Song Lyric Sunday (22 March 2020) – Vows

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor, A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of cash and flowers (my selection). This week, he gives us the theme of vows.

In the summer of 1989, I was studying for my final exams at university, spending about 10 hours in the library each day. There were distractions, of course. I had a girlfriend whom I’d banned myself from seeing while the exams were on.

Plus there was this record going around by a brand new artist, who seemed to be like a breath of fresh air. Every track on her album was brilliant, we listened to them over and over, and we got to know each track off by heart. The album had been released in 1988, but it took it that bit longer to reach us over in Cardiff.

My selection today comes from the lyrics of one of the album tracks. I normally like to link Jim’s theme to the title of my music tracks, but this is a cracking protest song. If fact I did tag this song onto one of my other posts just a few months ago – I don’t like to repeat myself, but my SLS audience is generally far wider than my every other post audience, and besides … this track is that good!

I called the song a protest song, and I shall explain why (and my link) by quoting some of the lyrics (I’ll quote them again, in their entirety, below):

If not now then when
If not today then
Why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come
Is as good as none

In other words, if you commit to doing something, and you say you’re not gonna do it now, but one day, then what use is that? That is not a committment, merely an aspiration.

The album is Tracy Chapman’s self-named debut album, and every song on the album, including my selection, was written by Tracy herself. The album was a surprising commrcial success, selling over 20 million copies worldwide, and reaching #1 in the album charts in both the UK and the US. From the album Tracy Chapman, here is If Not Now.

If not now then when
If not today then
Why make your promises
A love declared for days to come
Is as good as none

You can wait ’til morning comes
You can wait for the new day
You can wait and lose this heart
You can wait and soon be sorry

[chorus]

Now love’s the only thing that’s free
We must take it where it’s found
Pretty soon it may be costly

[chorus]

If not now what then
We all must live our lives
Always feeling
Always thinking
The moment has arrived

Tracy Chapman

Song Lyric Sunday (15 March 2020) – Cash and Flowers

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor, A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of things to do with primary directions (my choice). This week, theme of cash and flowers.

I formed my main musical tastes in the Eighties. I mean, I have listened to music before and since, but the Eighties are when my preferences firmed up.

At the end of the Nineties, though, I spent a lot of time in the car. I took a decision that I would live somewhere I wanted to be, and would commute to work as necessary. It usually meant a daily commute of an hour or more to my workplace. (When I finally started working in London, it was 2½ hours, each way, each day. But in the Nineties, I wasn’t quite there yet.)

Time in the car meant time listening to the radio, and I inevitably heard some tracks that I liked. And if I liked somebody enough, it was no problem to just go out and buy their CD. Most of these CDs, I still have today.

One artist I found this way was the New Radicals. (I guess, these days, they’d be the Middle-aged Radicals, if they were still going 🙂). But they were only active together 1997 – 1999. And one single they released was You Get What You Give, in 1998. It was a brilliant track and popular not just with me, but reached #8 on Billboard and #5 in the UK. Written by Gregg Alexander (pictured, the band’s frontman) and Rick Nowels (a songwriter who’s also worked with the likes of Madonna and Dido), it is a real foot-tapper so I thought I’d give it an airing today.

The shopping mall in the video is in Staten Island, by the way, but it looks just like the one close to me in nearby Southampton, three thousand miles away. They all look the bloody same, the world over! Not an ounce of character between them. Anyway, will not rant. Enjoy the song.

Wake up kids
We’ve got the dreamer’s disease
Age 14
We got you down on your knees
So polite,
We’re busy still saying please

Frienemies,
Who when you’re down ain’t your friend
Every night
We smash their Mercedes-Benz
First we run
And then we laugh ’til we cry

[Pre-chorus:]
But when the night is falling
You cannot find the light, light
You feel your dreams are dying
Hold tight

[Chorus:]
You’ve got the music in you
Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

I’m comin’ home baby
You’re tops, give it to me now

Four A.M. we ran a miracle mile
We’re flat broke but hey we do it in style
The bad rich
God’s flying in for your trial

[Pre-chorus:]
But when the night is falling
You cannot find your friend (friend)
You feel your tree is breaking
Just bend

[Chorus]

This whole damn world can fall apart
You’ll be OK, follow your heart
You’re in harm’s way, I’m right behind
Now say you’re mine

[Chorus]

[Bridge:]
Don’t let go
I feel the music in you
Fly high
What’s real can’t die
You only get what you give
You’re gonna get what you give
(don’t give up)
Just don’t be afraid to live

Health insurance rip off lying
FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they’re multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson,
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You’re all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We’ll kick your ass in!

Don’t let go
One dance left

[Unsaid lyrics from liner]
Championed by a soulless media misleading
People unaware they’re bleeding
No one with a brain is believing
It’s so sad you lost the meaning
Never knew it anyway
Human natures so predictable
I’m a fool to do your dirty work whoa, whoa

Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels

Song Lyric Sunday (8 March 2020) – Primary Directions

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor, A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of noise (my choice). This week, theme of primary directions.

I’m taking a bit of a chance this week. When I thought about Jim’s prompt, a song came to me which stems from my mid-teens (1985, to be exact). I loved this song at the time, and have enjoyed it ever since. I hope you will, too.

Now, it is not a blockbuster song. It’s not even my normal type of music. I first heard it when it hit the regular charts, so it was getting airplay on the popular stations, and it is a tune which just stuck with me. The band who performed it, Dream Academy, were not particularly well known – we’d all (myself included!) struggle to name any of their other songs. It only reached #15 in the UK, although it was better-received in the USA, where it reached #7 on Billboard (so maybe there’s a small chance you remember it?) I’ve also heard samples of the tune on more recent music. Regardless, I loved it.

The song was written by band members Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel as an elegy to a UK folk musician called Nick Drake, who influenced the band but who died in 1974. The sleeve of the single also contained a commemoration to Drake. It fits with Jim’s prompt so I will present it today. My choice is Life In A Northern Town by Dream Academy. Tell me what you think.

Incidentally I am not absolutely sure, but I believe that the video location was Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

The Salvation Army band played
And the children drunk lemonade
And the morning lasted all day, all day
And through an open window came
Like Sinatra in a younger day
Pushing the town away, oh

Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
Life in a northern town
Ah hey ma ma ma ma

They sat on the stoney ground
And he took a cigarette out
And everyone else came down to listen
He said in winter 1963
It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy
And The Beatles

Yeah, yeah
Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
Life in a northern town
Hey ma ma ma ma
Ah hey ma ma ma
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
All the work shut down

The evening turned to rain
Watched the water roll down the drain
As we followed him down to the station
And though he never would wave goodbye
You could see it written in his eyes
As the train rolled out of sight…bye-bye

Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
Life in a northern town
Ah hey ma ma ma ma
Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
Life in a northern town

Ah hey ma ma ma ma
Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah
Ah hey ma ma ma ma
Take it easy on yourself
Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya
Ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah

Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel