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New category suggestion: Self-referential songs

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My fave, the opening lines of "Leaves That Are Green" by Simon and Garfunkel:

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song

I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long.

... borrowed years later by Billy Bragg.

LBB

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Monty Python: I Bet you they won't play this song on the radio

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah: It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift, which almost parallels "Do, a deer, a female deer".

LBB

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My fave, the opening lines of "Leaves That Are Green" by Simon and Garfunkel:

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song

I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long.

... borrowed years later by Billy Bragg.

LBB

I was just thinking of that one :D :thumbsup:

(Billy Bragg song is "A New England")

Edited by Guest
a couple months too late ;)

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Magazine - "A Song From Under The Floorboards"

I am angry I am ill and I'm as ugly as sin

My irritability keeps me alive and kicking

I know the meaning of life, it doesn't help me a bit

I know beauty and I know a good thing when I see it

This is a song from under the floorboards

This is a song from where the wall is cracked

My force of habit, I am an insect

I have to confess I'm proud as hell of that fact

I know the highest and the best

I accord them all due respect

But the brightest jewel inside of me

Glows with pleasure at my own stupidity

This is a song ....

I used to make phantoms I could later chase

Images of all that could be desired

Then I got tired of counting all of these blessings

And then I just got tired

This is a song ...

"Song From Under The Floorboards" - performed live by Magazine

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Another paradoxical lyric, from Pulp "Something Changed":

Where would I be now if we'd never met?

Would I be singing this song to someone else instead?

A very beautiful song.

LBB

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Jimmy's "Trying To Reason With The Hurricane Season"

Squalls out on the gulf stream,

Big storms coming soon.

I passed out in my hammock,

God, I slept way past noon.

Stood up and tried to focus,

I hoped I wouldn't have to look far.

I knew I could use a Bloody Mary,

So I stumbled next door to the bar.

And now I must confess,

I could use some rest.

I can't run at this pace very long.

Yes, it's quite insane,

I think it hurts my brain.

But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

There's something about this Sunday

It's a most peculiar gray

Strolling down the avenue

That's known as A1A

I was feeling tired, then I got inspired.

And I knew that it wouldn't last long

So all alone I walked back home, sat on my beach

And then I made up this song.

And now I must confess,

I could use some rest.

I can't run at this pace very long.

Yes, it's quite insane,

I think it hurts my brain.

But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

Well, the wind is blowin' harder now

Fifty knots of there abouts,

There's white caps on the ocean.

And I'm watching for water spouts

It's time to close the shutters

It's time to go inside.

In a week I'll be in gay Paris;

That's a mighty long airplane ride.

And now I must confess,

I could use some rest.

I can't run at this pace very long.

Yes, it's quite insane,

I think it hurts my brain.

But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

Yes, It cleans me out and then I can go on.

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Songs Of Love - Ben Folds

...."So sing while you have time

Let the sun shine down from above

And fill you with songs of love

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice

Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

So sing while you still can

While the sun hangs high up above

Wonderful songs of love

Beautiful songs of love

Beautiful songs of love

Beautiful songs of love"

-----------

How about Singing in the Rain -Gene Kelly?

Also, I Wrote A Song About Your Car -Mike Doughty

And -Sing A Simple Song -Sly and the Family Stone

just a few

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It may be a simply lovely song, but it doesn't appear to be self-referential in any way.

Well it's possibly self-referential, like "Silly Love Songs" or "I Write The Songs".

LBB

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This Is My Song

Petula Clark

Written by Charlie Chaplin

Why is my heart so light

Why are the stars so bright

Why is the sky so blue

Since the hour I met you

Flowers are smiling bright

Smiling for our delight

Smiling so tenderly

For all the world, you and me

I know why the world is smiling

Smiling so tenderly

It hears the same old story

Through all eternity

Love, this is my song

Here is a song

A serenade to you

The world cannot be wrong

If in this world there is you

I care not what the world may say

Without your love there is no day

So, love, this is my song

Here is a song

A serenade to you

---- Instrumental Interlude ----

I care not what the world may say

Without your love there is no day

So, love, this is my song

Here is a song

A serenade to you

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Actually, I'm pretty sure that Singing in The Rain is NOT self-referential. The song does not mention itself at all. The SINGER is being self-referential, but that's a different, much more common thing.

Or am I nuts, as usual?

LBBBB

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Yes, no, and maybe so? :P

Yes, I think I see your point, he's singing about himself singing ('xept maybe the line about the refrain?).And yes, maybe you're nuts, but then I feel like someone who recognizes that, can't be actually nuts. :)

Is it, or not, I'll leave to the pros here.

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo...

I'm singing in the rain

Just singing in the rain

What a glorious feelin'

I'm happy again

I'm laughing at clouds

So dark up above

The sun's in my heart

And I'm ready for love

Let the stormy clouds chase

Everyone from the place

Come on with the rain

I've a smile on my face

I walk down the lane

With a happy refrain

Just singin',

Singin' in the rain

Dancin' in the rain

Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah

Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah

I'm happy again!

I'm singin' and dancin' in the rain!

I'm dancin' and singin' in the rain...

[ADDITIONAL VERSE]

Why am I smiling

And why do I sing?

Why does September

Seem sunny as spring?

Why do I get up

Each morning and start?

Happy and head up

With joy in my heart

Why is each new task

A trifle to do?

Because I am living

A life full of you.

-------

@I guess "Songs of Love" isn't then, either, since he's referring to others who are singing love songs, not the song itself.

