Rock & Roll :: Cliff’s Notes

1950s-christmas-card.jpgJudging by the sad madness in our nation’s Wal-Marts, it must be the holiday season. The days are getting shorter, the lines are getting longer, and it’s becoming more and more important to cram as much as we can into the hours between sunup and sundown.

My friends and I like to play a game where we condense a band’s entire lyrical output to one characteristic line; it can be a line that sums up their philosophy neatly (as my friend Ben points out, nearly any Fugazi lyric will do there), or something that’s indicative of the types of stories they tell (according to my friend Jason, literally any Black Sabbath line will do). So, in keeping with the season of sharing, get together with a few friends, throw on a yule log and the Beach Boys Christmas record, and start stuffing.

In The Comments: Let us know what you come up with below. With thanks to Jason, Ben, Robbie, and Josh, here are a few examples to get you started. words/ m. garner

The Hold Steady :: “She was a pretty cool kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian.”
Nirvana :: “Teenage angst has paid off well; now I’m bored and old.”
The Minutemen :: “Punk rock changed our lives.”
The Replacements :: “One foot in the door, the other one in the gutter.”
Joy Division :: “I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling.”

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68 thoughts on “Rock & Roll :: Cliff’s Notes

  1. Roxy Music – “Well I’m here looking through an old picture frame, just waiting for the perfect view”

  2. Radiohead, “I’m not here. This isnt happening.”
    Flaming Lips, “Will the fight for our sanity be the fight of our lives?”
    Broken Social Scene , “We have to menstruate in disguise.”

  3. Leonard Cohen – “Myself, I long for love and light. But must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?”

  4. the hold steady one might also be “and he said take a hit, hold your breath and i’ll dunk your head / yeah then when you wake up again, yeah you’ll be high as hell and born again” (too long?)

  5. I would say this is more appropriate for Wilco:
    “Music is my savior. I was maimed by rock and roll. I was tamed by rock and roll. Got my name from rock and roll.”

  6. for Refused fans out there. This one might be cliche but….. “And how can we expect anyone to listen if we are using the same old voice? We need new noise , new art for the real people.”

  7. Springsteen:
    “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse…”

    Other possibilities for the Boss:
    “It’s a town full of losers and I’m pulling out of here to win.”
    “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”

  8. I feel like Bruce fits in that same category as Sabbath, where nearly everything he says fits his philosophy perfectly. It’s sorta like how for the past fifteen years, Snoop Dogg has been in the constant state of reasserting the fact that he is, indeed, Snoop Dogg.

  9. I agree that any Springsteen lyric fits his philosophy pretty well, but a particularly good one in my opinion is:
    “At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the
    middle of my head.”
    My pick for Neil Young:
    “It doesn’t mean that much to me to mean too much to you.”
    Silver Jews:
    “I know that a lot of what I say has been lifted off of men’s room walls.
    Maybe I’ve crossed the wrong rivers and walked down all the wrong halls.”

  10. Tom Waits: I spent all my money in a Mexican whorehouse, across the street from a catholic church…(Wait, no, that sums up my philosphy neatly)

  11. It’s just the way that he sings,
    not the words that he says,
    or the band.
    I’m in love with this soul,
    it’s a meaning that I understand.
    – Jim James, The Way That He Sings, Accidental Autobiography

  12. Kevin, that’s so perfectly MMJ.

    Could Tom Waits be “What’s he building in there? What the *hell* is he building in there?”

  13. Getting blowjobs from the press
    Oh, i’m jealous, can’t you guess?
    But I could never fit your dress
    Queen Elvis

    Robyn HItchcock

  14. Spoon: “We could go kick down some doors together / Stay out ’til morning, sharp as knives”

    Tom Waits: “I got a bad liver and broken heart / I drunk me a river since you tore me apart”

  15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs — “It’s our time sweet babe, to break on through / It’s the year to be hated / So glad that we made it”

    Cash — “Till things are brighter, I’m the man in black”

    Wu-Tang Clan — Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ to F*ck Wit’

  16. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t think up that Wu-Tang one. That’s so perfect.

    Atlas Sound/Deerhunter – “I’m waiting to be changed.”

  17. Tom Waits (later): “Never trust a man in a blue tench coat, never drive a car when you’re dead”

    Tom Waits (early): “Someone pour me a cab, I just can’t drink no more”

  18. I leave early in the morning and I won’t be back till next year. I see that kiss-me pucker forming, but maybe you should plug it with a beer. — Magnetic Fields

    You know the bottle ain’t to blame and I ain’t trying to. It don’t make you do a thing it just lets you. — Mike Cooley, Drive-by Truckers

    Look me in the eye, then, tell me that I’m satisfied. — Replacements

    Come pick me up, Take me out, Fuck me up, Steal my records, Screw all my friends… – Ryan Adams

    I miss the innocence I’ve known, Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned – Wilco

  19. Son Volt’s

    ‘Tear Stained Eye’:

    “Walkin down Main Street,
    gettin’ to know the concrete
    Lookin’ for a purpose from a neon sign.”



    “Switching it over to AM
    Searching for a truer sound
    Can’t recall the call letters
    Steel guitar and settle down
    Catching an all-night station somewhere in Louisiana
    It sounds like 1963, but for now it sounds like heaven
    May the wind take your troubles away
    May the wind take your troubles away
    Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel,
    May the wind take your troubles away.”

    (yea, it’s long…but it’s good)

  20. “ladies, let me tell you about myself i got a dick for a brain
    and my brain is gonna sell my ass to you” greg dulli (afghan whigs)

  21. Magnolia Electric Co. (Jason Molina): “Now that the big gray owl above me, she starts again to wail, she says that moon has got so low tonight that it’s polishing the rail…”

  22. Talking Heads: This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.

    X: We’re desparate, get used to it.

    Specials: Stop you’re messing around, time to think of your future.

    Young Neil Young: Everybody knows this is nowhere
    Old Neil Young: People my age, they don’t do the things I do.

  23. new order – “ive lived my life on alcohol, ive lived my life on pills”

    a stupidly obvious nin one – “i hurt myself today, to see if still feel, i focus on the pain, the only thing thats real”

    ryan adams – “i was at the bar til 6, oh lord, but i wasnt ready to go, im never ready to go

    depeche mode – “i’ll give in to sin, because i like to practise what i preach”

    sigur ros – ha yeah right

  24. the smiths – “i decree today that life is simply taking and not giving
    england is mine, it owes me a living”

    the stone roses – “kiss me where the sun dont shine, the past was yours but the futures mine, your all out of time” (this one doesnt work for second coming era roses)

    babyshambles – “OH PADDY PUT THE PIPE DOWN”

    i really like this game

  25. Perhaps the most obvious one

    Rolling Stones: If you start me up, I’ll never stop, never stop,never stop.

    and then these

    magnetic Fields: “it makes the sun shine, makes it rain; you just get out what they put in.”

    M. Ward: “God it’s great to be alive, rips the skin right off my hide to think I’ll have to give it all up one day”

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