Re: Hierarchies

1

Liz Phair.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:13 AM
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2

Murray Head.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:22 AM
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3

Nothing wrong with the intentional handball (unless you think that Hack-a-Shaq indicates moral turpitude), but racism and biting are bad.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:24 AM
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4

He's a goofy looking MF too, like a cross between a Muppet and a Langolier.
A couple world cups ago they had a look-alike thing comparing players with other pop culture characters they resembled (e.g. Ronaldinho/Jar Jar Binks.) Is anyone doing that this year?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:25 AM
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5

Living lyricist?

And do rappers count?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:26 AM
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6

The celebratory dive is something else. I feel like saying I thought it was funny will instantly make me terrible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:27 AM
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7

Not just living. Rappers count, damn you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:28 AM
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8

Will.I.Am obviously is up there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:31 AM
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9

Because if you include dead people, then you get Cole Porter.

I don't know if I'd want to defend Nick Cave as a number 1 or even top 10 choice. But, this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnHoqHscTKE

is a pretty fine entry in the canon.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:37 AM
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10

Not just living.

Well then, Cole Porter. No contest.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:38 AM
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11

So I guess we all agree it comes down to Nas or Cole Porter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:39 AM
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12

11 written without seeing 10.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:41 AM
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13

9: that is a great song


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:44 AM
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14

11; Also written without seeing 9!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:45 AM
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15

Let me be the first to suggest Cole Porter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:46 AM
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16

Obvs Cole Porter.
The nerdy lyricists of my youth: Elvis Costello, Difford and Tilbrook in Squeeze.
Hard to top for wordy angst: The Front Bottoms, The Hold Steady.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:56 AM
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17

I could imagine some support for Stephin Merritt, among living ones. Personally I'd rank Dan Bejar really highly as a lyricist but I'm not sure anyone else does except whoever made this website.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:57 AM
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18

I never did care for the mopey-wordy-nerdy style of songwriting. What about Paul Williams, eh? WHAT ABOUT!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:02 AM
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19

Judging by what's been stuck in my head all week I should probably vote for Lily Allen.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:03 AM
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20

But I am shocked that the mopey-wordy-nerdy contingent has not yet mentioned Leonard Cohen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:05 AM
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21

re: 17

I remember buying and listening to 69 Love Songs when it came out, after reading all of the praise, and found it unlistenable shite.* So I'm probably not in camp Merritt.

* maybe I wouldn't feel quite as strongly now, but it was definitely a huge disappointment at the time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:06 AM
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22

Not sure what to say about collectives like the Wu Tang Clan, either. A lot of my favourite song lines come from their stuff, but although lots of people have their favourite individuals [GZA, say], for me it's the coherence of the whole aesthetic and the flow together of the different voices and styles that make it lyrically [and musically] interesting.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:08 AM
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23

20: I submit that EC and Squeeze are not the mopey-wordy-nerdy contingent but rather the too-clever-by-a-half school of lyric.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:08 AM
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24

18: Did you know "We've Only Just Begun" was written for a bank commercial? The ad men wanted hip contemporary sounds so young newlyweds would open accounts with whomever it was.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:10 AM
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25

Leonard Cohen.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:10 AM
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26

21: Yeah, only a few of the pieces from 69LS really landed.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:13 AM
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27

Not mentioned yet: Wyclef, Townes Van Zandt, College Dropout Kanye, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Hank Williams. Aesop Rock.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:15 AM
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28

Tom Waits.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:15 AM
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29

21: For me it fell into that "objectively good, yet still quite overrated" trap. I first heard it without knowing any of the hype, and was all, "Well isn't this charming and fun?" And then I found out it was supposed to be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius which, no.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:15 AM
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30

Warren Zevon. Nobody could write a novelty song about mercenaries like he could.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:15 AM
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31

NMM2 Gerry Goffin. On topic.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:18 AM
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32

re: 29

I found most of the songs irritating, not just 'not verygood', and the music crappy. Or I did then. Not listened to it recently.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:19 AM
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33

John Darnielle, Bill Callahan.

The complete lyrics to maybe my favorite Mountain Goats song:

The morning comes to a stuttering halt
The cool breeze that blows is somebody's fault
The summer heat tries to burn through
And I look over to warn you but something's happening

The morning glories climb the wall
And you speak in a slow drawl
I'm trying to piece together what you're saying
But the birds are screeching, the hounds are baying
I don't remember there being any hounds around here

We lean back and we clink our glasses
Raise the drinks to our thirsty mouths
And thick as molasses ice cold vodka eases in as
The low pressure system brings the breezes in
And they sashay and pirouette above you
The only thing I know is that I love you
And I'm holding on


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:19 AM
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34

25 or 28


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:20 AM
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35

College Dropout Kanye

Oh definitely. He's great on (much of) his newest one too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:21 AM
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36

John Darnielle

Yes! Him too! (I am just going to agree with other people here.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:22 AM
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37

I gotta be me: Stephen Sondheim. But 25 is also a good choice.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:23 AM
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38

I found most of the songs irritating, not just 'not verygood', and the music crappy.

I liked it well enough, but not nearly as much as their previous stuff. It seems to me that album was the definitive turn toward the twee and gimmicky. (Though I'm sure Merritt haters will say it was always thus.) I would probably never put it on now, but I would still listen to Charm of the Highway Strip. (When Tweety wasn't home, obvs!)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:24 AM
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39

I really hate "Into the Woods" for reasons that probably are not related to its actual quality.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:24 AM
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40

I think there's also a pretty good case to be made [as per the Bob Dylan made-up story] for Smokey Robinson.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:25 AM
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41

The Front Bottoms

APO LOVES THE FRONT BOTTOMS, YO.

No love for Paul Simon?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:26 AM
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42

I'm pretty sure one of us is Art Garfunkel, but I'm not saying who.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:27 AM
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43

not nearly as much as their previous stuff

Yes, this. Although I only found their previous stuff after the hype about 69 Love Songs got me interested.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:29 AM
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44

I think Paul Simon is now considered an unperson due to the Miami Steve story about his attitude towards SA.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:29 AM
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45

But I am shocked that the mopey-wordy-nerdy contingent has not yet mentioned Leonard Cohen.

I do think there's some additional credit for songwriters who write things that can be successfully covered by other people. I adore performers for whom writing and performance reflect their unique style, and are difficult to separate, but I do think if you're going to name a greatest songwriter ever they should be capable of writing for other people.

I'd put in votes for both Guy Clark and Caetano Veloso for greatest living songwriters (in the latter case I am leaning heavily on accounts of his importance to Brazilian popular music).

Woody Gutherie? I've also made the case for Malvina Reynolds as one of the greats (and that we before everyone knew "little boxes").


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:30 AM
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46

And another vote for Townes Van Zandt, but at this point I do think Guy Clark has a more impressive body of work -- based in part on the advantage of a much longer career.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:31 AM
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47

Oh, fine. I'm going to have to say Serge Gainsbourg, aren't I, for certain meanings of "our."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:33 AM
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48

Of course there can't be a consensus #1, but if we're just naming strong contenders: Willie Nelson.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:35 AM
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49

I go back and forth on the handball thing. Ultimately I think the "he committed a foul and took the punishment, so it's OK" argument doesn't really apply. In every sport there are things you could do (punching another player say) which are not considered part of the game, but which nonetheless have punishments. A Flagrant 2 doesn't become part of the game of basketball just because you're punished for it. There's usually a way a sport indicates that something is not an ordinary part of the game, and in soccer the way that's done is with red cards. Nothing that involves a red card is a fair part of the game. Doing something intentionally that will get you a red card is cheating, period.

Of course, the real blame here is on FIFA who should change the rules so that a handball on a shot that would have gone in is a goal instead of a penalty kick.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:35 AM
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50

I do think there's some additional credit for songwriters who write things that can be successfully covered by other people.

At the last count there were how many versions of Hallelujah?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:42 AM
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51

Whoever came up with the line "wave your hands in the air like you just don't care" is fucking brilliant."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:42 AM
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52

Stephen Foster


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:44 AM
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53

It seems like the fraction of lyricists named in this thread who are women is anomalously low.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:44 AM
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54

Wait, he's also the asshole who did that last tournament? Fuck him, he's my new shit list leader.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:44 AM
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55

Or maybe Marvin Gaye. "Baby, I'm hot just like an oven. I need some lovin'"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:45 AM
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56

At the last count there were how many versions of Hallelujah?

