Booking Through Thursday: Sing!


Ahh, those of you who have seen this week’s Booking Through Thursday prompt have been chomping at the bit, waiting for me to drag my sick (again) carcass off the couch and come answer it. I know you have been.

If you’re not sure why you’ve been waiting, here’s the question:

* What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
* Why?
* And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

See? Tailor-made for Susan!

Since there’s mention made of Broadway in the part I didn’t copy for you, I’ll start there. My #1 all-time musical?


Does this surprise anyone? And not just because I came a job acceptance away from going and living my own variation on that bohemian lifestyle (Sorry, Mark. I love you anyway!).

It’s One Song/Glory that gets me. And c’mon, those of you with creative, artistic urges, you know you feel the same way. To create just one moment of brilliance that’ll survive our lives (even if they aren’t going to be as shortened as the Rent dudes’)…

*sigh* Maybe even a *swoon*

There’s also that line in Les Mis, near the end, when Fantine is dying: To love another person/is to see the face of God.

Definite swoon.

BUT… we all know I’m a rocker chick. I could talk about lyrics as poetry forever. In fact, if I’d stayed in academia, I probably would be teaching a course or two in this subject, irritating all the Fundamentalists by creating classes like Heavy Metal Poetry.

’cause, for me, this is the essence of it all. Real heavy metal lyrics, not Motley Crue’s Girls Girls Girls. Thrash, speed, whatever you want to call it. Disturbed’s Liberate, which quotes a famous prayer:

Out of Zion shall come forth a law
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem
Nation shall not raise sword against nation
And they shall not learn war anymore
For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken

Given what’s going on in Gaza, this takes on yet a new urgency, doesn’t it?

Hell, Disturbed’s Prayer: This is the way I pray.

This makes more sense when you understand that a part of Kabbalah assigns value to each letter in a Hebrew word. And in this system, the words for Prayer and singing are the same.

I doubt that’s the way the band meant it to come out; there’s some veiled sexuality there if you read the lyrics in context, but part of me thinks it’s very hard to take a band in proper context. Lyrics are personal, they are powerful. They’re sort of like tarot cards: you get out of them what you need.

(anyone who remembers Late-Night Load Out, which is in Demo Tapes: Year 1, can see this prayer/song attitude in action.)

This is the tip of the iceberg for me. I could go on for days. Look at Godsmack’s Voodoo Too: Have you ever wondered why in a dream you can touch a falling sky/Or fly to the heavens that watch over you?

Ahh, the sense of wonder in there. Of childish abandon and hope.

But for sheer power of the mental image it provokes, the award’s gotta go to the King of bands, at least in Susan’s heart. Yeah, you know. That M-band. Again.

I’m frantic in your soothing arms/
I cannot sleep in this down filled world.

(that’s copied from the lyric book, but I swear James changes down to doubt.)

Yep, in an album that most people panned as utter drek, I’ve found these two lines that create a mental image so powerful, I can’t shake it. There’s so much emotion going on here… man, I can’t wait to create some fiction based on that image. There’s a sensuality, a power, an insanity, a desperation…

Who knows? Maybe one day I WILL get to teach a course in Heavy Metal Poetry. Maybe we’ll combine it with some creative writing and use the lyrics as a prompt. Where does this take you? What does it inspire?

Look around this blog and you’ll see what it inspires in me.

(note: all lyrics are copyright of their owners. I’ve used them entirely without permission but with even more respect. Got an issue? Tell the Tour Manager and we’ll take ’em down. But the post won’t make much sense if we do!)



  1. Gel

    January 15, 2009 8:31 pm

    My daughter’s favorite musical was “rent” until we just saw “Next to Normal.” I like the songs in both and Les Mis….ohhhhh Interesting post. I LOVE music and am so eclectic in my taste.

  2. Bob-kat

    January 16, 2009 4:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Heavy Metal is rife with great lyrics and quite frankly I would have trouble singling any out! Songs have resonance for me at different times depending what is going on in my world.

    I never worked on Rent but I loved working Les Mis 🙂

  3. Jen

    January 16, 2009 9:44 pm

    Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog!

  4. julia

    January 17, 2009 1:01 pm

    This is actually an Irish folk song, but these lyrics punch me in the gut every time:
    ‘The water is wide, I cannot get o’er
    Neither have I wings to fly
    Give me a boat that can carry two
    And both shall row, my love and I’

    I loved that song so much it was sung at my wedding (but luckily it had been made over into a wedding-ish hymn – yay me!)

    I also love these lines from West Side Story’s ‘Maria’:
    ‘The most beautiful sound I ever heard:
    All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word
    Say it loud and there’s music playing,
    Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.’

    Great post Susan. As well as your previous one about the benefit concert for the fire-ravaged animal shelter (ask me if that hurt to read that…)

    In case you have nothing to do in the next little while…Tag! You’re it!

  5. Ann

    January 17, 2009 4:02 pm

    Stings lyrics are like that, the images are incrdible.
    We dream in safety’s keeping
    But perhaps the dream
    Is dreaming us
    Soaring with the seagulls
    Perhaps the dream
    Is dreaming us
    Astride on the backs of eagles
    This is has been tickling my brain for more than a week now.
    P.S. I love, love Les Mis- saw it twice, in fact, when I lived in London. 🙂

  6. Ann

    January 17, 2009 4:03 pm

    P.S. I think the use you make of others’ lyrics in the post would qualify under the fair use section of the copyright law. Especially as you give credit to the creators. 🙂

  7. Thomma Lyn

    January 17, 2009 11:28 pm

    Oh man, I could write volumes of comments. What a great post, what a great topic. I love Les Mis, too, and here’s a snippet from a favorite Metallica song:

    you’re my mask
    you’re my cover, my shelter
    you’re my mask
    you’re the one who’s blamed
    do my work
    do my dirty work, scapegoat
    do my deeds
    for you’re the one who’s shamed

    From “Gold Dust” by Tori Amos:

    How did it go so fast —
    you’ll say
    as we are looking
    and then we’ll
    We held gold dust
    in our

    From “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails:

    in this place it seems like such a shame
    though it all looks different now, i know it’s still the same
    everywhere i look you’re all i see
    just a fading fucking reminder of who i used to be

    From “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John:

    An enchanted moment, and it sees me through
    It’s enough for this restless warrior just to be with you

    … oh, I could go on and on. 🙂

  8. Anne

    January 18, 2009 4:25 pm

    I love Rent and I love One Song/Glory. I would love to hear more about the close brush with the bohemian lifestyle. If you are ever looking for something to talk about :).

  9. Wylie

    January 18, 2009 6:44 pm

    LOVE Rent – Love Les Mis even more… but my fave song in that is On My Own – which I’ve never been able to listen too without pouring tears. Man, music is so powerful, it hurts.

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