-------

@Found one! lol

Makes Me Whole- Amel Larrieux

okay it's the corniest thing ever, but it is pretty, too

"Darling I want you to listen

I stayed up all night, so I could get this thing right

And I don't think there's anything missing

Cause a person like you, made it easy to do

I've waited for so long, to sing to you this song...."

Edited by Guest

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Some very weird responses in this thread. Do people have any idea what self-referential actually means? Singin' In The Rain is clearly not self-referential in any way, neither is Rock Me Amadeus, neither is Like A Rolling Stone.... And the comment about Prince on pg.2 or 3... what is that supposed to mean?

A couple that are that (I think) haven't been mentioned so far:

Van Morrison - I'd Love To Write Another Song

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Wrote A Song For Everyone

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Interesting you should say that, as I have also been quick to notice several songs which are clearly not "self-referential".

However, I could present a case for "Singing In The Rain" fitting the bill, at least implicitly. Whilst the lyric itself doesn't explicitly refer to "this song", the listener understands (well, I did anyway) that this song is the one which is being sung, in the rain. Not just any song, this one. If the singer had said "Here I am . Look at me. It's siling down, I'm getting soaked, but that isn't stopping from singing this joyous song, because love has brought me to a state of carefree abandon", you would acknowledge it as "self-referential". Of course, he doesn't use those exact words, but that's the essence of what he's saying, isn't it ?

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Yes BF, that's probably true, but that would be a fairly uninteresting bit of self-reference, ie just a song that mentions itself. It doesn't say anything interesting about itself. COmpare with, say, Hallelujah and those wonderful lines:

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,

The minor fall and the sacred lift.

... now that is a pretty spectacular and rich bit of self-reference, all the more so because the words are describing both the song itself and also the subject of the song. Freaky poet man Leonard!

LBBB

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I still don't think it (Singin' In The Rain) is self-referential - the knowledge that the song is being sung is that one only comes from seeing it sung in the film. It's very tenuous to suggest otherwise.

Bt the way, Hallelujah, the lyrics are 'the minor fall and the major lift', not sacred lift. Or does that change occur in a version that isn't one of the better kown ones? It's certainly not in Laughin' Len's original or in the Jeff Buckley version.

Edited by Guest

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the knowledge that the song is being sung is that one only comes from seeing it sung in the film. It's very tenuous to suggest otherwise.

I disagree: if he instead sang "I'm singing THIS SONG in the rain", not only would the lines no longer scan, but the words THIS SONG would be superfluous, because we already know which song he would be referring to- whether or not we had ever seen the film - and it certainly isn't "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

I might test this theory out on my kids, who have certainly never seen the film.

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Bt the way, Hallelujah, the lyrics are 'the minor fall and the major lift', not sacred lift. Or does that change occur in a version that isn't one of the better kown ones? It's certainly not in Laughin' Len's original or in the Jeff Buckley version.

Of course, it is "major", not "sacred"... my momentary mental breakdown. Anyway, "major" is even more clearly self-referential ;-)

LBBB

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I found 3 more:

what do you think of this one? I'm not sure...it refers to "this one" as the song.

Comes And Goes (In Waves)-Greg Laswell

This one's for the lonely

The one's that seek and find

Only to be let down

Time after time

This one's for the torn down

The experts at the fall

Come on friends get up now

You're not alone at all

And this part was for her

And this part was for her

This part was for her

Does she remember?

It comes and goes and waves

I...

This one's for the faithless

The ones that are surprised

They're only where they are now

Regardless of their fight

This one's for believing

If only for it's sake

Come on friends get up now

Love is to be made

And this part was for her

And this part was for her

This part was for her

Does she remember?

It comes and goes in waves

I...

Am only led to wonder why

It comes in goes in waves

I...

Am only led to wonder why

Why I try

This is for the ones who stand

For the ones who try again

For the ones who need a hand

For the ones that think they can

It comes in waves

I...

Am only led to wonder why

It comes and goes in waves

I...

Am only led to wonder why

Why I try

--------------------

or this song by Michael Franti- Bomb the World"

(a great peace song by the way)

"So I sing out to the masses

Stand up if you’re still sane

To all of us gone crazy

I sing this one refrain

We can chase down all our enemies

Bring them to their knees

We can bomb the world to pieces

But we can’t bomb it into peace"

-------

and last but not least I was listening to this, it's sooo funny, the way they sing it!! The whole song is about him writing the haiku song he's singing...

Haiko - Tally Hall

One, two, three, four

I have been trying to write

A haiku for you

Some things I just can't do

Maybe you're beyond ancient Asian poetry

Asian poetry

Or maybe it's just me

I have trying to get

This haiku just right

All night for you alright

I'm through!

Maybe this poem was lost

In the sauce we spilled

That never got refilled

I've never thought much

of formulaic verse anyway

End rhymes are not my fort-

I have been trying to get

This haiku just right

All night for you alright

I'm through!

I'm trying not to try to hard

But you're hard to write down right

So I pen these trite attempts

At haikus for you tonight

hee hee ha ha ha ha ha ha

La da dee diddum

La da daddum doo

Diddle dum doo la deedle

There! That's sufficient.

I wrote a haiku for you

Well I tried at least

And that's not so bad

I'm working here

Can that be said for you?

I'm trying not to try too hard

But you're hard to write down right

So I pen these trite attempts

At haikus for you tonight

Words don't work like Webster says

They trip me up all night

I'm just trying to write for you

But you're hard to write down right

not the best video, but the song is so adorable :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWjr6V7HmeI&eurl=http://www.uulyrics.com/music/tally-hall/song-haiku/

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