The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

The Poetry in Song Lyrics


For my son song lyrics are like poetry. Whatever story we are sharing or quirks of human behavior, there are song lyrics that might sum it up and say it better.

His knowledge of lyrics reminded me of a forgotten man I worked with years ago who had an encyclopedic knowledge of songs. A song would start playing on the radio, and he would rattle off the artist, the songwriter, the label, the year. I wonder if he continued stockpiling the same information for all the songs for the next 30 years.

Jacob’s knowledge of lyrics has made me deliberately conscious of them now. Yesterday I played him “The Grand Optimist” by City and Colour because he and I are like the father “always looking on the bright side”.

Here are a couple of songs that Jacob recently used in conversation (links to the complete lyrics). And then there are mine with optimism about human nature. But the last is simply because it mentions Arizona…..

Free Will” by Rush

If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice

Then What” recorded by Clay Walker

But you better think about it before you cross that line
The grass ain’t always greener on the other side
Then what
What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through

Hey Jealousy” recorded by Gin Blossoms

And you can trust me not to think
And not to sleep around
If you don’t expect too much from me
You might not be let down

Imagine” recorded by John Lennon

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Same Love” recorded by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert)

America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself

I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it

Respect” recorded by Aretha Franklin

Respect is what I want from you
Respect is what I need
Respect is what I want
Respect is what I need

Castles in the Sky” recorded by Ian Van Dahl featuring Marsha

Do you ever question your life?
Do you ever wonder why?
Do you ever see in your dreams?
All the castles in the sky

Affirmation” recorded by Savage Garden

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people’s hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone

Oceanfront Property” recorded by George Strait

I got some ocean front property in Arizona
From my front porch you can see the sea
I got some ocean front property in Arizona
If you’ll buy that I’ll throw the golden gate in free

Savage Garden. “Affirmation.” Affirmation, Sony Music Entertainment, 1999.

Ian Van Dahl featuring Marsha. “Castles in the Sky”. Castles in the Sky, Robbins Entertainment LLC, 2001.

Rush. “Freewill.” Permanent Waves, Mercury, 1980.

Gin Blossoms. “Hey Jealousy.” New Miserable Experience, UMG Recordings, Inc, 1992.

John Lennon. “Imagine.” Imagine, Apple, 1971.

George Strait. “Oceanfront Property.” Oceanfront Property, MCA 53021, 1986.

Aretha Franklin. “Respect.” I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Atlantic Records Studio, 1967.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. “Same Love.” The Heist, Macklemore LLC, 2012.

City and Colour. “The Grand Optimist.” Little Hell, Vagrant Records, 2011.

Clay Walker. “Then What.” Rumour Has It, Giant Records, 1997.

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