Thursday, May 18, 2006

Crooked Teeth

Despite the fact that I’m a 6 Music-listening, Word-mag-subscribing dyed-in-the-wool Proper Indie Chick, I’m not great with song lyrics*. There are plenty that I love**, but for me it’s almost always the tune that sends that shiver up my spine.


Due to financial predicaments, I haven’t bought anything since January. But on Monday I decided to splash out and spend a tenner on a CD.

Bit late to the party I know, they’re on album no. 7 or something, but I’ve developed a liking for Death Cab For Cutie on the strength of Crooked Teeth. It’s been on the radio about a million times but I’m not remotely sick of it. It’s full of gorgeous jangly summery guitars, plus there’s a line in it which leapt right out at me:

"You’re so cute when you’re slurring your speech"


A man who likes his woman even more when she’s a bit tired-and-emotional***? Love it, love it, love it.

So I’ve been listening to the album non-stop for the past few days. And it’s great.

But Crooked Teeth? When you read the lyrics, they’re actually about the singer breaking up with a girl but not giving a flying fuck about her. As are half of the songs on the entire album.


No more liner notes for me.

*Until very recently, I thought The Smiths were singing "I’d like to smash a grater in your head". I’ve had that album for nearly 20 years so that’s a lot of mis-listenings

** eg: If I had three lives, I’d marry her in two; Chantilly lace is good for no-one; I thought that if you had an acoustic guitar, it meant that you were a protest singer. I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible; gymnastic whores down on all fours; oh yeah I wait tables too; she said that she preferred handsome men, but for me she would make an exception; if it wasn’t for chip fat they’d be frozen; I'm no longer living, just looking for excuses to drink.

***The fact that when I get drunk, I get (even) loud(er) and belligerent and obnoxious (rather than all cute and slurry and vulnerable) is not getting in the way of this particular fantasy


  • oh, song lyrics. this is the kind of post I could completely swamp. I'm slightly deaf but ironically love music anyway, but that means that if I want to know the lyrics, I almost always have to go to the lyric sheet. Otherwise the lyrics I hear normally say rather more about me than the song.

    but anyway, a few favourite:
    "to make matters worse, the trains are on time"
    "lets get high with the radio on!"
    "I woke up this morning with a frapuccino in my hand"
    "two dead ends and you've still got to choose"
    "how long will it be until he sees? / you own his legs but his mind is free"
    "john wilmot wrote his best poetry when he was riddled with the pox" - my favourite poet sung about by my favourite singer...

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 3:42 PM  

  • i too am slurry but not cute when drunk - but the obnoxiousness is surely all part of my peculiar charm.

    By Blogger Kirses, at 4:21 PM  

  • If you get a chance, go and see DCFC live - they're awesome.

    By Blogger Hannah, at 5:38 PM  

  • Pah, song lyrics! Reading lyric sheets is the key to heartbreak, I'd ban them if I could. (except for people with very unorthodox diction)

    By Blogger Billy, at 8:23 PM  

  • Pox: excellent choices there; Nick Cave is one of the bestest lyricists ever. My favourite's 'You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan', but there are far too many other brilliant lines to mention.

    If I started on song lyrics, I would be here all day. Oh, I have started. Oops. Back later.

    For some reason I've never really listened to Death Cab, but we do like Ben Gibbard's multifarious other incarnations here at Quinquireme Towers.

    By Blogger patroclus, at 10:36 AM  

  • that is a fantastic line. As much as I love Nick Cave, I actually think as a lyricist he's equalled by Townes Van Zandt whose written some of the best lyrics I've heard - especially Pancho and Lefty. And then there's that bizarre song lungs, where he sings: 'salvation sat and crossed herself, called the devil partner'.

    and Tom Waits is pretty good, with that kind of tramp-glam thing he has 'fishin' for a good time starts with throwin' in your line'.

    and millions more. I could go on for ever.
    ("the future is there, it'll happen to me"
    "If I were short on words, but long on things to say..."
    "I want to tell you that I love you, but does it really matter?"
    "I thought she went on holiday / but the KKK took my baby away").

    Sorry all.

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 3:57 PM  

  • "...foot, knee, shaggy belly face - famous hind legs.."

    Scott Walker, 'Rawhide' from the album 'Climate of Hunter'.

    You think that's weird? Listen to his new one, 'The Drift'. And those are the real lyrics, not misheard.

    How are you Spinny, anyroad? Well, I trust.

    Love on ya,


    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 4:01 PM  

  • Bob!

    I thought you'd gone and died or something.

    Only Nick Cave would start a song with "I don't beleive in an interventionist god". Genius.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 9:48 AM  

  • Aw, I wish I was more indie, but I just discovered Nirvana (well, rediscovered) Foo Fighters and Philip Glass. Go figure.

    By Blogger No Shit Sherlock, at 8:57 AM  

  • Bitterly disappointed when the lyric I heard as "Me and my guitar were strung along" (nice pun, I thought, or do I mean zeugma?) turned out to be "Me and my guitar we strummed along".

    By Anonymous entropy, at 2:45 PM  

  • I like the chip fat line - who was that?

    Sorry I'm very late on this post. Must try harder.

    By Anonymous Lethe, at 8:57 AM  

  • Welcome entropy and lethe.

    You should get blogs yourselves, you know.

    You too, Riddled, obviously.

    Anyhow the chip fat line is the Kaiser chiefs. V uncool these days, but hey, I don't care.

    And I much prefer strung along to strum along (even if I don't know which song it is..)

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 9:06 PM  

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