Song: “Baby Pop”
Artist: France Gall
Album: Baby Pop
You’ve got to love the stereotypical portrayal of the French as romantically tragic and sentimental, discussing existential literature while puffing through packs of cigarettes and sipping red wine. It seems like even Serge Gainsbourg’s blond-haired Parisian protegé France Gall had this act down by the age of 18. The petite fille isn’t singing about something infantile like whipping her hair back and forth, but how forlorn the future can be. How moody and French is that? Le sigh.
Best Lyrics: “Tu seras une pauvre gosse. Seule et abandonnée. Tu finiras par te marier. Peut-être même contre ton gré. À la nuit de tes noces. Il sera trop tard pour. Le regretter.”
Google Translation: “You will be a poor kid. Alone and abandoned. You’re gonna marry. Maybe even against your will. On the night of your wedding. It will be too late to. Regret.”
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Greatest Hits
This is one of those songs that I had to learn to love. It was on a burned CD entitled “Snowboarding Mix” that I snatched from my older sister at some point in my music-obsessed adolescence. The song has been on my calming pre-bedtime mix ever since, sandwiched between Enya and this guy.
Apparently, this song is about a prostitute (which by reading the lyrics one could easily assume the same) and it was featured on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack. Being eight years old when the film came out and innately associating Tom Cruise as a couch-jumping scientologist, I made this monumental discovery relatively recently. But get those images of Renée Zellweger in garish ’90s makeup croaking out “You had me at hello”–this twinkling chanson meanders just enough until reeling us back in with that redemptive, velvety saxaphone outro.
Best Lyrics: “She’ll let you come just far enough so you know she’s really there.”
Song: “Ball & Biscuit”
Artist: The White Stripes
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Best Lyrics: “It’s quite possible that I’m your third man, girl. But it’s a fact that I’m the seventh son.”
Label: Mute Records
Even if you don’t like electronic music or bald, middle-aged musical geniuses (ahem, I’m talking to you, Eminem), you can’t deny the amazing ambient beats and dancing piano that just seduce you into a whole new realm of groove.
Best Lyrics: “In my dreams I’m dying all the time. When I wake its kaleidoscopic mind. I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to lie. So this is goodbye”
Song: “The Sweetest Girl”
Artist: Scritti Politti
Album: Songs to Remember
Label: Rough Trade
While reading and reviewing the book An Intimate History of Rough Trade by Neil Taylor for Rolling Stone Australia, I stumbled across the post-punk Leeds band Scritti Politti. Check out their 1981 saccharine ska single injected with a bit of politics–“The Sweetest Girl”–the first installment of my new “Song of the day” section where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite songs of the moment.
Best Lyrics: “The weakest link in every chain, I always want to find it. The strongest words in each belief, find out what’s behind it. Politics is pride too. Vagaries of science. She left because she understood the value of defiance.”