Fewer than there were of the Major-General's Song. Clearly it's WS Gilbert for top place.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:45 AM
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57

53: The rest of us agreed with 1, so there's nothing for us to say.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:47 AM
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58

Ogged isn't going to troll everyone with Billy Joel?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:48 AM
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59

camp Merritt.

Homophobe.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:49 AM
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60

the real blame here is on FIFA who should change the rules so that a handball on a shot that would have gone in is a goal instead of a penalty kick.

This. The NFL did it, FIFA needs to get their shit together.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:49 AM
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61

Wait, how is Suarez's biting strategic? Far as I can tell, he just does it when he gets frustrated.

And whatever you say about the guy, it's pretty great that he does stuff like this.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:50 AM
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53: Certainly Joni Mitchell and Carole King need mentioning. Although I'm not sure about King's lyrics as such.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:51 AM
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63

53: The first person I thought to mention was Brenda Kahn, but I wasn't sure if she is at all well known.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:51 AM
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64

She was great in Blazing Saddles but I didn't know she wrote lyrics.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:55 AM
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65

America's greatest lyricist is clearly John McCrea.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:56 AM
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66

Is the "our" here generational or national? If the latter, Cole Porter, asked and answered.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:58 AM
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67

The actual correct answer is Bruce.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:59 AM
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68

Multiply pwned. Oh well.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:59 AM
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69

Also Laura Nyro, RIP.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:01 AM
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70

Dar Williams
Roches
Gillian Welch
Dory Previn
Carole Bayer Sager


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:06 AM
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71

Going to go out on a limb and suggest Cole Porter. (Who else has been ripped off by Malcolm X?) Also, Paul Heaton.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:08 AM
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72

55: The Lily Allen song that is stuck in my head includes the lyrics "Periods. We all get periods. Every month, yo; that's what the theory is."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:13 AM
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73

I'm reasonably sure I've never heard anything written by Cole Porter, which this thread is making me feel like is something I should maybe fix.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:13 AM
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74

73: From anyone else that would be completely implausible.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:13 AM
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75

Sondheim is the same kind of genius as Cole Porter, but just by volume, CP wrote many more immortal songs, dozens of standards as opposed to arguably only one from Sondheim. This may be because Sondheim songs are often pretty complicated? Like Follies is a piece of perfection but what are you going to sing in the shower? Good luck with "Could
I Leave You"! (Have I tried? YES!)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:14 AM
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76

Who else has been ripped off by Malcolm X?

A ton of people - he was a professional thief in his teens.

urple, I'm sure you know a load of Porter songs, but they're so much part of the landscape you don't notice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:15 AM
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77

The NFL did it

To what does this refer?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:16 AM
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78

73: That's really not possible unless you are deaf or have never seen TV or movies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:17 AM
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79

At the last count there were how many versions of Hallelujah?

I was writing too quickly (I had to catch a bus), but I had intended that as praise for Cohen -- as opposed to somebody like Elvis Costello or Patti Smith who have been covered, but not nearly as often.

Also Ewan MacColl ("First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Dirty Old Town", "Shoals Of Herring", "Moving On Song")
Harold Arlen / Yip Harburg ("Paper Moon", "Over The Rainbow")


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:18 AM
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80

I just looked at his Wikipedia page and didn't recognize anything. What song might I have heard?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:20 AM
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81

I don't watch a lot of musicals.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:20 AM
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82

Heaven knows.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:21 AM
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83

Who else has been ripped off by Malcolm X?

In former times
Race segregation
Was policy
Throughout our nation

But nowadays, heaven knows,
Anything goes!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:22 AM
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84

Let us not forget poor old Lorenz Hart (Manhattan, I Could Write a Book, Mountain Greenery Home, My Funny Valentine, It Never Entered My Mind, et fucking cet.).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:22 AM
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85

"Anything Goes" was in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:23 AM
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86

77- A penalty in your own end zone (offensive holding, intentional grounding) meant to avoid a safety is awarded an automatic safety. They still don't give automatic TDs for defensive pass interference in the end zone but I think that's justifiable as there's no such thing as a sure catch.
The NHL does it as well- if you have a breakaway when the other team has pulled their goalie and are fouled such that it would have resulted in a penalty shot then an automatic goal is awarded- the other team doesn't get to put their goalie back in to defend a penalty shot.
The NBA, of course, has long awarded an automatic basket for goaltending.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:23 AM
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I see that the OP specified "lyricist" so a serious vote for Yip Harburg.

"I love Yip's lyrics for their compassion, their understanding that life is not a bed of roses, but that there is always hope," stated the late singer Lena Horne. Vocalist Tony Bennett described Yip as "...the greatest lyric writer of them all."

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:24 AM
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88

80: this, maybe?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:26 AM
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89

85: well, okay, I saw that 25 years ago, but I can't say that I remember the song.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:27 AM
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90

As others have said, Tom Waits. Leonard Cohen. Bob Dylan's old stuff.

I have a nominee for worst lyricist. Somehow (I wouldn't rule out the forces of Satan), Shayne Ward is popular in China among teenage boys. I have to listen to mixed CD albums of him and Westlife on infinite repeat in the car. 45 minutes, repeated over a 2 hour car drive, multiplied by almost every weekend for over a year. Luckily I have an almost infinite tolerance for both inane music and listening to the same song over and over again, but even I am approaching the point where I am willing to divulge anything just to make it stop.

click on the link if you dare:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pu-NeoU0Pc

If not here are some sample lyrics from memory:

If we had babies they would look like you
It would be so beautiful if that came true
You don't even know how very special you are
(blah blah blah)
If we had babies they would have your eyes
I would fall deeper watching you give life
You don't know how very special you are

I refuse to believe this was written by a native English speaker


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:28 AM
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77: What SP said, and there's also the option for the referee to award a TD for a Palpably Unfair Act on a play that would have resulted in a score. Like, say, a guy has clearly broken away and is running for the end zone and a member of the other team trips him from the sideline or something.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:29 AM
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92

80. Stairway To Heaven? We Didn't Start The Fire, that was pretty widely played.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:30 AM
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93

Oh hey, check this out-- Sheryl Crow has done covers of a bunch of rock songs-- Sweet Child of Mine, Dyer Maker, more. These are great!


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:33 AM
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94

The Led Zeppelin song and the Billy Joel song? I've heard those.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:33 AM
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95

92 may be trolling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:34 AM
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96

Carole King, Jeri Southern.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:35 AM
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97

KEEP YOUR GRUBBY MITS OFF JONI AND LEONARD


Posted by: OPINIONATED CANADIAN | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:35 AM
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98

Manhattan, I Could Write a Book, Mountain Greenery Home, My Funny Valentine, It Never Entered My Mind, et fucking cet.

Ten Cents a Dance, Where or When, The Lady is a Tramp, Blue Fucking Moon et fucking cet.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:35 AM
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99

95: dammit, I wanted to see how that played out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:35 AM
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100

94. Yes, this my attempt at humor in a comment box-- Cole Porter didn't write those.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:36 AM
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101

Sorry. I thought with 94 it had played out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:36 AM
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102

I enjoyed Quasi in my youth, and they has some great spiteful music. This is an excellent breakup song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXU_YP7dMcM

You fucked yourself and you don't know where to go
Split wide open like a sturgeon for the roe
blood red splashed on pure white snow

"It's raining" is another great one.

Also Hank Williams Sr has some great heartbreak music.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:36 AM
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103

100: You succeeded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:37 AM
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104

I has also great English skillz.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:38 AM
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91- But when the coach does it, that means that it is not illegal.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:39 AM
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106

I had a college roommate who liked to claim that Bad Religion were the best lyricists of all time, so I'll just throw that one out there.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:40 AM
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107

nominee for worst lyricist

Sammy Hagar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:45 AM
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108

I'll throw in Stewart Ransol Miller if we're being all cheeky about things.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:47 AM
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109

*Ransom


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:48 AM
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110

107. Mountains come out of the sky and stand there.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:49 AM
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111

re: 84/98

Lorenz Hart does have a pretty good case, I admit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:52 AM
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112

110: Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:56 AM
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113

I'm just glad Laura Nyro got a vote. I'm not good at choosing bests, but she's certainly a beloved favorite of mine.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:57 AM
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114

re: 96

But weren't most of the lyrics to King's best known songs, Goffin lyrics? That was how they divvied up the work, no?

