Reviews

She Likes Big Words

Okay. True confessions. I was an English major. This, in turn, made me a big word nerd. Part of what I enjoy about music is the use of imagery and vocabulary to share and express the feelings of the music. Nothing gets me more excited than a lyricist that allows my inner-word nerd out.

Here are some of my favorite lines, choruses, and lyrics by musicians I consider to be underrated.

Elijah Blue Allman of Deadsy

Excerpt from “She Likes Big Words”

Well she comes from the land
Of Valencian winds
Deciduous daydream
See sometimes just maybe
The mistress of when
Dressage round the bend
A triptych of new touch
From heaven to men
Invisible trends

She likes nice cars
Impossible trends
She bites the heads off
Her beautiful friends
We dine at the table
She likes big words
She sits at the end
Although we’ll never comprehend

In my own little world, this song was written for me. I have been accused by multiple people of having a vocabulary that is too large for the normal populous. I can’t help that I am a walking thesaurus. I “like big words.”

 Elijah Blue Allman is considerably underrated as a lyricist. Despite be Cher and Greg Allman’s son, he has managed to carve his own niche in the music industry. When most lyricists shy away from using large words for fear of alienating an audience, Allman embraces the large vocabulary.

Melora Creager of Rasputina

Excerpt from “The Shirtwaiste Fire”

Once it started
The frail and fainthearted
Just withered to the floor
Oh, so sadly
We examined hands burned badly
By that which no man fears more.
My best friend
Was alone in the alcove,
Does anyone see her there?

Such a sweet face
Trapped in a staircase
By the smell of her own burning hair and the

Terrible flames of
All that remain of
My Little Shirtwaist Fire

Glow baby glow as the embers they died there,
Nobody knows what we saw inside there.
Twisting and burning, the girls’ fine young bodies

I’ve included“My Little Shirtwaist Fire” for its historical context and significance. Melora Creager often uses history or literature as the root source for her songs. For example, “The Herb Girls of Birkenau” is about the passivity of people who lived around the Birkenau concentration camp. Even though they saw what was happening, they did nothing to stop the heinous acts.

 The actrocity of the Shirt Waiste Fire is an event from US history that is often forgotten. For those who do not know, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 caused the deaths of 145 workers, all female. Most of the deaths could have been prevented had the Triangle Shirtwaist Company practiced safety in work practices. The sweatshop-like conditions of the company included doors that could not be unlocked and blocked fire escapes. Many women burned to death in the factory. Its wide-spread news coverage eventually lead to OSHA standards and practices. Creager brings attention to the plight of these young women who were seemingly sacrificed in order to save the company money.

 “Dig Ophelia”

Dig Ophelia, consider it dug
Flowers madness and polar bear rug
Here’s the water, just ankle deep high
Lay back and relax and look up at the sky

Your eyes never close, your mind’s not at rest
Lay back, get waterlogged
Give us a kiss

Water spreads the small seed
Water kills the tall weed
Ophelia

Cut the stem and you’ll see how you feel
Floating orchids just ain’t no big deal
Never knowing’s like knowing too much
Tap the table, oh here’s more bad luck

Your eyes never close, your mind’s not at rest
Lay back, get waterlogged
Give us a kiss

Water spreads the small seed
Water kills the tall weed
Ophelia

Creager continues her exploration into the exploitation of women by penning a song for Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ophelia is one of two female characters in this great work. She serves as a doppelganger to Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. She is the one to see Hamlet starting to lose his mind. Poor Ophelia. She feels for Hamlet to the point where she is convinced he loves her. He famously tells her “Get thee to a nunnery.” From this point forward she goes just as crazy as Hamlet. Her father accuses her of being a whore. She performs her famous flower song and drowns herself. Each of the flowers she sings of are symbolic of her chaste nature. Poor Ophelia. She was just as crazy as Hamlet. Creager highlights the nature of Ophelia being duped by the man she loves to the point that it drives her to commit suicide.

Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection

Excerpt from “Big Bad Wolf”

I smell your blood from far away
You’ve lost because
I’ve got your scent
I’m on the hunt
There’s nowhere to run
‘Cause I’m coming

My lover what have you become?
Why must you look at me that way?

Because my dear you look so good
You’re good enough to eat
I’ll never let you go

Once I have sunk my teeth into you

I hear the trembling in your voice,
Don’t be afraid
I’m not as vicious as the tomes say,
I’m just hungry

If it isn’t obvious by now, I have a deep and abiding respect for Daniel Graves. I respect his honesty and devotion to his work and fans. I also appreciate his honesty. Hopefully, if he ever reads this, I hope he won’t threaten to excommunicate me from the Imperfect Society.  

