or always wrong. I wished that I had understood this song while I was growing up; I think it would have encouraged me to think more about what was going on within me in an accepting way.
Frank Zappa's Trouble Coming Every Day (or Trouble Every Day) made a big impression on me back in '67-68. It was written in the aftermath of the Watts riots (in '66) and on the Mothers of Invention first album, Freak Out. I haven't found a good video yet that includes all the original lyrics. Most of the videos were much later live shows and later verses were dropped in favor of instrumental solos. But it struck a chord a few years later with Kent State and campus shutdowns. It seems like every 4-5 years it strikes me as the appropriate soundtrack to the societal craziness of the moment. The original version was delivered in a very dead-pan style that contrasted with the acuteness of the words brilliantly.

Lyrics: Trouble Every Day
It seems like every 4-5 years it strikes me as the appropriate soundtrack to the societal craziness of the moment.

Not surprised. I've seen many people make the same comment in the past.
I probably misinterpreted the lyrics to "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode. They sang "all I ever wanted, all I ever needed is here in my arms" and to me that was about self love and self-sufficiency, although they probably just meant that their lover was in their arms. I kind of pictured it as someone putting their arms around themselves, but that was meaningful to me even if it wasn't their intention.
I recently discovered that Vevo provides not only music videos but also lyrics for many of them (when provided by volunteers through TuneWiki). I'm still making my way through it. If you can find your favorite compelling videos here, let us know!

For example, here is Billy Joel's video, "Honesty:"

To turn on the lyrics, click on "Lyrics" and make sure the white background is showing.




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