stills Sitting here listening to some old Crosby Stills Nash & Young songs, and it occurred to me how powerful many of the lyrics of that era were. I must be getting old, or listening to the wrong stuff. If anyone can point me to some recent music lyrics that are as eloquent, spare and moving as these two from Stephen Stills, I’d be grateful; I’d like to have my belief in the importance and power of contemporary music renewed:


4+20 years ago
I come into this life
The son of a woman
And a man who lived in strife.
He was tired of being poor,
And he wasn’t into selling door to door,
And he worked like the devil to be more.

A different kind of poverty now upsets my soul.
Night after sleepless night
I walk the floor and I want to know
Why am I so alone?
Where is my woman can I bring her home?
Have I driven her away?
Is she gone?

Morning comes the sunrise
And I’m driven to my bed.
I see that it is empty
And there’s devils in my head.
I embrace the many colored beast.
I grow weary of the torment,
Can there be no peace?
And I find myself just wishing
That my life would simply cease.

Helplessly hoping

Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word.
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit
He runs, wishing he could fly,
Only to trip at the sound of good-bye.

Wordlessly watching he waits by the window
And wonders
At the empty place inside.
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams,
He worries Did he hear a good-bye?
Or even hello?

They are one person, they are two alone,
They are three together, they are for each other.

Stand by the stairway
You’ll see something certain to tell you
Confusion has its cost.
Love isn’t lying, it’s loose in a lady who lingers,
Saying she is lost,
And choking on hello.

They are one person, they are two alone
They are three together, they are for each other.

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12 Responses to CARRY ON

  1. Michael says:

    Dave, I don’t know if you’d find this song, New World Water, by Mos Def, spare and moving in the same way as the songs you listed. But something tells me that you will appreciate the lyrics. I’m trying to think of somer others. This would be a great thing to TrackBack to…

  2. I started reading “The Tipping Point” in Mark’s latest edition, and had to put it aside for this afternoon’s reading hour. Need to concentrate to read something like this, and the morning is too filled with household chores. Woman, thy name is House Slave.

  3. ed nixon says:

    I’ve been severly hearing disabled for nine years now and, of course, I had tears running down my face trying to remember and then sing those great old lyrics, recall the sublime vocal harmonies… and then I was thinking about how much solid value there is in “After the Gold Rush” — Southern Man, Silver Spaceships, Fly Away Without You (or whatever the real titles are.) I found out recently that my 12-year-old son doesn’t even know what “flip-side” means. :) A whole metaphor on quality, primacy or the transcendance thereof lost in the techno-digi churn of pseudo innovation.Thanks for the nudge. …edN

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Mike: Could make for an interesting diablog, though if it’s anything like the debate over novels and films in these parts, there’ll be absolutely no consensus.Paul: Neil Y. wrote my favourite song, Will to Love and I keep coming back to him from time to time, but since Goin’ Back he hasn’t come up with the raw, memorable lyrics he once was famous for. I’ll buy the new album, of course. Rust never sleeps.Maxine: I sympathize: I find it hard enough keeping up with everything as a Somewhat coddled empty-nest male. I don’t know how you do it. Love your turn of phrase in the pieces that punctuate your visuals. You should write poetry.Ed: Thanks. I suspect that it’s women singer-songwriters who have taken over as the new guard of lyric craftsmen (craftspeople?). Just went through my favourite 20 songs of the last decade and 15 of them are by women: Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, etc. Wonder what that means?

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Ed: BTW, I enjoy your writings on language, especially the posts skewering PowerPoint, our 21st century NewSpeak.

  6. Spooky – I have an mp3 CD in my car with about 110 tracks on it, which I play randomly almost daily. It includes about 6 Bob Dylan, 8 Neil Young and one CSN&Y, namely Love the One You’re With (from Woodstock). The rest are a selection of my faves thru the ages right up to Queens of the Stone Age. For deep and witty lyrics you might try Neil Hanlon of Divine Comedy.

  7. kara says:

    And “Wooden Ships” (by CS&N)

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Ian: Divine Comedy is new to me, but just reading this one line from one of their songs in an album review is enough to make me put it on my Buy list: “a mourning nation weeps and wails, but keeps the sales of evil tabloids healthy – the poor protect the wealthy”. Wonder how come I’ve never heard of these guys? Now I really feel old.

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Kara: Yes. That’s the only song I love two versions of — the original and the Jefferson Airplane version on Volunteers. “Probably keep us both alive”. BTW, thanks for the wonderful quote from Marshall McLuhan on your blog:There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. We are all crew.

  10. Dave Pollard says:

    Ian: Forgot to thank you for the link to “The Nonsense of Knowledge Management”. My reply to it coming up tomorrow morning.

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