Lyricscapes #7

Earl Sweatshirt – Sunday (feat. Frank Ocean)

Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean make quite the team, with their pairing creating a highlight on ‘Channel Orange’ in the form of ‘Super Rich Kids’. This organ-driven cut from ‘Doris’ is further evidence of the musicians’ uncanny ability to tie illuminative lyrics to a sweet retro tune; Frank’s sharp turn of phrase mixed with Sweatshirts insouciant delivery. The 2013 album ‘Doris’ was a triumph for Sweatshirt, rave reviews – killer and varied songs, but was furthermore a victory for Frank as he turned his hands to rap; where man, he proves he can spit a bar or two!

‘Channel Orange’ saw Ocean become the king of heartbreak, and whilst that wonderful collection displays his gravitational and irresistible vulnerability, he never dropped into the murky waters of intensity.  This verse and a half  sees Ocean take that plunge, which is also littered with that strange imagery he scrawls : “Tattoos you can only see when I’m playing surfboarder/ I put whiskey in that salt water”

However, it’s the few lines below which sticks out as the centrepiece to his verse, as he retaliates to homophobia with that smart and intimidating turn of phrase. Moments such as this moulds the thought of a rap-heavy ‘Boy’s Don’t Cry’ into a pretty exciting one. He closes his featuring off by declaring “I catch this vibe in my sleep/ I’m just jetlagged is all, and restless.” If this is Ocean on sleepy form, then man, what’s he going to be like after a few coffees? This is Ocean warming up to ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, which has been so far enigmatic and absent, but when it drops out the unpredictable stratosphere of the internet, man it’s going to create a wave…

“I mean he called me a faggot/ I was just calling his bluff/ I mean how anal am I going to be when I’m aiming my gun?/ and why’s his mug all bloody?/ That was a three on one”

Check out my post on Frank Ocean’s ‘Boy’s Don’t Cry’ here.

Lyricscapes #6

Father John Misty – Only Son of the Ladies’ Man from Fear Fun

You may be aware of this sassy word-smith by now, he released a terrific album called I Love You, Honeybear earlier this year to bubbling hype then unanimous praise, but his debut album Fear Fun was the one which kicked off all the fuss. After being the drummer in Fleet Foxes and releasing a series of solo albums as J Tillman, he decided to stray from his usual style of songs which he called ‘dungeons and dragons music,’ when he realised it wasn’t going down as well as the onstage banter. Instead Tillman channelled his sharp wit into songwriting, he gave himself a new name, moved to Hollywood and got himself a band which resulted in the pychedelic-folk-rock of Fear Fun.

This three-chord ballad sat in the middle of his songwriting reawakening as Father John Misty. It carves the tale of ‘the ladies’ man’ from the perspective of his single accidental offspring, who has developed the same charming traits. Alongside his story, the lyrics paint a vivid picture of Hollywood which had a part in kicking off the rejuvenated spark in Tillman’s songwriting; that excitement is prevalent in this tune. You can listen to this track on Fear Fun but his performance of it on The David Letterman Show projects the real spirit of Father John Misty. If you wondered where Alex Turner got his hip-shaking sass from then check out the crash-course below.

Lyrical Highlight: “Cowboy and the Cop shot down the ladies’ man/ the humid nights in LA are now silent”

Father John Misty is waking up our culture man

Lyricscapes #5

Jake Thackray – ‘The Lodger’ from Live Performance

Jake Thackray is a singer/songwriter from the 1960s who has influenced some of Britain’s greatest songwriters such as Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey and Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys’ Cornerstone is a direct nod to Thackray). You only have to look at the wit, charm and undeniable Britishness in his lyrics to see why the aforementioned took a liking to him. Here, Thackray carves the tale of his landlady and her deeply promiscuous daughters named Mary, Helen and Julie. He finds himself as the victim to their advances one night, which leaves him feeling “amazed and really rather tired.” Jake showcased his sharp turn of phrase and French inspired instrumentation on his weekly slot at BBC’s Braden’s Week which saw his audience grow rapidly, you can hear why by the reaction of the hysterical audience in the audio below.       

Lyrical Highlight“They weren’t all impervious to the possibilities of high romance/ and I sensed a certain girlish nerviness in the way they folded my pyjama pants”

Lyricscapes #4

Jarvis Cocker – ‘I Never Said I Was Deep’ from Further Complications

Cocker is the British Lou Reed, carving out stories of unsung characters with pop melodies throughout his career in Pulp and in his solo work. On this Dion inspired track he draws from a character who is a born layabout who’s largely perverted and unmotivated. He is also incapable of affection, his mentality for love doesn’t go beyond the animalistic mentality of reproduction as he hunts for not a relationship but a ‘willing receptacle.’ The song has moments of humour but is overcast by a sadness, however this tragic character seems pretty content in the way he is as he boasts a list of his worst qualities in the chorus. One of Cocker’s finest songs in my opinion.

“I never said I was deep but I am profoundly shallow/ my lack of knowledge is vast and my horizons are narrow”

Lyricscapes #3

Nick Lowe – ‘Lately I’ve Let Things Slide’ from The Convincer

Nick Lowe tapped into the spirit of the singer/songwriter for his 2002 album ‘The Convincer’. The track ‘Lately I’ve Let Things Slide’ finds him in a universally experienced situation, where after the demise of a relationship we humans decide to dip into a hopeless and unhygienic stupor. It’s a simple song which doesn’t require a lot of explanation but features some killer lines such as:      

“That untouched takeaway I brought home the other day has quite a lot to say”