I am lying

It would be fun to put together a collection of songs that talk about themselves…but I’m too lazy to assemble it (suggestions welcome). One such song would surely have to be The Yachts’ “Suffice to Say” (from 1977), whose lyrics are entirely about itself, its singer’s hopes regarding its effect on its subject…all wrapped up in a nice little bow of irony. That irony is amusingly cued by the fact that the lyric, simple as it is, still manages to describe itself inaccurately. For example: “there’s an instrumental break…right after this”: what follows is the chorus – which we might take as “this” – but what follows after that is a middle eight, with lyrics spoken on top of it.

And of course, the singer had previously informed us he had not, in fact, written a middle eight. Oops.

The Yachts “Suffice to Say” (1977)

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “I am lying

  1. There’s an amusing song by Peter and the Test Tube Babies called “All about Love” that would fit right into a collection of songs about themselves.

  2. bokonin

    They Might Be Giants’s debut has both the entirely self-referential “Number Three” and the ending of “Everything Right is Wrong Again” (which announces “And now the song is over now, the song is over now”, then repeats, then does in fact end).

    Sparks’ latest, of course, includes “I Can’t Believe You’d Fall for All the Crap in This Song”.

    Pay TV’s “Refrain Refrain” is frothy dance-pop of sinister catchiness.

    Da Vinci’s Notebook, though, recorded the masterpiece of self-referentiality: the superbly-harmonized boy-band parody “Title of the Song”. The lead vocalist sings with almost Curtis-like descriptive vagueness , e.g.: “Enumeration of my various transgressive actions/ Of insufficient motivation/ Realization that these actions led to your departure/ And my resultant lack of sleep and appetite/ Renunciation of my past insensitive behavior/ Promise of my reformation “. The performance of “Drop to my knees to elicit crowd response/ Prayers to my chosen deity/ Modulation and I hold a high nooooooooooooooooooooooooooote” is genuinely breathtaking.

  3. bokonin

    Oh, and of course there’s the Magnetic Fields’s “Love is Like Jazz”, which I may be alone in actually liking.

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