Favorite lyrics by The Smiths!

August 28, 2014

“I wear black on the outside, ’cause black is how I feel on the inside.” This is the quintessential lyric for The Smiths, one of the best alternative music bands of all time, and a huge influence on my high school and college years. As I went through my first mental breakdown, Morrissey and Johnny Marr were with me every step of the way (as was The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees). Morrissey only has about four notes in his range, so singing the songs by yourself is incredibly monotonous, but paired with Johnny Marr’s unforgettable guitar riffs you can’t help but wail along.

This post is entirely an exercise in self-indulgence, though if you feel so inclined, leave your favorite lyric in the comments!

William, It Was Really Nothing
How can you stay with a fat girl who’ll say:
“Would you like to marry me
and if you like you can buy the ring”
she doesn’t care about anything
“Would you like to marry me
and if you like you can buy the ring”
I don’t dream about anyone
except myself

What Difference Does It Make
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But I’d still leap in front of a flying bullet for you

These Things Take Time
Vivid and in your prime
you will leave me behind
you will leave me behind

This Charming Man
I would go out tonight
but I haven’t got a stitch to wear
this man said “It’s gruesome
that someone so handsome should care”

How Soon Is Now?
There’s a club if you’d like to go
you could meet somebody who really loves you
so you go, and you stand on your own
and you leave on your own
and you go home, and you cry
and you want to die

Handsome Devil
A boy in the bush
is worth two in the hand
I think I can help you get through your exams
oh you handsome devil

Hand In Glove
The good life is out there somewhere
so stay on my arm, you little charmer
But I know my luck too well
yes, I know my luck too well
and I’ll probably never see you again
I’ll probably never see you again
I’ll probably never see you again

Still Ill
I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving
England is mine and it owes me a living
ask me why and I’ll spit in your eye
ask me why and I’ll spit in your eye

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
and heaven knows I’m miserable now

This Night Has Opened My Eyes
In a river the colour of lead
immerse a baby’s head
wrap her up in the News Of The World
dump her on a doorstep, girl
this night has opened my eyes
and I will never sleep again

You’ve Got Everything Now
No, I’ve never had a job
because I’ve never wanted one
I’ve seen you smile
but I’ve never really heard you laugh
so who is rich and who is poor?
I cannot say…

Accept Yourself
anything is hard to find
when you will not open your eyes

Girl Afraid
She says:
“He never really looks at me
I give him every opportunity
in the room downstairs
he sat and stared
in the room downstairs
he sat and stared
I’ll never make that mistake again!”

Back To The Old House
Are you still there?
or have you moved away?
or have you moved away?

Reel Around The Fountain
But take me to the haven of your bed
was something that you never said
two lumps, please
you’re the bee’s knees
but so am I

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Haven’t had a dream in a long time
see, the life I’ve had
can make a good man bad

Is It Really So Strange?
Why is the last mile the hardest mile?
My throat was dry, with the sun in my eyes
And I realised, I realised
I could never
I could never, never, never, go back home again

Sheila Take A Bow
How can someone so young
Sing words so sad?

Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Tried living in the real world
Instead of a shell
But before I began…
I was bored before I even began

Sweet And Tender Hooligan
Poor woman
Strangled in her very own bed as she read
But that’s OK
Because she was old and she would have died anyway

Half A Person
She was left behind, and sour
And she wrote to me, equally dour
She said : “In the days when you were
Hopelessly poor
I just liked you more…”

London
You left
Your tired family grieving
And you think they’re sad because you’re leaving
But did you see Jealousy in the eyes
Of the ones who had to stay behind?
And do you think you’ve made
The right decision this time?

Panic
Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE

You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby
If you’re wondering why
All the love that you long for eludes you
And people are rude and cruel to you
I’ll tell you why
I’ll tell you why
I’ll tell you why
I’ll tell you why
You just haven’t earned it yet, baby
You just haven’t earned it, son
You just haven’t earned it yet, baby
You must suffer and cry for a longer time
You just haven’t earned it yet, baby
And I’m telling you now…

Ask
Shyness is nice, and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to

Rubber Ring
And when you’re dancing and laughing
And finally living
Hear my voice in your head

Unlovable
I wear Black on the outside
‘Cause Black is how I feel on the inside [a classic!]

Asleep
Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go

The Headmaster Ritual
he does the military two-step
down the nape of my neck

Rusholme Ruffians
scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen
(this means you really love me)
and though I walk home alone
my faith in love is still devout

I Want The One I Can’t Have
On the day that your mentality
catches up with your biology

What She Said
“How come someone hasn’t noticed
that I’m dead
and decided to bury me
God knows, I’m ready”

That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
when you laugh about people who feel so
very lonely
their only desire is to die
well I’m afraid
it doesn’t make me smile
I wish I could laugh
but that joke isn’t funny anymore
it’s too close to home
and it’s too near the bone
it’s too close to home
and it’s too near the bone
more than you’ll ever know

Nowhere Fast
and if the day came when I felt a
natural emotion
I’d get such a shock I’d probably jump
in the ocean