Including 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:58 AM
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115

Stephin Merritt certainly has his Cole Porter moments. Some of the unexpected rhymes just kill me, like in "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing" the line "be we in Paris or in Lansing." I know it's on the cutesy-twee spectrum but I love it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:01 AM
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116

urple have you ever heard Frank Sinatra sing anything?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:05 AM
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117

75: I agree Cole Porter obviously speaks to more people. And Cole Porter is great. But leaving aside enduring popularity, there isn't a single dimension on which I don't think Sondheim is better (which is hardly a knock on CP), including by volume of great songs. I don't think the cleverest Cole Porter song (for which I'd nominate "Always True to You in My Fashion" or maybe "Too Darn Hot") is as clever as the cleverest Sondheim song, and I don't think the most moving Cole Porter song ("Night and Day" maybe? actually I really like "No Lover" from Out of this World, but that didn't exactly become a standard) is as moving as the most moving Sondheim song. Plus I think Sondheim has more emotional and topical range.

Actually, I like Hammerstein better than CP. He wrote many, many more songs that I find very moving, and many that are just as clever. "June is Busting Out All Over" is as intricate as any CP song.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:10 AM
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116: Cole Porter didn't write "My Way", "New York, New York", or "Strangers in the Night".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:10 AM
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re: 118

It'd have been hard to hit on a worse selection of Sinatra songs.

If I was picking lyricists of great songs I associate with Sinatra, it'd probably be Johnny Mercer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Mercer#Songs

or Sammy Cahn:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Cahn#Music

Between them, that's a pretty fucking epic list of songs.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:19 AM
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re: 118 [Further]

I love 50s Sinatra. I don't think he really has any rivals as a male vocalist in that sort of idiom, and a couple of those Capitol albums are pretty good candidates for best album, by any artist, ever. But more or less anything famously associated with him, post 'Capitol', tends towards the bloated and over-blown.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:21 AM
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Also, "A Wonderful Guy." I kind of can't believe that song uses the word "bromidic" as fluidly and effectively as it does (among its many other virtues).


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:23 AM
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Further further to 118.

I'd forgotten [if I ever knew] that this existed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra_Conducts_Tone_Poems_of_Color


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:23 AM
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119.1: They aren't my favorites either, but they are among the most well-known of his recordings. I expect that urple will be familiar with at least one of them.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:24 AM
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120. You forgot this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot27QkTDO0E&feature=kp


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:28 AM
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the most moving Cole Porter song

Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye!!!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:28 AM
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I can't name any Cole Porter songs either. You people are either coastal elitists, or 90 years old.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:48 AM
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This is probably dumb but it's less that Hart's lyrics are so much better than Hammerstein's, though I do think they are smarter on the whole, but it seems like Rogers wrote better music for Hart. There's just so much perky banality in, to pick the worst example, Oklahoma.

But so Tia, what is the cleverest song of Sondheim's that is cleverer than any of Porter's? I don't disagree necessarily, but I do find myself thinking Sondheim's songs tend to have more verses and so they pile clever line upon clever line so it's maybe a volume business. My guesses for what might be the cleverest are

-"Ah, but Underneath" (musically not top shelf but come on, "no one dared to query her superior exterior?"!)
-"Getting Married Today"
-"A Little Priest"
...actually I'm immediately thinking of a dozen examples (I don't really even like Sweeney Todd) and thinking you may be right.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:49 AM
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||
Hey, hivemind. I have been thinking about that massive Pew study on polarization and self-sortation of liberals and conservatives, the one that confirmed the stereotype that liberals want to live in walkable new urban neighborhoods and conservatives long for McMansion suburbs.

It got me wondering: is there a city in America that can be said to be dominated by conservatives? I mean, if you are a liberal who wants to live in the suburbs, you've got plenty of options where you can live at peace among your own. But a conservative who wants to live in the city and be surrounded by like-minded people? You have certain enclaves within cities, like Highland Park in Dallas. And you've got your fake exurban cities like Buckhead, Georgia. And I suppose Jacksonville, FL is technically a conservative-dominated city because the municipal boundaries encompass all of Duval County. But is there a real conservative city? Even in the reddest of red states, the cities seem to be universally blue-tinged.

I ask you, is there any city in America worthy of the name where a conservative could feel comfortable that the majority of his neighbors are conservatives? Fort Worth?
|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:52 AM
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126: Embarrassingly, I have a vague category in my head of standards/show tunes, and while I know Cole Porter and Rogers and Hammerstein and so on as names, I mostly don't have any idea who wrote what. And I really kind of like this stuff, in my undiscriminating kind of way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:53 AM
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125 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:55 AM
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It got me wondering: is there a city in America that can be said to be dominated by conservatives?

I know that all the major cities in Texas voted Obama in 2012, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:55 AM
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Oh, fine. I'm going to have to say Serge Gainsbourg, aren't I, for certain meanings of "our."

He certainly takes the prettiest photos, along with Jane Birkin.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:58 AM
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It got me wondering: is there a city in America that can be said to be dominated by conservatives?

Salt Lake City? Colorado Springs?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:58 AM
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133: Not SLC for sure, but Colorado Springs is plausible (though one could quibble about the "worthy of the name" part - it's mostly a huge sprawling suburb masquerading as a city).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:00 AM
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I think the only one is Colorado Springs. Even Boise (89% white) has mostly Democrats as mayor and council members.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:01 AM
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118: the follow-up was intended to be "if so there's a reasonably good chance you've heard a Cole Porter song". Which I stand by!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:01 AM
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I'm reasonably sure I've never heard anything written by Cole Porter, which this thread is making me feel like is something I should maybe fix.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-20-14

73: From anyone else that would be completely implausible.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:13 AM

What am I, chopped liver?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:01 AM
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Oh, I do know Heaven Knows. Stay patient, everyone, I'm up to the comments in the 80s.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:03 AM
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This is probably dumb but it's less that Hart's lyrics are so much better than Hammerstein's, though I do think they are smarter on the whole, but it seems like Rogers wrote better music for Hart.

Ooooh, Barracuda! Am I on the right track?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:06 AM
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138: Everyone must know "Let's Do It". (Although come to think, I don't know if that's the title. You know the one, though: "Birds do it, bees do it...")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:07 AM
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The city of Lynchburg, VA would technically qualify. Sorry, conservative new urbanists, that's the best I can do for you! I'm sure there's lots of cool cultural events and interesting restaurants in the Liberty University neighborhood!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:08 AM
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Curtis Mayfield.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:08 AM
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An embarrassing number of my favorite lyrics are Steely Dan - "I cried when I wrote this song, sue me if I play too long" just cracks me up on the most profound possible level.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:08 AM
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I guess Cole Porter's musicals aren't as commonly performed by high school theater ensembles as Rogers and ________'s nowadays. If I hadn't seen that horrible Kevin Kline movie, the only songs I'd recognize would be "Night and Day", "Anything Goes", and "I Get a Kick Out of You".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:09 AM
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140: Oh, I do. Are these examples of his lyrical genius? Or is he just prolific?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:09 AM
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"Night and Day"

"I only think of you, on two occasions...that's night and day. I'd go for bro-oke if I couldn't be with you. Only you can make it right." I do like this song. I'm really feeling this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:11 AM
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145 comments and nobody has mentioned Rakim. We are all the racistest. (Also, I love Quasi. Which of them writes the lyrics?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:12 AM
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Steely Dan gets points for mentioning Cathy Berberian in a song but they also wrote one of the few songs on a Laurel-Canyon-themed mix we play all the time that I always want to skip.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:13 AM
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144: Begin the Beguine? You're the Top?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:13 AM
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128:

liberals want to live in walkable new urban neighborhoods and conservatives long for McMansion suburbs are terrified of minorities.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:14 AM
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144: Nobody does Cole Porter shows at all except for Anything Goes and maybe Kiss Me Kate which it wouldn't surprise me to see from a high school.

