This episode centers around story songs. I’ve always appreciated the way a song can tell a story, whether as a broad-strokes character sketch (“Martin,” “Loyola,” “Kiss the Bottle”), an anecdotal glimpse (“Smithers-Jones,” “Shut Your Little Trap, Inc.,” “Kiss the Bottle”) or as a full-fledged short-story that happens to fit into the conventional structure of a pop song (“Fancy,” “No Regrets,” “Home Sweet Home,” & the rest, basically).
I hope you get to check these songs out on a drive or on a jog, or something; any context where you can hear the lyrics & get a sense of what the songwriter’s doing with his/her protagonist(s). These are the songs that come to mind whenever I hear someone singing a song about how they feel. There’s been quite enough of those songs, thank you. More songs about people who don’t write songs, please!
Oh—I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the show concludes with the most brilliantly-written song ever written, “The Ballad of the Shape of Things.” Check out the lyrics. (I just got a chill re-reading them!) Up yours, Dashboard Confessional!*
* arbitrary example
The Revolutionary Plastics Hour: Volume Thirteen
Beans – Nude Paper (instrumental)
The Jam – Smithers-Jones
Old 97s – The Other Shoe
Drive By Truckers – My Sweet Annette
Woody Guthrie – Buffalo Skinner
Mr. Complex – Gitcha Gitcha Gitcha (instrumental)
Dillinger Four – Shut Your Little Trap, Inc.
Snuff – Martin
Dictators – Loyola
Jawbreaker – Kiss the Bottle
Peter Gabriel – Home Sweet Home
Danger Mouse & Jemini – Live on Both Sides (instrumental)
Ben Folds – Fred Jones, Part Two
Lynn Anderson – Fancy
Aesop Rock – No Regrets
Mr. Complex – Stabbin’ You (instrumental)
Kingston Trio – The Ballad of the Shape of Things
Beans – Star Killer (instrumental)