Well I Wonder
Gasping – but somehow still alive
this is the fierce last stand of all I am
Gasping – dying – but somehow still alive
this is the final stand of all I am
Please keep me in mind

Barbarism Begins At Home
A crack on the head
is what you get for not asking
and a crack on the head
is what you get for asking

Meat Is Murder
it’s not “natural”, “normal” or kind
the flesh you so fancifully fry
the meat in your mouth
as you savour the flavour
of MURDER

The Queen Is Dead
So I broke into the Palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said: “Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing”
I said: “that’s nothing – you should hear me play piano”

Frankly, Mr Shankly
I want to live and I want to love
I want to catch something that I might be ashamed of

I Know It’s Over
“If you’re so funny
Then why are you on your own tonight?
And if you’re so clever
Then why are you on your own tonight?
If you’re so very entertaining
Then why are you on your own tonight?
If you’re so very good looking
Why do you sleep alone tonight?
I know because tonight is just like any other night

Never Had No One Ever
I had a really bad dream
It lasted 20 years, 7 months, and 27 days

Cemetry Gates
So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives
Where are they now?
With the loves and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died
Seems so unfair
And I want to cry

Bigmouth Strikes Again
Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
And when you want to live
How do you start?
Where do you go?
Who do you know?

Vicar In A Tutu
I was minding my own business
Lifting some lead off
The roof of the Holy Name church
It was worthwhile living a laughable life
Just to set my eyes on a blistering sight
Of a vicar in a tutu
He’s not strange
He just wants to live his life this way

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Driving in your car
Oh please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home, it’s their home
And I’m welcome no more

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
[I have never understood these lyrics but that doesn’t stop my caterwauling]
From the ice-age to the dole-age
There is but one concern
I have just discovered
Some girls are bigger than others
Some girls are bigger than others
Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls’ mothers

Reel Around The Fountain
oh people said
that you were easily led
and they were half-right

You’ve Got Everything Now
I’ve seen you smile
but I’ve never really heard you laugh
so who is rich and who is poor?
I cannot say…

Miserable Lie
I know the wind-swept mystical air
It means: I’d like to see your underwear
I recognise that mystical air
It means: I’d like to seize your underwear

Pretty Girls Make Graves
End of the pier, end of the bay
You tug my arm, and say: “Give in to lust,
Give up to lust, oh heaven knows we’ll
Soon be dust… ”

This Charming Man
Why pamper life’s complexity
When the leather runs smooth
On the passenger’s seat?

Hand In Glove
Hand in glove
we can go wherever we please
and everything depends upon
how near you stand to me

I Don’t Owe You Anything
Did I really walk all this way
Just to hear you say:
“Oh, I don’t want to go out tonight”?


Vow lyrics

December 4, 2010

Vow

© Cairril Adaire 1998

Broken Bruised Shattered And torn (You’re sorry)

Scarred Blistered Battered Unborn (Always sorry)

Incest Rape No more trust (You’re sorry)

You call it love You call it lust (Always sorry)

Terrorized Hypnotized Rooted to the spot (So sorry)

Eyes wide open Soul is cut (Always sorry)

Fear Nightmares Numbness Pain (So sorry)

Betrayal Violence Terror Flame

Our children are watching

Our children are watching

Our children are learning

Our children are dying

I try to make it better

I try to do it right

I try not to make you mad

I try to stop the fights

But what can I do when it’s too late

When the hands of love

Become the hands of hate

 

I heard on the news the other day

Yet another story ’bout a sistah blown away

I’m tellin’ you, the fire, it stops here

Listen to me, brothers, let’s make it very clear:

I hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I reject your violence, your hatred, your story!

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops here

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops today

Hey, hey hey hey

Your little game

Hey, hey hey hey

I won’t play

How long can this go on,

Father to son, we are broken,

Hey, we are broken

When will you face the truth,

Give up your abuse,

Broken, yes, you are broken

I’m tellin’ you today

I’m not gonna stay

In the place you’ve set for me

I’m stronger and I’m ready now

This is gonna stop, I take this vow:

I swear by the Earth and all I hold dear,

I will not stand by and watch this slaughter,

I will intervene, I’ll stand in your way,

You will not strike your sistah, your wife, your daughter

Hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I reject your violence, your hatred, your story!

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops here

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops today

Hey, hey hey hey

No more victims

Hey, hey hey hey

Because I say:

I hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I claim my life, my love, my rage!