Something I love is youtube clips of high schools doing inappropriate musicals in which the kids just look like ridiculous. There are clips of high school Company and high school Follies! The High School Drowsy Chaperone! Non-musically, I think I found a high school Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf once.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:18 AM
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Cole Porter song I would think many people would have heard: "I Love Paris" "Anything Goes" "Let's Do it" "I Get a Kick Out of You."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:22 AM
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Virginia Beach is, I believe, a majority Republican city, though it is notoriously lacking in New Urbanist influence.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:32 AM
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San Diego is pretty Republican, no?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:36 AM
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San Diego county is. San Diego city is not particularly. (Although they do elect terrible mayors.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:39 AM
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I think Porter also wins for best filthy (Scottish-themed!) innuendo in 'My Heart Belongs to Daddy.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:41 AM
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127: I think "A Little Priest" is the single cleverest Sondheim song, but as you say yourself, one could make a long list.

I think I've quoted on this very blog many years ago:

She sits at the Ritz
With her splits of Mumms
And starts to pine for a stein
With her village chums
But with a Schlitz in her mitts
Down at Fitzroy's bar
She thinks of the Ritz
Oh, it's so
Schizo.

If you're into complicated internal rhymes, it doesn't get much better than that.

I think it's so clear that Sondheim surpasses everyone else on musical-theater-style cleverness that when people propose Cole Porter as the giant in that regard, I think they must be responding to some other qualities simultaneously that I don't value as much -- like, the quality of having the structure and simplicity of a pop standard (none of that meant to be in the slightest derogatory).


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:02 AM
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Reporting on my subjective experience as a musical moron, Cole Porter I remember and can hum along with after I hear the song once, while Sondheim doesn't stick with me at all -- I've heard a lot of Sondheim, but there's nothing I'd be able to start singing tunelessly to myself. The 'structure and simplicity of a pop standard' sounds plausibly like what's driving that experience, but I don't really know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:21 AM
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Well, there's nothing in Cole Porter to match the verbal backflips in, say, "Now" from "A Little Night Music" but (actually other than that show in particular) it seems to me there's a better balance of wit and heart in your average Cole Porter song. I submit "Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor" or like..."Miss Otis Regrets." I don't think there's much in Sondheim that you could sing in as many moods as "Miss Otis Regrets."

Also there's the Buffy Effect, by which I mean: wit that feels new leeches into the wider culture, so people who watched Buffy back in the day always tell me how crazy clever it is, but I watched it ten years later and was like "everyone I know makes this kind of jokes daily." I think "Always True to You", which now is sweetly, a little quaintly clever, was probably just crazily, inventively clever when it was new. But who knows. I don't have a time machine or a Cleverometer.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:21 AM
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The lyric in 157 is a textbook example of trying too hard. No strong opinion on Sondheim in general; I'm not familiar with much of his work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:21 AM
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I think it's so clear that Sondheim surpasses everyone else on musical-theater-style cleverness

It's just this, the cleverness. I can appreciate something being clever, but that's not going to do it for me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:24 AM
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There's stuff in Sondheim that looks like trying too hard on the page but that works with music, like "The Story of Lucy and Jessie."

"Jessie wants to be lacy
Lucy wants to be Jessie
That's the sorrowful precis
It's very messy."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:27 AM
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Whoever wrote Urinetown was both clever and catchy. That's basically the only musical I've ever seen that I didn't wish I'd have just gone to a movie instead.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:28 AM
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Urinetown is great but weirdly I don't think they've done anything else.

Sorry for over-occupying thread. Must now put on a suit and go to Homeless Court.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:31 AM
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Don't even get my started on Gypsy. Why make a show about strippers with less exposed flesh than you can see waiting in the checkout line at the library?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:31 AM
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Oh god Gypsy is the worst.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:34 AM
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I wonder if my social worker is ever going to come and help me.


Posted by: Opinionated Homeless Guy | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:35 AM
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165: That is a valid point, but "Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone" is a family favorite for sing-along.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:36 AM
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Late to this, but Porter and Cohen without a doubt (who counts as "ours" because he's only semi-foreign). Supreme cleverness, but in combination with emotional depth, wisdom and an uncanny feel for simple, memorable lyrics to match catchy melodies.

Just frex, this, from Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy", still kills me if I'm in the right mood*: "If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn/ they will bind you with love that is as graceful and green as a stem."

*Which is to say, weepy; see also 125.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:48 AM
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157: Yeah, it's showboating. But it's really impressive showboating. I think that lyric works great on the music, and I like watching him puff his feathers. (That song was eventually cut and replaced by song Smearcase is quoting.)

He is the cleverest, if you value clever. He is also a lot of things besides clever, IMO. ITA that you can't sing most Sondheim songs in a lot of moods, because they aren't written to be the kind of canvasses for interpretation that Cole Porter songs and other songs that become pop standards are (so that with standards you often remember who sang them, rather than who wrote them). They are written for characters, generally with a lot of plot context, and their mood is often pretty strongly defined -- not like there's no room, but there's less.

Can I tell a cute story from my life? I broke up with the zillionaire, although maybe I'm relenting and getting back together with him since we're spending the weekend together, I don't know, but I'm definitely also seeing other people. ANYWAY. I had a Skype date with this guy from OkCupid who lives out of town, knowing nothing about his musical taste. He was trained in composition but there's no work for composers, so now he's an animator, although he also composes for this videogame he's animating. So we started talking about music, and he's very intense, and apropos of I don't remember what he said he loved Sondheim, especially Sweeney Todd and shortly thereafter launched into composition lecture, at his keyboard and microphone, on Skype: "Let's talk about 'Pretty Women' -- do you know it?" he asked. I was all, neighbor, please. So he starts to play and hum it, interspersing his lecture: "Most composers do not have his understanding of economy. It's only two motifs! Short-short-short-short long-long and he develops them into a whole song. And here -- you want long-long and he violates your expectations."

I was pretty amused that I got a music composition lecture, complete with piano accompaniment, on a first date, of sorts.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:50 AM
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Also, Jenny Lewis is awesome and underappreciated. Smart+sharp+great diction=sexy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:50 AM
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The composers of Urinetown wrote a fun show called Yeast Nation all about the single celled organisms at the beginning of the history of life, but I don't think it ever came to NYC. I saw it in Chicago.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:54 AM
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Those lyrics in 157 have what, one dated/obsolete cultural reference per ten words? What the heck is "Mumms"? They go great with music though. Just the right pace to wow you.

That's one reason why "Anything Goes" hasn't lasted like "Oklahoma", "South Pacific" etc. Not timeless.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:01 PM
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What the heck is "Mumms"?

Champagne.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:03 PM
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I see, I think, zero dated/obsolete cultural references in 157. What am I missing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:06 PM
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The original Schlitz formula was lost in the 70s. Which is to say, we have Schlitz, but not in a way Cole Porter would have understood it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:09 PM
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That you know a whole lot about alcohol?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:09 PM
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175: Your superior knowledge blinds you.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:09 PM
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I suppose "get your mitts on Schlitz" isn't a slogan they use anymore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:10 PM
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A case could certainly be made for Bad Religion's Greg Graffin. It would be wrong, but there's something to be said for:

---
And I want to conquer the world,
Give all the idiots a brand new religion,
Put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil,
Promote equality in all of my decisions

I want to conquer the world,
Expose the culprits and feed them to the children,
I'll do away with air pollution and then I'll save the whales,
We'll have peace on earth and global communion."
---

If I were voting for someone recent who is not a rapper (no love for Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon?), I'd go Frank Black of the Pixies, but I don't know if the following works for anybody but me:

--
Sitting here wishing on a cement floor
Just wishing that I had just something you wore

I put it on when I grow lonely
Will you take off your dress and send it to me?

I miss your kissin' and I miss your head
And a letter in your writing doesn't mean you're not dead
Run outside in the desert heat
Make your dress all wet and send it to me
--


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:10 PM
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(no love for Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon?)

I have lots of love for Kool Keither but (1) of course I do and (2) it's hard to argue that his lyrics aren't actually fundamentally nonsense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:11 PM
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Alcohol is dated and/or obscure? Knowing about the 4th most popular brand of champagne in the world and a cheap but no longer insanely popular American beer constitutes knowing a whole lot about alcohol?