If you don’t know the truth behind “Little Red Riding Hood,” let me give you a short run-down. While a seemingly innocent tale about a young girl encountering some problems while trying to visit her ill grandmother, the truth behind this fairytale is quite darker. The truth behind the story is to highlight the primitive sexual nature of men. The Big Bad Wolf is actually meant to represent the predatory nature of men. When he is claiming he will eat Little Red Riding Hood, this is a double entendre directed at sexual intercourse. Being that she is “Little” Red Riding Hood, her stature is meant to be indicative of the female that cannot protect herself from others. As she continually says “What big eyes…” yada yada yada, the story is trying to show the naivety of young girls. Essentially, this story was meant to serve as a warning to young girls: “Do not stray from your path and speak to strangers or your innocence will suffer.”

 Whether purposefully or inadvertently, Daniel Graves helps draw a connection between the story and the stereotype. Graves presents a conversation between lovers. He highlights the sexual nature of men and how the prowl for women. He justifies it by placating the female into saying she is the cause for his sudden change in demeanor. His lyrics suggest that he “is not as vicious as the tomes say.” He is rationalizing the rapacious nature of men to women.

 Whether meant to be taken seriously or tongue-in-cheek, these lyrics are greatly underrated. Drawing attention to this situation is half the battle.

Plus… can I just have a nerd-girl moment over the fact that he used the word “tomes” and he knew what it meant.

Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth

Excerpt from “Babylon AD”

And as I broke hope, I choked
Another pope with manna peel
Dictating to DeSade
In the dark entrails of the Bastille
And as he wrote, I smote
A royal blow to the heads of France
And in the sheen of guillotines
I saw others, fallen, dance

Dani Filth will always hold a special place in my heart. He is quite possibly the most well-read musician I have ever come across. Putting aside all of the literary references in just one song, the lyrics for this song are in parallel with John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Within this song, we see the fall from grace that Satan endures and the supposed outcomes of the world.

Within the lyrics, Filth is almost documenting what he believes to be the supposed “downfalls” of man that Satan is responsible for. As Filth screams“ Dictating to DeSade/In the dark entrails of the Bastille/And as he wrote, I smote/A royal blow to the heads of France,” the listener is transported to one of the bloodiest times in French history. While the French revolution continued to rage on with beheadings, the lyrics suggest that Satan helps to continue the bloodshed and influence one of the most prolific writers of smut.

 The lit-nerd in me goes crazy every time I hear this song.

 

Chris Motionless of Motionless in White

Excerpt from “America”

We take medication to be someone else
And we take off our clothes to pay for the bills
Where downloading content will buy you a sentence
And murder is free in the Hollywood hills

And I’m living one big nightmare, the ugly truth has a model face
Making saints out of useless pop stars
Where’s the intelligence?

Love or hate the band, you cannot deny that Chris Motionless is nothing short of a genius when it comes to writing lyrics. Starting with their album Infamous, Motionless really started to blossom as a lyricist. Tackling the state of the nation in the song “America,” Motionless points out the hypocrisy of the great country we call the United States. While the nation often claims to be damned near perfect, Motionless is quick to point out the inaccuracies and double-standards by which the country functions. I applaud someone who is/was only 26 years old taking on such a heavy topic.

Excerpt from Reincarnate

I won’t bite my tongue
I am not afraid
Spineless,
A dominion of nothing is all you will reign
You laugh, but what did you create?
Bitch, you give a fucking asprin a headache.”

How can you NOT laugh at this hyperbole? That has to be one of the greatest comebacks.  Motionless is a very witty lyricist. If you actually focus on what he’s saying (after you head bang the first time), you discover that he really is an articulate writer.

I could probably write a dissertation about the lyrics by Chris Motionless. Unfortunately people really seem to love to hate Motionless in White. In my opinion, people are not giving him half the credit he deserves. The current album, The Graveyard Shift is quite possibly Motionless’s greatest work to date. There is not a badly written lyric on the album.  The depth he has achieved with this record is his most impressive.  With every new song, I discovered the greater depths to which he can go.

 

Final Thoughts:

Like I said, I’m a word nerd.  I appreciate a well crafted some and attention to detail.  I love to see a musician who isn’t afraid to show his/her intelligence in word and song.

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