Story in Song

Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis from Acid Tongue

I grew up loving to read books.  Strangely then, when it comes to music, lyrics are usually not what grabs me in music.  It’s the sounds.  Even with the vocals, the sound of the singer’s voice can make or break a song for me.  What he or she is saying doesn’t really matter.

I say usually.   Lyrics sometimes do make a song great for me, and it seems to happen most often when the lyrics are telling a story or describing a mood, the musical equivalent of a novel or narrative.  This is the case with Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue.  With nothing but a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment, she paints a vivid picture of sadness.  The first verse has our protagonist having a conversation with a shoe cobbler about the “hole in you” and her firing back to said cobbler “i’m not lookin’ for a cure.”  Next she talks about dropping acid in Dixie, being “a little bit drunk and looking for company”, then she finds someone but is “unlucky in love.”  On the chorus she is joined by several others singing a countrified “i’m a liar.”  The sadness builds as she sings about there being  “no snake oil cure for unlucky in love” and “to be lonely is a habit.”  And then the chorus switches from talking about being a liar to “and now I am tired.”

The song, to me, is the musical equivalent of a Steinbeck or Cormac McCarthy novel.  When I listen to the song I envision an America past, mountains, the small towns, the deserts of America and the people that inhabit places not yet overrun by Walmarts and fast food chains.  Not saying all those people are as sad as our protagonist, just that is the mental images conjured for me when I hear this song.

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2 Responses to “Story in Song”

  1. xrvolume Says:

    Hey! Great Post & Song! Keep Rockin’!

    your friends,

  2. Good Day « Nothing to Write Home About Says:

    […] but it immediately sent me out looking for other stuff by her.  Like the Jenny Lewis song I wrote about, this is mostly just a guitar and Mirah’s voice as instruments, though drums get added into […]

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