I feel like the Lillian Hellman of Pauline Kaels.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:15 PM
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182.1 is right, but I don't know who Lillian Hellman is unless she made mayonnaise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:16 PM
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I feel like the Lillian Hellman of Pauline Kaels.

Dude. Wonderful line.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:17 PM
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I don't think I meant Lillian Hellman. Quick, name a drunk woman from New York.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:18 PM
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Statistically speaking, Lisa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:20 PM
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Or Jennifer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:20 PM
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Okay, linking to some songs by people I've mentioned in the thread.

Guy Clark -- The title song from his latest album, "My Favorite Picture Of You"

There's no fancy wordplay but, at the same time, they words are well chosen. It doesn't feel like anything is there just to make the rhyme or meter fit.

My favorite picture of you
Is bent and faded
And it's pinned to my wall

Oh and you were so angry
It's hard to believe
We were lovers at all

That's a nice bit of writing, and I think it works because of the way that it plays with time. "bent and faded" places it in the past but "angry" and "lovers" have such immediacy to them. The song as a whole does a good job of balancing sweet and acid in that you believe that he's lived with the photograph and loved it for decades, but it happens that the photo is one of a moment in which she was ready to walk out (you can see the photo in question, and hear the story behind it in the introduction to this video)

Malvina Reynolds -- I'll quote myself and repeat what I said about "Bury Me In My Overalls" (for some reason the video is missing the very end of the song).

[It] manages to combine a tribute to the dignity of labor with a profound love of life and celebration of life better than any other song I can think of. Ewan MacColl, for example, has written any number of beautiful love songs, and has also written passionate, angry, caring songs about labor, but he never combined those two moods in the same way that Malvina Reynolds did in that song.

Caetano Veloso -- "London London" wasn't the first song of his that I fell in love with, but lately I've been appreciating it a lot. Despite finding the chorus a little odd, the verses are amazing. Just look at the first verse:

I'm wandering round and round, nowhere to go
I'm lonely in London, London's lovely so
I cross the streets without fear
everybody keeps the way clear
I know, I know no one here to say hello
I know they keep the way clear
I am lonely in London without fear
I'm wandering round and round here nowhere to go

Such a simple, gorgeous, description of being an exile. London is safe, and appreciated, but not home. Or the start of the third verse, wandering around, not knowing anybody.

I choose no face to look at, choose no way
I just happen to be here, and it's okay

Look at how much emotional complexity the word "okay" carries. It's just lovely.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:21 PM
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181 - I initially heard "Halfsharkaligatorhalfman" as "Half shark, half alligator, half man", which I think is fundamentally better. In your face, Black Elvis!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:26 PM
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Hard to argue with a monkey-green ragtop Seville, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:28 PM
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I feel like the Lillian Hellman of Pauline Kaels.

I like her song about the little foxes on the hillside.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:31 PM
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I decided I did mean Lillian Hellman.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:31 PM
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Oh there are dated references in some of the old standards. I think when Sondheim does it, he does it as an effect, like the long list of them in "I'm Still Here."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:34 PM
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This thread is ... making me realize that I mostly don't care too much about lyrics.* I'd still play Anthrax's "I am the Law" every time I took the bench if I ever became a judge, but that doesn't really rely too much on complicated internal rhymes and witty innuendo.

*though I do think that among people mentioned here whom I know Serge Gainsbourg is operating at a kind of different level than anyone else, not that I've ever really listened to Sondheim because musicals.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:36 PM
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Also, the more outrageously quick lines on Droctagonecolygist are Sir Menelik.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:37 PM
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170.2 I am skeptical of. Those songs are from shows; just ones nobody remembers. A company here, speaking of which, put in DuBarry Was a Lady recently and I should have gone. I think its best known tune is the not so wonderful "Katie Went to Haiti."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:39 PM
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Re: 194

Ever since I saw Anthrax literally dive into the pit to fight the bouncers* at the Glasgow Barrowlands, they've had a special place in my heart.

Also, usually the best support bands of any Big Four metal act.

* one of the bouncers slammed some poor stage diving kid, and the band took offence.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:40 PM
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Just why are musicals so goddamn gratingly annoying? There's nothing wrong with them at all that is obvious but I can't think of an individual genre that makes me want to operate the flamethrower quite as much.

Also I think including rap is unfair because pretty much every great MC relies entirely on wordplay in a way that other genres (except maybe the aforementioned musical theater) don't.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:42 PM
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197 was literally heartwarming for me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:44 PM
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Just why are musicals so goddamn gratingly annoying?

Strikethrough, classic rock, blah blah.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:48 PM
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I guess I like the dancing in musical movies. Fred Astaire was pretty awesome.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:52 PM
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196: As I learned earlier today, looking at lists of songs because of this thread, "Did You Evah?" is from DuBarry Was A Lady before it was in High Society.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:52 PM
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196: They are from shows, but they are from shows before songs in musicals incorporated as much plot and character into the lyric. The form developed. Rodgers and Hammerstein took it much further in that direction, and it's no surprise/concidence that Oscar Hammerstein was mentor to SS. The only CP songs named in this thread that are about particular people in particular contexts are "Miss Otis Regrets", "Always True to You in My Fashion." Every other is more generally about Love or Loss.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:55 PM
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Re: 199

Also, in a similar vein, Brit thrash-punk band Onslaught :
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onslaught_(band)
, saw them when I was 15. A lot of kids got refused entry to the venue as underage (I looked older and got in). So the band came out to the venue car park and hung out with them for an hour. Culminating in all these wee 14 year old metal kids stage diving off a car park wall into the arms of the band and assorted crew, yelling encouragement.

Can barely remember their music, and I suspect they were shit, but they were good guys.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:57 PM
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Just why are musicals so goddamn gratingly annoying?

With a very few exceptions, I fucking hate musicals. Largely because they keep destroying the suspension of disbelief I require to really lose myself in a performance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:00 PM
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Singin' in the Rain was largely repackaged songs from other musicals as well.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:06 PM
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Mamoulian's first musical, whose name I'm failing to remember, has a really clever opening musical number. No lyrics.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:09 PM
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145 comments and nobody has mentioned Rakim. We are all the racistest.

Yeah, Chuck D would like a word with us...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:10 PM
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A case could certainly be made for Bad Religion's Greg Graffin. It would be wrong, but there's something to be said for:

Graduated mentors/
stroll in marbled brick portICoes


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:15 PM
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Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal just came to mind. The lyrics are frequently pretty nonsensical, but also I sort of love them. That time they got Arvo Pärt's name wrong was kind of weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:30 PM
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I don't know why I put italics there.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:30 PM
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I love the old musicals

Busby Berkeley, Showboat, Astaire and Rodgers, Gene Kelly OTT Ballgame, Kiss Me Kate, Bandwagon, Rodgers and Hammerstein all the fuckers. Not so much Sondheim and Fosse or other stuff after the 60s, of course WSS, Cabaret and ATJ and Sunday with George built to a great ending.

I bet you already guessed that about me, huh.

Suspension of disbelief and immersion in the diagetic is way fucking overrated. Just how we have been trained to believe we are passive in front of a stage or screen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:38 PM
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||

Turns out you need to eat a lot of cookies to get good empirical data about cookie recipes.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:39 PM
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||

Treating this as a general music thread, here's an interesting contrast of two songs on the same basic theme

Amanda Palmer:"In My Mind"

Andrew Jacob Holm: "I Thought By Now"

I happen to like the second song and not care for the first, but I'm just fascinated by how different they are in style (and how similar in content). One of the things that I often say about music is that context / expectations / mood make a huge difference in how you hear something. You need to be receptive to what the musician is doing.

I don't think one is clearly better than the other -- as I said, I have my preference but it's really easy for me to imagine somebody liking the Amanda Palmer song better. But I have a much more difficult time imaging somebody that liked both of those songs equally.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:52 PM
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213: time to draft a grant proposal!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:55 PM
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Hmm it seems the Cole Porter and faction vacuumed up all the Ira Gershwin vote. I have a soft spot for eg Love Is Here To Stay ...

