Music holds an incredible power over us mere mortals. Tempo affects the way we move, the beat can change the entire atmosphere of a party teeming with people and the genius of a beautifully crafted lyric can cause all sorts of feels.
In no particular order here are ten of my favourite song lyrics.
When Doves Cry – Prince – 1984
It’s no surprise that this was the top selling single of 1984, and no matter what playlist I create this song always ends up on it. Doves are synonymous with the holy spirit in Christianity, often being released at weddings. They are symbols of purity, hope and peace, so for them to be crying suggests a betrayal of the deepest kind. That they are crying and not hurt leaves us some hope because Doves are also symbols of forgiveness.
I Only Envy the Eagles – Govardo
A few years ago, my husband and I were in Stratford upon Avon with our two dogs. It was the height of summer and we we sitting on the grass bathing in the sun when the most beautiful harmonic sounds started to weave trough the air. Following the sound we found two chaps creating the most magical sounds. This lyric speaks of an inner peace with humanity, but an awareness of the vastness of life and possibilities without boundary.
The Show Must Go On – Queen – 1991
This is an anthemic wonder of a song, nobody is invulnerable to its power because it speaks to something in all of us. At some point we have all had our own ‘The Show Must Go On” moment. These lyrics speak of the delicate fragility of a butterfly fortified by the integrity and permanence of the Soul. The song was mostly written by Brian May about Freddie so I imagine the fairy tales lyric as a message from Brian to Freddie, in affirmation of a life well lived; I also like the suggestion of immortality and release with no unfinished business.
Maria Maria – Santana – 1999
Santana is a genius with a guitar and this song is an indisputable masterpiece. I have listened to this song at home relaxing, reading or writing and I have witnessed the power it also has to fill a nightclub dancefloor on the basis of just its introduction. DJ Khaled also used its lure in his Wild Thoughts track featuring Rihanna. I love equating the power of connection being attributed the same gravitas as the weather, a volatile, uncompromising formidable force of nature.
Vincent – Don McLean – 1971
I was gifted this song by Govardo, a band that appear earlier in this list. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, or read. The lyrics are so incredible that it was a struggle for me to isolate any, but I had to have this song in the list. This lyric is spellbindingly speaking of the ravages of a cruel earthly misunderstood life. The song is about Van Gogh and Don McLean wrote it referencing the suicide of the painter not being an act of insanity, but one of a man bereft of hope in unrequited love.
Wham! – Careless Whisper – 1984
If I am ever asked what my favourite song of all time is, my answers waver between Purple Rain by Prince and this incredible piece of art. This lyric really gets me in my feels for a plethora of reasons; it makes me think of being consumed by the weight of guilt, and an attempt to escape and get lost in the throes of hedonism and music, only to find no solace.
Lights Down Low – Gnash and Max – 2016
I seem to like a lot of lyrics that reference swimming, probably a Pisces thing, and this lyric transports me to those early days when you are getting to know a person. The conversations that feel sacred, where cynicism and reality are suspended, allowing for limitless ethereal hope. This is another song that finds it way onto every playlist I create!
Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars – 2006
This song is beautiful in its purity, it allows love to have a happy ending, and there’s no protagonist. It’s the purest love song I can ever think of, which is supported by a memory I have of it being sung a capella whilst a friend of mine walked down the aisle to her husband to be. I like to think that this lyrics speaks of adage that eyes are the windows to the Soul. so no matter how we behave, and as our self believe wavers, we will always see our truth in the eyes of those we love, and that love us.
Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – 2012
This song received critical acclaim and was adopted as the anthem of Gay and Lesbian rights movement for equal rights. The entire creation is unapologetic in addressing hypocrisy, injustice and unkindness. This lyric appeals to me and suggests a perversion of religion; the ignorant actions of humanity that are called out with exacting specificity. A message that will never lose its weight or clarity as it reminds us that we are the same, and deserve the same love.
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen – 1984
What I love about this song is the theme of subversion, while it questions the construct is speak of. Usually an exaltation, Hallelujah becomes a plea for mercy. It feels like a prayer and the difference tenses and positions make me think of an internal battle raging; something that we all can attest to. I like to think that Leonard wanted to speak to the desolate person that believes they have no power with his talking of a blaze of light in every word. We all have the light.