Song lyrics that do more than rhyme

I have a playlist with some, oh I dunno, three hundred songs, maybe.  I listen to it when Jeff and I are in the kitchen cooking together.  I know most of the choruses to most of the songs, but my kids would tell you that I’m pretty good at messing up the verses.  Maybe more often than not.  But we won’t talk about that.

Sometimes I’ll be absentmindedly listening to a song while I’m doing dishes and a certain lyric will catch my attention and then I’ll have to quickly strip off my dishwater gloves and hit the back button to replay the song.  Some lyrics are like that, aren’t they?  The sneak up on you under the cover of just another song lyric but when you really listen you might find words strung together in a way that resonates.  Or maybe just a clever way of saying something you’ve always known.  In either case, certain lyrics just stick.  I thought that sharing the lyrics that just stick with me would make for an entertaining read.  Here goes.


“You can tell that something isn’t right, when all your heroes are in black and white.”  – Speak for Me,  by John Mayer

Meaning, I believe, that folks today aren’t as honorable as they once were.  I’m not saying I agree, necessarily.  There are plenty of movers and shakers doing great things.  At the risk of sounding like a fogey, though, I will have to admit that this MTV generation is killing me.

“Just cause you say it’s so, doesn’t make it so.” – Written All Over My Face, by Kris Allen

Jeff and I have adopted this one for personal use.  We say it all the time in response to (mostly liberal) news broadcasters, our children, and maybe even our pastor a time or two.  Shhh!

“I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.” – Closer to Love, by Matt Kearney

That one hit me one day while I was listening in the car.  So true, isn’t it?

“People throw rocks at things that shine.” -Ours, by Taylor Swift

They do.  They really do.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters.” – Oceans, by Hillsong United

“Where my trust is without borders…” Isn’t that poetic?  This particular song is beautiful.  A prayer sung instead of spoken.

“The only deal I ever signed, no devil drew a dotted line.  The stage was set, the words were mine.”-Whisky Whisky Whisky by John Mayer

Yeah, so speaking of that MTV generation, this song sort of lays bare what I believe to be a major issue with a whole slew of young folk.  That is, the inability to accept responsibility for their own choices.  In all fairness, though, I know several not-so-young folk with the same trouble.  So there’s that.

“Mama always told me that I should play nice, but she didn’t know you when she gave me that advice.” – Done, by The Band Perry

C’mon.  You know that is just too awesome for commentary.

“And nothing formed against me shall stand.  You hold the whole world in the palm of your hands.” – Whom Shall I Fear, Chris Tomlin

Lots of people would tell you that the Scriptural basis of this song (Isian 54:17) no longer applies because it was a promise delivered to the Israelites in the Old Testament, under the old covenant.  However, my belief is that as long as Old Testament promises are contextually reiterated in New Testament Scripture, they hold true.  In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells us that, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you”.  The wording is different, but the idea is the same.  That is, nothing that stands against us shall stand.  Personally, I can’t think of better news than that.  I love Chris Tomlin’s song.  The whole thing is empowering, but this particular verse especially.  

 “Oh you know I love my folks but I keep staring down the road, just looking for my one chance to run.” – Born to Fly by Sara Evans.

This one has always spoken to me.  And it speaks to me now on a whole new level.

“Way out here working on the docks everyone sees the long day through.  Oh, what would I do without the nights and the phone and the chance just to talk to you” – Every Little Kiss by Bruce Hornsby

This song takes me way back.  When Jeff was in Iraq I would put the kids to bed and pour a glass of wine and play it over and over and over.  It made me feel lonely and comforted all at the same time.

“It’s midnight Cinderella time that you should know, there’s gonna be some changes in the way this story goes.  It’s midnight Cinderella but don’t you worry none ’cause I’m Peter Peter the Pumkin Eater and the party’s just begun.”  -It’s Midnight Cinderella by Garth Brooks.

When Jeff and I got married, the favor we gave out at our wedding was a custom CD full of songs that mattered to us.  This one was the final {fun} song on the disc.  I was a divorced mom of three at the time.  ‘Nuff said, right?


3 Replies to “Song lyrics that do more than rhyme”

  1. I’m totally ‘Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater!’ But now we are almost 10 years into the party, but it’s still kickin’

  2. Classic hymn Come Thou Fount – this has always stuck with me:

    O to grace how great a debtor
    daily I’m constrained to be!
    Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
    bind my wandering heart to thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    prone to leave the God I love;
    here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
    seal it for thy courts above.

    Modern worship From the Inside Out (Hillsong United) the line ‘the art of losing myself in bringing you praise’ always convicts me.

    I love that same line from The Band Perry song. And similarly, just because it makes me laugh, from Miranda Lambert’s Mama’s Broken Heart:

    “Can’t get revenge and keep a spotless reputation. Sometimes revenge is a choice you gotta make.”

    Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have some great thought provoking lyrics. And Tom Waits. (We don’t have much in common musically I know)

  3. Song lyrics definitely speak to me. I think that’s why sometimes I cry when I sing if I’m worshipping too hard (I know it sounds weird to say “too hard” when you’re talking about worship, but the ugly comes out of my mouth along with those tears); those words enter my heart and speak the words that I don’t know how to say on my own.

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