The a Rockies may crumble / Gibraltar may tumble / They're only made of clay

Don't really know music so not sure if this is because this is consensus outcasting or silver medalling or what.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:57 PM
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215: I was just a subject. Our lab manager seems committed to pursuing this research despite being unfunded.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:57 PM
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Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal just came to mind. The lyrics are frequently pretty nonsensical, but also I sort of love them. That time they got Arvo Pärt's name wrong was kind of weird.

That was almost as bad as when Stephen Malkmus thought Increase Mather was female.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:11 PM
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Increase did become a female name over time, like Leslie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:18 PM
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"Aubrey" as a female name kills me.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:18 PM
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206: Except "Make 'em Laugh", which was a plagiarized and lightly-rewritten Cole Porter song from The Pirate. I don't know what was going on there.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:21 PM
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Everyone whose favorite rapper isn't Dante is racist.

"Whereas Forese requires a full sonnet to accuse Dante of being a bounder who lives off the charity of others, Dante characteristically packs an insult into each verse of the opening quatrain of 'Bicci novel,' which tells Forese that (1) he is a bastard, (2) his mother is dishonored, (3) he is a glutton, and (4) to support his gluttony he is a thief:

Bicci novel, figliuol di non so cui
(s'i' non ne domandasse monna Tessa),
giù per la gola tanta roba hai messa
ch'a forza ti convien tòrre l'altrui.

(Young Bicci, son of I don't know who [short of asking my lady Tessa], you've stuffed so much down your gorge that you're driven to take from others.)"

Teodolina Barolini, "Dante and the Lyric Past"


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:00 PM
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213 (sort of): My mom just taught me this trick: dump a packet of vanilla pudding mix (just the dry stuff) into any batch of cookie dough. It makes them crispier (but not hard/dry) and more delicious.

Feel free to conduct many tests to figure out why.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:02 PM
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Dante, Kanye, whichever.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:02 PM
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unless you think that Hack-a-Shaq indicates moral turpitude

How is there a question about this? It obviously indicates moral turpitude.

I am completely serious about this. If you engage in, or seriously defend, that kind of practice, you are a bad, corrupt person.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:48 PM
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So I guess I'm going to have to be true to myself and mention Richard Thompson in this connection. I'm ok with that!

Well, there's nothing in Cole Porter to match the verbal backflips in, say, "Now" from "A Little Night Music" but (actually other than that show in particular)

It was precisely "Now/Later/Soon" that convinced me, otherwise basically only familiar with Sweeney Todd and "Buddy's Blues" (oh and I guess I'd seen the new one by that point too), that perhaps Sondheim would not really be my bag, since---especially in the "Now" section---the style of the song seems so out of keeping with the apparent content. Someone singing a song like that could, at worst, be bemused by his still-unconsummated marriage, but surely not actually upset or, for that matter, ardent. (The "Later" section is better on that front, I guess.)

Also "Could I Leave You" seems kind of, I don't know, obvious.

But! "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid" is good!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:57 PM
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The original Schlitz formula was lost in the 70s. Which is to say, we have Schlitz, but not in a way Cole Porter would have understood it.

But there's a Schlitz-centered verse of "Always True to You Darling (In My Fashion)"!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:57 PM
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If you value clever, incidentally, the Peter Blegvad album "Kew. Rhone." is most necessary, and one should also consider a few of the songs he wrote with Slapp Happy ("War", "Strayed", "Some Questions about Hats").


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:00 PM
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17: I know some people (including at least one former commenter here) who consider Bejar's lyrics to be tip top, and who are pursuing Ph.D.s in English, and are thus invested with presumptive authority.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:07 PM
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especially in the "Now" section---the style of the song seems so out of keeping with the apparent content. Someone singing a song like that could, at worst, be bemused by his still-unconsummated marriage, but surely not actually upset or, for that matter, ardent.

I'd like to brilliantly rebut this with something about what's going on in an equivalent scene in Smiles of a Summer Night but I think I saw part of it in college or something. Yeah, there's a certain archness in Sondheim that can replace the expected emotion of a scene, but he also does upset ("The Last Midnight") and ardent ("Being Alive") and I think has a pretty broad emotional palate. But I don't know. I fall closer to "fan" than "evangelist." If you don't like him, I'm sure there are valid reasons.

I do kind of love "Could I Leave You?" but it is performance-dependent. Jan Maxwell found an outrage in it that felt true. It took some building up to. (I went twice. I am very fond of Follies.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:08 PM
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227: I'm shamed by my ignorance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:10 PM
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I kind of want a Schlitz now. Maybe easier next week when I'm in Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:21 PM
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It is entirely possible that the one (1) performance of "Could I Leave You" that I've heard was not very good, and I'm sure he can do upset (I with my limited exposure would go to "Epiphany" if it includes the "Why did I wait? you told me to wait" beginning) or ardent, just that in that particular song the artifice is overwhelming.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:22 PM
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Also, palette.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:23 PM
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From Milwaukee Mister Fritz
Often moves me to the Ritz
Mister Fritz is full of Schlitz
And full of plaaaaaaaay
But I'm always true to you, darling, in my fashion.
Yes I'm always true to you, darling, in my way.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:23 PM
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Alternatively:

Mister Fritz invented Schlitz
And Schlitz must paaaay

(on the Ella/Benny Goodman record)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:25 PM
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From unfoggèd Mister 'flow
Likes his spelling skills to show
Mister 'flow myself can blow
Oh you get the point...


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:33 PM
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225: Wow. I just noticed this, without knowing previous context. I'm not into soccer, but

"Hack-a-Shaq" != engage in, or seriously defend, that kind of practice, you are a bad, corrupt person.

Nobody was intending to hurt O'Neill, and he was not hurt.

There was also a very serious price to be paid in the accumulation of fouls and being forced to play your bench at the end, or beginning if that's your strategy, of the game.

Refs could start calling intentional fouls at any point, at which point the strategy probably ends. Cause Shaq's team also gets the ball.

It is just a strategy to take advantage of a weakness of the opposition, entirely within the rules, like a double-team or a four corner stall in college before the clock. Is there a clock? I don't watch college b-ball either. Not morally questionable in any way.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:35 PM
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Hey you know what's a good song even though it's rather predictable is this one by Dicky Lee and Steve Duffy. Where's the country in this thread, anyway?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:37 PM
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Nobody was intending to hurt O'Neill, and he was not hurt.

What makes you think I think anyone was, or that he was? I know what the practice is and I believe that engaging in it or seriously defending it reveals one to be a bad, corrupt person.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:39 PM
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Also, I enjoyed 237.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:40 PM
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I know what the practice is and I believe that engaging in it or seriously defending it reveals one to be a bad, corrupt person.

Can you/would you care to expand on this?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:50 PM
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I guess the thing that in particular I find odd about "Now" and the whole cleverness deal is the knowledge that Sondheim specifically objected to the unrealism of the diction in "I Feel Pretty" given the character singing it.* If there's a problem about a poor Puerto Rican immigrant singing "it's alarming how charming I feel", wouldn't there be a problem about the tone, construction, formal qualities etc. of a song not matching the character, the scene, etc. more generally?

* itself a somewhat odd concern; if there's going to be singing that isn't internally motivated why shouldn't it use words that the characters would never speak? Though I suppose that particular song can be given an internal motivation more easily than several others.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:55 PM
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242: I can and I believe I have done, but perhaps not here. I would be happy, happy I say, to do so again, but you'll have to be somewhat patient.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:56 PM
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The NBA should change the rules around hack-a-shack because its not entertaining. But it's not cheating. (It's also not effective, so it's not a huge deal.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:56 PM
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It would be awesome if Shaq had hired Nosflow as his personal ethicist/amanuensis.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:57 PM
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It's not cheating because it's an exploitation of the rules themselves; it's impossible to make that kind of thing against the rules.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:57 PM
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it's impossible to make that kind of thing against the rules.

No. Only if you believe the rules can and should be enforced objectively.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:01 PM
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If your view is that it's improper to exploit rules, then you and my primary source of income are not happy with one another.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:02 PM
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I'd like to agree with you, TJ, but I'm afraid that I'm right and you're wrong. This will become clear later after I've written and published my post "On the Moral Turpitude of Certain Unfogged Commenters".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:02 PM
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Where's the country in this thread, anyway?

