Which, I think, is a lot of songs. I’ve never been the greatest at lyric-memorising (well, it’s not the point, is it?) but there’s a lot of songs I know all the way through. Admittedly, these are often songs with 6 or 7 words in them. The question is what song is worth knowing all the words to?
The Streets – The Irony Of It All
Streets songs are quotable, is the thing.
I don’t mean in that sixth-form Facebook status way that Los Campesinos! lyrics excite me in, or the way I occasionally pull out a bit of Morrissey, one eyebrow arched. I mean, around-the-house, casual-conversation, trying-to-express-myself-properly stealing. Original pirate material, if you will.
And I could leave it there (and I probably should, that’s a good finishing line). But, if we’re talking words, you’d best believe there’s going to be a lot of them.
I’d heard some Streets stuff before, and liked it well enough. This was in the era between Has It Come To This? and Fit But You Know It. Then, it happened: Dry Your Eyes. Dead-eyed emotional obviousness. Yawn. My interest was killed. A little later, a friend was talking about The Irony of It All. The Streets? I wasn’t interested. But he talked about the song, a split-down-the-middle two-character-driven pre/anti-drugs debate, and convinced me to slip in that one headphone and listen to the mp3.
And I’ve still got my reservations (Original Pirate Material is the only album worth bothering with, Fit But You Know It tops my list of songs that will cause me to turn the radio off) but, y’know, I really like The Streets. And it’s the words, really.
They sneak, unavoidably, into my speech. The other day, in an attempt to express myself, I wrote a note – “the washing up bowl in my crown” – in a story, and forgot to remove it, thoroughly confusing everyone who I showed it to. It’s just that kind of vocabulary, that sneaks into your forebrain and burrows, biding its time…
Yes, yes, oh yay.