Monday, July 28, 2008

Let Me Introduce You to Some of My Favorite Women

Hello, boys and girls. Today I decided to introduce you to some songs that have to do with women. Not just women in general, but an ideal or actual woman that someone wrote about who affected them. In some cases, we have an actual name given to the woman, although we have found all through history that the real name is not always given (see “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes, written by Eric Clapton, about George Harrison’s wife, Patti Boyd as an example). In other cases, it’s the relationship with the woman (as in “She’s My Ex” by ALL, listed below).

It’s hard for me to nail down in words, but most of the time I feel that when men write about women, there’s a lot of unknowns or mystery in the songs, maybe even confusion or hurt because of misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge when the songs involve love or intimacy. Think about this when you look at the lyrics of the songs that are familiar to you. I intend to show how men are more specific in fleshing out the subject when they are talking about men in another post.

Remember as always with me, it’s not only the lyrics but the combination of music and lyrics.

“V” – Golden Smog

When I was down, she was full of advice
She said she’d been there once or twice
With a ring on the side of her nose
Wearing other people’s clothes

V is a woman who used to wait on the guys at the bar, and when I mean wait, I mean she served them cold beverages. Then, on a cold December day, V up and went away. Where did she go? The song never knows, but V used to light the place up so much the boys in Golden Smog wrote a song about her.

“Lovely Rita” – The Beatles

Here’s one of my favorite Beatles songs. Rita is a meter maid. Written by one of the masters of silly (and quite honestly, very cheesy) love songs, Paul McCartney.

“Sara Smile” – Hall and Oates

Probably one of the best examples of White Boy soul out there. This is always a favorite of mine due to the vocals and the smooth music.

“She’s My Ex” – ALL

Both ALL and the Descendents (basically the same band with different lead singers) write some great tunes about women, and the relationships with them. Not quite “emo”, these guys were probably writing songs about not expressing their true feelings or being shy with innocent angst long before Rivers Cuomo came around with the truckload of female fear he delivers into those kinds of songs.

In this tune, the dude singing the song is still in love with his ex, but you sort of get the feeling that if he had a woman who appreciated his love, he’d forget her despite the fact that, “she’ll be my ex til I say when, until I get her back again.” Right click on the muxtape link and open a new tab to listen to this song while you read.

“Margaret Says” – The Vulgar Boatmen

This is probably one of the better tunes about a woman that I enjoy. A very nice description of Margaret’s personality. The album this is on, You and Your Sister, will get a proper review from me at some point.

“Angelyne” – The Jayhawks

Lots of regret in this one. Beautiful, sad vocal harmonies as well.

“Evangeline” – Matthew Sweet

Matthew writes a tune about a girl he’s infatuated with, but she’s in love with another “man.” The man, in this case, happens to be God above.

“Annie Mae” – The Twilight Singers

The music in this song is so funky, it makes me feel dirty. Sort of how the person singing this probably makes Annie Mae feel. Coming around when he’s lost, and not sticking around too long.

“Caroline” – Concrete Blonde

How about a song written about a woman by a woman? I love the sound of the bass in this tune. Caroline left, and instead of the confusion you get from a male songwriter, you get poetry that lets you know how she feels.

“Josephine” – Slobberbone

This is actually, it’s a Mulehead song, but I only know the Slobberbone version, and it kicks ass! A story of a guy who loves this girl Josephine, but he can’t even talk to her. Spray paints her name in a bright color on the water tower, goes to jail for it, and with his one phone call he dials her up and then can’t say anything.

“Jackie O” – John Mellencamp

I’m not sure what to make of this song. It’s kind of got this goofy 60’s pop sound to it, and appears to use a xylophone or some kind of wacky organ in the mix. Nice tune, overall. Can your daddy get us backstage passes? You know how we love to dance. With all his political power it would seem to me that you could dance better than you do.

“Jennifer Grey” – Total Passover

Okay, so I’m self-promoting here. But this song is about Jennifer Grey, the actress, and focuses on her role in Dirty Dancing. Nobody puts baby in the corner. Also on the muxtape.

“Sharon Needles” – Earl Lee Grace

The Dwarves’ Blag Jesus decided to make a bluegrass album in the 90’s. This is one of my favorite tunes off it about a girl who had a lot of fun in high school named Sharon Needles. Sharon Needles went to the prom with her dad, he could not get none so he went away mad.

“Yankee Rose” – David Lee Roth

A metaphorical woman. Mostly great because it was the song used in the video that returned David Lee Roth to us in all of his greatness. Give me a glazed donut and a bottle of anything…TO GO!

Other honorable mentions:

“Josie” – Steely Dan
“Lesbian Nun” – Dwarves
“Liza and Louise” – NOFX
“Maggie May” – The Faces (live version)
“Maybeline” – Chuck Berry
“Sister Luck” – The Black Crowes
“Somebody’s Baby” – Jackson Browne
“There’s This Girl” – Sweet Baby

This post best enjoyed with Magic Hat #9 (a girlie beer)


Boo said...

"Janine" by Soul Coughing.

Love love love this song. The first few lyrics are over this woman's voice leaving a rambling message on a machine, and the lyrics say

Janine, I drink you up.

Awesome post Jez.

Jez said...

Well, thankee, Boo! Actually, my wife made me a mix tape with Janine on it when we first met. Funneh!

Chele said...

great list.

My mentions would be
Angie and Ruby Tuesday by the rolling Stones

and of course the song that gave me my name
Michelle by The beatles...for obvious reasons it is my favorite song about a woman.

thejodester said...

'Librarian' by My Morning Jacket. I am totally in love with this song right now.

Jez said...

@chele - I thought about "Angie" but then my favorite Rolling Stones song (or at least top 3) which also mentions a woman is "Sweet Virginia" so I chose it over "Angie." But then I realized that "Sweet Virginia" is more about getting wasted than it is about a woman, so I nixed it and totally forgot about Ain-geh.

@jodester - I need to get more MMJ. I bought "Off the Record" and that's it. I'm worried they might be too "jammy" for me. I like the "Hawaii Five-0" riff from "Off the Record" though.

Felicia said...

Hall and Oates, YESSSSSS!!!

Admin said...

I really admire Jennifer Grey's tribute to Patrick Swayze. She's doing Dancing with the Stars for him, class.