Someone mentioned Willie Nelson (which was a very good suggestions) and I've been praising Guy Clark In half of my comments. I also linked to a country song in 214, but I can certainly offer more examples of excellent country lyrics if you want.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:02 PM
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Do you object to all intentional fouls? Like wrapping up someone to stop a layup?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:02 PM
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252: yes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:03 PM
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I should have written "clearer" rather than "clear" in 250. It is already clear to those whose eyes are not spotted by sin.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:05 PM
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You could say that when there's a foul away from the ball and you're in the penalty anyone on the court can take the shots.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:07 PM
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Do you object to all intentional fouls? Like wrapping up someone to stop a layup?

Relevant to this conversation -- Kendrick Perkins and Zach Randolph asking the ref to let them play each other physically without calling fouls.

I don't have a strong conclusion to draw, but I think it's work asking the question, "what type of game would the players prefer." My impression is that most players think that hack-a-shaq is annoying, but that they wouldn't object to fouling somebody to prevent a lay-up.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:09 PM
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What I'm saying in 248 is that even if you believe that rules can be enforced objectively, you ought to actually encourage them to be even more explicitly subjective and discretionary to allow "professional" fouls to be penalized strategically.

Otherwise you are just screwed and are too precious for the world. At least the last part of that should feel familiar.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:11 PM
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Hmm. I see that 248 isn't very clear on that point.

"Impossible to make that kind of thing against the rules" is what I dispute.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:14 PM
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Ok, yes, I suppose you could have an additional rule saying "no exploitation of the rules" (and obviously this rule, like every other rule, would require judgment for its application), but that really shouldn't be necessary, being implicit in whatever rule set already exists. I suppose its presence would be used to justify harsher penalties for intentional as against innocuous abrogations. Eh, I guess conceded that you could have a rule to that effect, but I think it's mixing things up in a bad way.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:19 PM
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If we are going to get to broadening with the lyricists Stan Rogers is tip top, especially if you like songs about Canadians and/or boats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:23 PM
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Eh, I guess conceded that you could have a rule to that effect, but I think it's mixing things up in a bad way.

You might be right: I am a little drunk.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:30 PM
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On Schlitz and Mumm's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:33 PM
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Never had Schlitz, actually. Or Mumm's.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:33 PM
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I can't recall what Schlitz tastes like. Mumm's tastes like cheap wine with bubbles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:40 PM
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I'd sure like there to be more beer in the house, though.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:43 PM
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Soccer makes me thirsty.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:43 PM
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It's also not effective, so it's not a huge deal.
Really? Back when he was in his prime I would've thought it cut the expected points conceded roughly in half.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:47 PM
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I'm jealous of Moby. There's not an *actual* bar in walking distance. Also, Bonsaisue is out until later, so I can't go to the fake bar nearby.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:53 PM
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Though I guess maybe he takes the bus. That wouldn't really work for me.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:54 PM
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Though I guess maybe he takes the bus. That wouldn't really work for me.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:55 PM
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TJ do they have Drizly down there?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:57 PM
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Peak Shaq shot around 53% from the line on a team that scored around 1.08 points per possession. So naively it's around .02 points per possession that you gain from hack-a-shaq. But all the secondary affects to against hack-a-shaq, most importantly the chance for an offensive rebound and foul trouble.

Fivethirtyeight went into more detail and note that DeAndre Jordan is a much worse foul shooter than Shaq. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/intentionally-fouling-deandre-jordan-is-futile/


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:01 PM
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Seems no, from the delivery map.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:02 PM
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273 to 267


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:03 PM
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I'm like an only child stomping puddles out here.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:04 PM
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C'mon man we can solve this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:05 PM
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But you don't hack Shaq on the average play; only on the plays where he had the ball deep in the paint.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:06 PM
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$50 minimum, but if you call them they might bring you something right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:06 PM
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No love for Brel or Brassens?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:07 PM
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Wait! ULTRA! (magnetic, magnetic)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:07 PM
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TJ we are in business here, dude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:08 PM
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I'm actually out in the suburbs on the VA side, Tweety. Doubly unlikely to get deliveries.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:11 PM
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Article says it's available in VA. You can enter your zip code and check on the website.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:12 PM
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But I like your attitude.

The failure here is the failure to get Cyrus or PGD to deliver me spirits. Or MD 20/400 to deliver some MD 20/20


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:13 PM
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So it does... but still... it does not (to my ZIP).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:14 PM
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Hack-a-Shaq refers precisely to fouling every play. Only fouling when he gets the ball deep was just called defense, and certainly was effective.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:22 PM
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Huh, I guess I'd forgotten that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:44 PM
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253 makes me so happy. I know I've shared before that one reason I didn't keep playing basketball after junior high was that I refused to foul intentionally because I thought it was morally wrong and was sick of having to defend myself and also run suicides for insolence. Probably more importantly, my parents stopped making me play sports once I started high school, which left me free to be priggish about other things.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:45 PM
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I haven't read the whole thread, and I'm on shitty wifi, but I did catch that Cole Porter was winning by acclamation before I hit the road, and listened to his songs for a three hour drive. From what I can gather, he writes clever, literate love songs. That's...great, guys. I suppose you can say that if I want something more than that, I should be reading novels or poetry, but I don't know. For example, in that James McMurtry song I put on a mix a few months ago, he manages to hide incest inside a cliche about families getting together for the holidays inside an anodyne holiday song. It's not a perfect little jewel like a Cole Porter song, but it's a lot more interesting.

Maybe this is solely about taste, but I think it's also about what Tia calls "emotional and topical range."

(I don't know that I know any Sondheim songs, but I saw an interview with him once where the interviewer asked how he came up with all these wonderful words for his lyrics. "The thesaurus." So I'm favorably inclined to him, at least.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:04 PM
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Hrm. Looking at the lyrics to that song, aren't you doing pretty much all the work of putting in the emotional depths, without relying on the lyricist? I'm not saying he wasn't meaning to imply incest, but to get there you really need to go through the thought process "This is incredibly dull unless something dark is being implied. What's dark and compatible with the actual dull lyrics here? Oh, I guess incest would work." Giving the lyricist credit for inspiring that thought process seems like grading him on a different scale than someone who's successfully saying things in words.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 7:45 PM
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"Mary don't cry, you know she's a big girl" while staring at her dad seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:02 PM
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I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion of Dylan in this thread, from ogged at the very least.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:05 PM
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I guess he found a better way to troll.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:10 PM
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is there a real conservative city?

Late to this one, but I'd guess Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Lubbock, or somewhere in inland California.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:21 PM
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Lubbock was my immediate thought. Maybe San Bernardino or Bakersfield. Really, though, I think the question hinges on how "city" is being defined, which isn't very clear to me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:23 PM
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I suspect I'm more favorably inclined to Porter than is ogged, but I do see where he's coming from.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:24 PM
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Apparently both San Bernardino and Bakersfieled are heavily Hispanic and vote Democratic these days, so they're out. (I've never been to SB and have only driven through Bakersfield once, so I don't know much about them.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:39 PM
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Lubbock, though. That's your answer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 8:39 PM
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From what I can gather, he writes clever, literate love songs. That's...great, guys.

That's the nature of a consensus candidate.

He's somebody that's well known, that doesn't have obvious disqualifications, and that everybody generally thinks highly of. If you read the thread notice that nobody has made a real pitch for Cole Porter. He doesn't seem to be anybody's sentimental favorite.

Incidentally the song that I've had stuck in my head all afternoon is the middle section from "My Old Man"

He was a pilot in the big war
In the U.S. Army Air Corps
in a C-47 with a heavy load
full of combat cargo for the Burma Road.
And after they dropped the bomb
he came home and married Mom
And not long after that
he was my old man.

I don't know what makes it work so well -- the short rhyming lines which start out so specific, with the overlapping details (pilot/Air Corps/ C-47 / Burma) that slowly flesh out the picture, and then they drop the bomb and everything changes, all of a sudden the story moves quickly in big strokes.

