« caption, please | Main | QOD: And then the hand came out of the grave! »

Wednesday Musical Chairs: Damn, I Wish I Wrote That

Today's musical chairs topic is (it is Wednesday, right?) Which song do you wish you wrote? (All musical chairs posts by other contributors can now be found here)

I thought long and hard about this one. After all, there are so many songs with great lyrics, so many songs that inspire me, make me cry or give me hope. There are songs where the lyrics flow like poetry or read like a novel, song that I listen to and think, damn, those are some amazing lyrics. But I don't think "so you wish you wrote" really means "the greatest song ever written."

While choosing my song, I listened to a bunch of Nick Cave and Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden, even some Beck and Lagwagon and The Smiths and on and on and on.

All those songs I listened to are wonderful in and of themselves (and certainly a few of them just had that "damn I wish I wrote that line moment), but it was taking a trip back to my own songwriting days (when I assumed that songwriting consisted of writing awkward poetry and handing it over to a friend who could sort of play guitar) when I knew what song - or at least what songwriter - I would choose.

See, I always wanted to be clever. Clever, as far as songwriting goes, means you have the ability to be witty and punchy while remaning serious. Ironic poetry? Maybe. I could never pull of clever. I wanted to write songs that could make people smile at my turn of phrase, grin at my witty use of rhyme schemes, chuckle at my cleverness, yet, when the song is over, think well, that kind of hit me in the gut. Does anyone do that? Is there a songwriter that has accomplished what I wanted to? Yes, there is. And his name is Dr. Frank, he of The Mr. T. Experience and this blog.

Honestly, I wish I wrote all his songs. Who else could invoke Hitler's love life and still come off as sympathetic? And while there are a crapload of MTX songs I could have chosen for this one, the one song I really, really wish I wrote, the one song that makes me simmer with a friendly sort of jealousy, the song that is quietly angry and quietly sad, which uses cleverness and wit and charming rhymes to such a degree that you don't even realize the defeat within and, most of all, the song that makes me say I wish I wrote that is:

I Don't Need You Now (Download and LISTEN to it while you read the lyrics)

There was a time when I thought I would die everytime I thought of you. I'd cry and think myself into a state and drink myself to sleep too late. But what was pulling us and me apart was only breaking in my broken heart: now it's controlled again, on hold again, and more broken in than it's ever been.

So I don't need you now. I can't believe how I ever wondered how I'd ever make it without you-- thinking about you, but I don't need you now.

There was a time when I thought I should try to make myself hate you to get by. It wasn't hard to do, to think of you and all the things you put me through. But now I've had some time to contemplate, and I've discovered other things to hate. There's still bitterness I can't resist, but you're moving to the bottom of a pretty long list.

So I don't hate you now, and I don't even want to checkmate you now. I still don't like how much you don't want me to touch you, but I don't hate you now.

And if I'm crying, well what did you expect? I've been trying, but I still don't know how not to be a wreck.

And though I'm still aware you're still out there, still busy breaking someone's heart somewhere, and though to you it's nothing new, for once I've got no explaining to do.

Cause I don't know you now, and I don't have anything to show you now, except for all of these apologies that I don't owe you now.

Courtney chose Wish You Were Here (which was on my short list)
Tesco chose London Calling

Find out more about MTX (and buy their albums!) here .


My favorite MTX songs include "Swiss Army Girlfriend", "Gilman Street", "The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful" (which I used to use as my weather music when I did online radio), and my #1 favorite, "I'm Like Yeah, But She's All No", which holds a special place in my heart because it introduced me to MTX via a Love Hina Anime Music Video.

Yeah, I'm a geek. But who says anime can't introduce you to other useful things, like MTX.

I might look this up. I'm waiting for the next musical revolution and its not here yet. Radiohead are the only ones pushing the boundaries at the moment.

I could only wish that I had written every Tom Yorke song (and add, for me personally, every Talking Heads song). They never fail to capture me.

Ceremony by Joy Division/New Order.

I always wished I had written the line:

And in the darkened underpass
I thought oh god, my chance has come at last(but then a strange fear gripped me and I Just couldnt ask)

from "A Light That Never Goes Out"

Alan, that's definitely a good pick. I wish I wrote Bigmouth Strikes Again:

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt, oh
As the flames rose to her roman nose
And her Walkman started to melt

Damn, that's a good one too. A final Smiths line from Paint a Vulgar Picture:

What makes most people feel happy
Leads us headlong into harm

I once considered putting that on a license plate frame.

I wish I had written "Asylum" (Supertramp).

Please don't arrange to have me
Sent to no asylum.
I'm just as sane as anyone
It's just a game I play for fun.
For fun.

Heck, I wish I'd written the whole Crime of the Century album (with Dark Side of the Moon running a very close second place)

Being a Parrotthead, you know my selection would come from Buffett and here it is:
"Cowboy in the Jungle"

Alone on a midnight passage
I can count the falling stars
While the Southern Cross and the satellites
They remind me of where we are
Spinning around in circles
Living it day to day
And still twenty four hours may be sixty good years
It's really not that long a stay.

i couldn't nail down just one, but i found two, and both of mine are by the Replacements, and i've recently learned to play them on guitar. Their simplicity is part of what makes me love them, and the sort of loneliness and bleakness of them is the rest of it. "Here Comes A Regular" (the line "I used to live at home and now i stay in a house" for some reason) and "If Only You Were Lonely"- lyrically wonderful.

Aimee Mann, Susan. Another deceptively simple song.

Oh, Susan, you were clued in
you knew just how this thing would go
a prognosis that was hopeless
from the very first domino
I guess I see it all in hindsight
I tried to keep perspective despite
the flash of the fuse, the smell of cordite

I've never heard another song with "cordite" in it.

"Yesterday" by Paul McCartney. Not because I like it, but because I read somewhere that it is the most covered song in history and you can make a lot of money from those covers.

pril stole my line from "Here Comes a Regular" Stopped me dead in my tracks the first time i heard it. Says so much in one line...

From "Birdhouse in Your Soul", by They Might be Giants:

"...Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul"

And for something truly wierd, also from They Might be Giants, from "We Want a Rock":

"If I were a carpenter id
Hammer on my piglet, id
Collect the seven dollars and id
Buy a big prosthetic forehead
And wear it on my real head"

Michele, you are awesome.
You've explained his songwriting more aptly than I ever could.

watching the detectives - e costello

Long shot of that jumping sign,
Visible shivers running down my spine.
Cut the baby taking off her clothes.
Close-up of the sign that says,"We never close"
You snatch a tune, you a match a cigarette,
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet.
I don't know how much more of this I can take.
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake.

Brilliant choice, lucia.

elvis is simply one of the best writers alive