Unique Phraseology

I’ve said it before, and this won’t be the last time you see it written here; I’ve always been a little left of center.  In my school years this was a problem, because most people didn’t know what to do with someone like me, who didn’t often like the popular things.

It can also be a problem when I end up taking the long way, or a less-known route to get things done.  It’s not that I purposely look for the unusual, or “hard” way, it’s just that my mind tends to be more interested in unique things.

That’s especially true of song lyrics.  I’ve loved songs and singing since I was five . . . maybe even younger than that; my mom has a slide of me standing up in my toy box, singing at full voice, but I don’t know what age I was.  Music is just something that’s always touched me, especially when it’s done well.  I really enjoy it when an artist finds a way to convey ideas using everyday words in unusual combinations.  Some cliches in songs are fine – and I appreciate how hard it must be to write songs – but I really notice it when something gets expressed in a very non-cliche way.

Now, I’m not talking about songs that were clearly written during a drug-infused haze.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, but I just can’t relate to plasticine porters who wear looking-glass ties.  As fun as songs like that can be, it’s ultimately a bunch of gibberish to me.

I’ve mentioned that Billy Joel is my favorite artist of all-time.  His word combinations aren’t always unique, but I think they’re very strongly written.  When you add his amazing piano compositions, they’re even better.  I also like Elton John, and Jackson Browne for their songwriting abilities, but there are some newer artists whose word usage make my brain sit up and take serious notice.  I find myself wanting to do an air punch when I hear how they phrase their songs.

So, sit back and enjoy some music that may be new to you.  I’ve included links for the lyrics, for those who (like me) want to know all the words, to properly enjoy the song . . .

The first band I heard use unusual phrasing was Train.  Drops of Jupiter (lyrics) blows me away with the interesting way they sing about missing someone who’s gone off to find themselves.  From the first two lines “Now that she’s back in the atmosphere, with drops of Jupiter in her hair”, you know you’re in for an unusual, but amazingly-descriptive song.  Another great one by them – though it’s not as widely known – is Your Every Color (lyrics).  Such a wonderful love song with rich meaning in the words.

I also love Maroon 5.  Their lyrics are more on the edgy side of love and sex, so I won’t list them here, but needless to say, my senses are on full alert whenever I hear their songs too.  Robbie Williams also has some great stuff, especially Revolution (lyrics).  That song always raises my spirits, even if I’m not in need of their counseling.

My most recent favorite in this arena, however, has got to be K. T. Tunstall.  The Scottish singer/songwriter is probably best known for her hit Suddenly I See, which was featured in The Devil Wears Prada.  However, I encourage anyone to take a listen to her lesser-known songs.  Off of her first album, Eye to the Telescope, I love Universe & U (lyrics), and Other Side of the World (lyrics).

From Acoustic Extravaganza, check out Throw Me a Rope (lyrics are on the YouTube site).  She starts that song right off with “I want you between me and the feeling I get when I miss you”.  It’s a long way to say that, but it’s so unique that I loved the song from that first line.  Funnyman (lyrics), which is from Drastic Fantastic, has a great guitar lick to go with the words.  The most unique phrase from that is later in the song: “And with no more to lose, You said you feel like a bruise, On a beautiful body” but the rest of the song is worth waiting for that line.

If you’ve got some uniquely-written songs that you enjoy, please feel free to share them.  I’m always on the look out for new, good music.


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