July 8th, 2005


A well-turned... um, phrase! Yeah, that's it...

For some reason, today my mind veered off to songs with a certain class of metaphor and simile.

I dare say the particular class has been around as long as there have been people, but the first one I noticed was in 1974.

There's a lot more to Robert Palmer than videos with vacuous goth-meets-Vogue models swaying while holding musical instruments. (He even covered Gary Numan's disturbing gem, "I Dream of Wires.") His brilliant solo debut in 1974 started with a perfect medley, in the midst of which appeared the lines

"A horn section you resemble
And your figure makes me tremble
And I sure would like to handle
What's between your ears..."

Heady stuff for a hormone-laden 18-year-old to listen to.

I think the best example, though, is the extended geographical metaphor of the master Michael Franks in "Popsicle Toes" from the 1976 Art of Tea album:

You got the nicest North America
This sailor ever saw.
I'd like to feel your warm Brazil
And touch your [two beat pause] Panama...

I'd put Franks up with Cole Porter lyrically, and I dare say I'm not alone in that respect. My favorite of his has to be "Lady Wants to Know":

"Daddy's just like Coltrane,
Baby's just like Miles,
Lady's just like heaven when she smiles..."

(I didn't really understand that last line until I found my wonderful irpooh. Love you, dear...)

Come to think of it, let me remove that "lyrically" qualification.

Michael Franks is still composing and touring...alas, he's not coming near the Land of Pig. Maybe if enough of us beg?
  • Current Music
    "Lady Wants to Know," Michael Franks