Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the intersection of poetry and music. As I rework the songs for my next recording project, I’m hoping to find the common ground between the two, writing lyrics that break from the predictable and embrace the infinite possibilities of poetry. The last few months I’ve been so impressed by the originality and freshness of Fiona Apple and Conor Oberst’s lyrics. These two artists continually remind me of the importance of rule-breaking and freshness in lyric writing.
“My ills are articulate/my woes are granular/The ants weigh more than the elephants/Nothing, nothing is manageable” Apple sings on “Left Alone”. These images are striking, unusual, and eloquent. To me, they far surpasses the standard lines that are a product of formulaic songwriting.
Here are two of my favorites. Listen for the way these words blur the lines between popular music and poetry.