Redbird lyrics

June 10, 2009

Redbird (AKA Deadbird)

Cairril Adaire

© 2008

 

Redbird, redbird

Settin’ in my tree

Redbird, redbird

Bring my love to me

 

Won’t you fly free now,

Give my heart ease

Come back to me, oh

Melt the soul of me

 

Bluebird, bluebird

Singin’ your sweet song

You bring happiness

But you don’ stay long

 

You’ll go flyin’ free, oh

And tethered here I’ll be

Won’ you come back to me, oh

And sing your joy to me

 

{guitar interlude}

 

White bird, white bird

Settle in my trees

You bear no scars

You know only peace

 

You once stayed with me, oh

But now you’re flyin’ free

Crimson stains my leaves, oh

It’s all that I can see

 

Blackbird, blackbird

With your broken wings

Blackbird, blackbird

You don’ ever sing

 

Your heart cries to me, oh

And I’m ready

Soar into this dark night

Take the soul of me

 

{Redbird / bluebird / white bird / blackbird}


Not One More Day lyrics

March 29, 2009

NOT ONE MORE DAY

By Cairril Adaire
© 2008

Oh, freedom (2x)
Oh, freedom from bein’ ignored
We don’t want no more
Of this endless, pointless war
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more sufferin’
No more killin’
No more pain in my name (in my name)
Can you look me in the eye
And say all those people deserve to die
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more sendin’ our poor
To fight a rich man’s war
No more blood, blood for oil (no more blood for oil)
I’d rather be poor
Than see my country fight this war
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more spyin’
No more lyin’
No more secrets
No more shame (we are better than this)
We take to the streets and say
We are standing in your way
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

Not one more dollar
Not one more day
Not one cent of my money
Spent in this wicked way
Not one more death
Not one more death
Not one more of our children
Not one more of theirs

No more torture
We’re forced to pay for
No more torture
In my name (we are better than this)
I still believe
In the land of liberty
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day


Lyrics: Not One More Day

November 30, 2008

Not One More Day
Melody based on Oh, Freedom 
© 2008 Cairril Adaire 

I.
Oh, freedom (2x)
Oh, freedom from bein’ ignored
We don’t want no more
Of this endless, pointless war
Not one more dollar, not one more death, not one more day 

II.
No more suffering
No more killing
No more pain in my name (in my name)
Can you look me in the eye
And say all those people deserve to die
Not one more dollar, not one more death, not one more day 

III.
No more sending our poor
To fight a rich man’s war
No more blood
Blood for oil (no more blood for oil)
I’d rather be poor
Than see my country fight this war
Not one more dollar, not one more death, not one more day   

IV.
No more spying
No more lying
No more secrets
No more shame (we are better than this)
We take to the streets and say
We are standing in your way
Not one more dollar, not one more death, not one more day 

V.
Not one more dollar
Not one more day
Not one cent of my money
Spent in this wicked way

Not one more death
Not one more day
Not one more of our children
Not one more of theirs

VI.
No more torture
We’re forced to pay for
No more torture in my name (we are better than this)
I still believe
In the land of liberty
Not one more dollar, not one more death, not one more day


Poor Robin Is Dead Lyrics

November 23, 2008

(Addendum to Ouroboros post)

This is a song sung in my family for several generations. My mother learned it from her father, the seventh son of Irish immigrants. When I pointed out that the song was clearly Pagan, my mother exclaimed, “But it’s Irish!” Indeed. 🙂

Poor Robin is dead and he lays in his grave

Lays in his grave (2x)

Poor Robin is dead and he lays in his grave

Oh, oh, oh.

 

There grew an apple tree over his head

Over his head (2x)

There grew an apple tree over his head

Oh, oh, oh.

 

The apples were ripe and beginning to fall

Beginning to fall (2x)

The apples were ripe and beginning to fall

Oh, oh, oh.

 

There came an old woman a-pickin’ ’em up

Pickin’ ’em up (2x)

There came an old woman a-pickin’ ’em up

Oh, oh, oh.

 

Her baskets filled up and she started away

Started away (2x)

Her baskets filled up and she started away

Oh, oh, oh.

 

Robin jumped up and he gave her a THUMP

Gave her a thump (2x)

Robin jumped up and he gave her a THUMP

Oh, oh, oh.

 

He made the old woman go hippety-hop

Hippety-hop (2x)

He made the old woman go hippety-hop

Oh, oh, oh.

 

If you wanna hear any more you can sing it yerself

Sing it yerself (2x)

If you wanna hear any more you can sing it yerself

Oh, oh, oh!


Blood & Gold (Romanian Song)

November 22, 2008

SSAA. First heard this on The Thistle & Shamrock and have remained in awe of it ever since. Written by Irish duo Andy Irvine and Jane Cassidy in the 1990s. It’s a punch-to-the-gut cry against the slaughter of war, specifically the holocaust-breakdown of the former Yugoslavia.

This arrangement is intended for a small ensemble rather than larger groups. Requires four very strong voices capable of handling the tight harmonies and emotional tension. English lyrics. Best in Balkan-style singing. It’s written in 3/4 with the emphasis on the 1 & 2. I believe the original is written in 13 or some such wackiness. 

Blood & Gold sample by Kaia small ensemble

On the third verse, we switch to a Western choral sound, more quiet and contemplative. After the driving Balkanesque sound, it sounds like the voices of angels or ancestors weeping. Then the fourth/final verse returns to the gut-punch.

Blood & Gold lyrics deconstructed Download this PDF for my essay (accompanied by images by Käthe Kollwitz) of the cultural milieu the songwriters may have drawn on. Or just read it for the history lesson! Note: content is all from my head, not from research with or discussion with the songwriters directly. I’m responsible for any non-facts.