In praise of brilliant lyrics, turns of phrase, and the infinite beauty of language
By Sam Perwin
A fews months back, I wrote about a Musical Theatre collective I'm a part of called Actor Own: a group that gathers together monthly to sing through the entire score of a musical. This month we tackled Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. While Joseph... is admittedly a guilty pleasure, and the songs are infinitely hummable, it is not a lyrical masterpiece (all apologies to Tim Rice). "Biscuit" and "District" do not rhyme, a list of colors does not a chorus make, and that's just the title number.
It got me thinking about lyrics good and bad. Chess, for example, contains two of my least favorite lyrics in all of Musical Theatre:
And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death, and despair
She is the constant
We who don't care.
"We who don't care" about what, exactly? You're telling me you love her no matter what, but then you don't care? Or you don't care about wars, death, and despair? But don't you love your country? It's maddening. And of course, there's the perrenial favorite from "Nobody's on Nobody's Side:
I see my present partner in the imperfect tense.
Don't even get me started on how it's possible to see in a particular tense.
This video, on the other hand, is a masterpiece of neon and dreams...