The song, overall, is very good, but that's clearly the strongest section, and it does tend to get stuck in my head when I remember.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:05 PM
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The Mamoulian movie I was thinking of was Love Me Tonight. The opening scene with city sounds as music.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:14 PM
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We are listening to Yo La Tengo's album of Cole Porter covers. Not really on the Cole Porter part but that might be interesting.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:11 PM
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I kind of want to say that faulting Cole Porter songs for only being about love and loss and wanting them to be lyrically spicier is ahistorical, like wishing Mozart would spice it up with a Major 7th chord once in a while, but I think that may be total horseshit.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:31 PM
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||Good god, Kirk just lost the Enterprise to a band of space hippies. He should lose his command over this.|>


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:38 PM
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Eggplant invented a time machine and traveled back in time 45 years but all he did was watch TV?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:45 PM
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All he did that he wants to report, anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:50 PM
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Hm, good point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:51 PM
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I believe you mean I travelled forward.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:52 PM
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I suppose that is also a possibility.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:52 PM
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You really made a lot of assumptions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:00 PM
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So do we all, I suppose.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:01 PM
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Anyway, I wouldn't feel too bad about it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:06 PM
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I wouldn't precisely feel good about it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:07 PM
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But then, that's me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:07 PM
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That's I.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:11 PM
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C'est moi.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:42 PM
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Definitely not true that all red card offences are morally bad in football --- if you're the last defender, the keeper's out of position, you make a risky tackle and clatter the attacker over and earn a straight red for denying a goal-scoring opportunity, that's just part of the game, and depending on the situation, possibly highly praiseworthy self-sacrifice (or strategic lunacy.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 12:16 AM
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I'd put in votes for James McMurtry and Elvis Costello - so far as I'm concerned Costello's anti-love songs are the sharpest and wittiest you'll find anywhere.

But what about the worst, most teeth-grating lyrics? I think a great deal of Little Feat comes in there: essentially anything not written by Lowell George.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 1:44 AM
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And Loudon Wainwright? We've had a whole discussion of lyrics and never mentioned him?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 1:45 AM
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so far as I'm concerned Costello's anti-love songs are the sharpest and wittiest you'll find anywhere.

This may well be true.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 4:32 AM
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Though it is hard to beat Loudo:

"We used to be in love
But now we are in hate.
You said I came to early
But it was you who came too late."


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 4:39 AM
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318: It's almost as if "greatest lyricist" is a stupid concept, and that you can name 50 people great at it and still forget people.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 4:59 AM
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207, 300: And then there is the even more brilliant sequence that segues from Chevalier's shop to the chateau via Isn't it Romantic, particularly the rendition by the troops en train and the gypsy encampment. Jeannette MacDonald sends herself up ruthlessly, and Myrna Loy is a delicious nymphomaniac (MacDonald: "Do you ever think of anything but men?" Loy: "Of course! Boys!"), the stag unhunting scene is fabulous, but the BEST is the ending, pure homage to heroic soviet film as the princess races from her tower to get her man.
I love Mamoulian. Rogers and Hart also contributed to the madness.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 7:22 AM
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||
Last night we had Fernet because, you know, you remember it as vile and almost undrinkable, but years later you are living in its natural habitat, and maybe you get curious. Well, the past is another country but on both sides of the border Fernet is the worst drink ever.
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 8:22 AM
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Though it is hard to beat Loudo:

True:

Unhappy Anniversary
It's one year since we split
Unhappy Anniversary
It's ten years since we met
There is no need to remind me
No way I could forget
We fell in love, and then fell out
Both times there was no net
Unhappy Anniversary
It's ten years since we met

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 9:04 AM
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Loudo was an oi! band, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 9:09 AM
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323: Maybe mix it with scotch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 9:25 AM
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326: it's vileness transcends all possible mixers.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 10:04 AM
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326. That would be fine if you left out the Fernet.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 10:06 AM
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The failure here is the failure to get Cyrus or PGD to deliver me spirits. Or MD 20/400 to deliver some MD 20/20

See, this is what happens with failing to check here regularly. A fellow person suffered needlessly.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 10:13 AM
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Subthread merge in the form of "Waiter, Make it Another Fernet Branca, Please" contemplated, aborted.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:11 AM
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I don't actually know what Fernet is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:14 AM
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331: I hadn't heard of it either. The description sounds awful.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:16 AM
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It tastes like...hm. Maybe Listerine without any sweeteners with a dash of turpentine?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:20 AM
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Use the recipe in 328.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:21 AM
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Maybe I can persuade my Mormon friend to drink Fernet, under the medicinal exception to the no-alcohol rule. (We have a score to settle here, as said friend had previously forced me to watch a Gilbert and Sullivan play.)


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 11:35 AM
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You should have a Fernet/Malört drink-off!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 12:23 PM
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Gilbert and Sullivan play

That's the problem. They usually have songs.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 12:39 PM
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The songs only made it worse.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 12:49 PM
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From an old Village Voice review of Cats: "We tried releasing mice in the theater. It didn't stop the singing."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 12:59 PM
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226: I don't care who does or doesn't share my tastes. Also, at this point, I haven't read the whole thread.

But, what? Have you seen the show?

The *whole point* of the Now section of the song is that he's totally wrapped up in his head -- that's the joke. It's not about someone who's hell bent on seduction, or particularly ardent, at all: "There are two possibilities:/A) I could ravish her, B) I could nap." He's not even that upset about the non-consummation of his marriage; sex with Anne is something he thinks he should want, not something he wants. At the end of that very song (!) he wakes from sleep and says the name "Desiree"; that's who he's dreaming of.

I think this makes my point about the fact that you really need to understand Sondheim songs as expressions of a character in context.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 1:32 PM
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Oh yes I meant to come back and note that since I don't know the character it could be quite suitable, even if it did rub me oddly. Oops! Anyway, Tia, I recommend Peter Blegvad.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 1:48 PM
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No love for Kris Kristofferson?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 3:48 PM
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No love for Kris Kristofferson?

I thought about him, but I just couldn't see ranking him ahead of Willie Nelson -- he's written some great songs, but not that many of them.

That was the same reason I didn't mention Ferron.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 9:10 AM
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In my musical improv class a couple years ago, the instructor took us through a brief history of musicals. Each week we'd split up the greatest hits of one composer or another, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, etc., and then had us attempt to improvise in that style.

When we got to Sondheim, I was puzzled as to what would come of us trying to improvise in the style of 157. Instead, the exercise was having two improvisers sit facing each other in a chair and have a conversation about nothing other than what they were experiencing in that moment, and waiting for a song to emerge. It's one of my favorite creative exercises.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 3:51 PM
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I want to make a joke about what Andrew Lloyd Webber improve is like but I can't come up with anything, so instead I'm imagining banal, bombastic songs that are eight seconds long by Andrew Lloyd Webern.

I just bought four $1 records, one of which we are listening to, that seems to be Rogers & Hart songs that are (perhaps a little justly) neglected. Charlotte Rae is on it, so that's already fun. Also bought a musical I've never heard of by I think Jule Styne (oygh) but words by Comden & Green (yaygh). That one stars Carol Burnett and has Tina Louise in a smaller role. I love dollar records so much.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 9:32 PM
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"Andrew Lloyd Webern" is nice.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 9:36 PM
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Thank you!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 9:38 PM
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Late, late, late to the thread! I haven't been on here much 'cause the work net-nanny recently decided that, though the front page is ok, all comments are horrible and degenerate. Plus, stressful times.
My vote is with Apo for Paul Simon and with teraz for Brel.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 12:04 AM
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Fernet is NOT the worst drink ever. That would be pastis. Though like Fernet, I'm pretty sure it would not be improved by mixing it with scotch.

Re: Cats - I loved that thing as a kid, courtesy of being on a trip to London not long after it came out and my parents deciding to leaven the high culture theater stuff with Veyber for the child. Nothing wrong with YA or kids musicals except when adults think it is an artistic masterpiece. But I think we already had that thread recently.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 1:49 AM
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Oh I loved Cats, too. And really I guess I'd go to bat for "Memory" as a fine, perhaps definitive eleven o'clock number. I just had a guess that it might be in the Wikipedia entry for "eleven o'clock number" and it is.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 8:17 AM
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Pastis the worst drink ever??? That's insane.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-24-14 12:32 PM
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Is pastis French ouzo? Because I have nothing good to say about ouzo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-14 12:43 PM
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Posted by: livescore | Link to this comment | 01-26-15 7:52 PM
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Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-15 8:15 PM
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