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Story songs

people don't seem to write them anymore. You know, like "Ode To Billy Joe", "Harper Valley PTA", "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Are there any recent examples?

by B Gentryreply 7603/26/2013


by B Gentryreply 103/07/2013

^ Not a recent example.

by B Gentryreply 203/07/2013

Not that recent, but Avril Lavigne's Skaterboy was pretty popular.

by B Gentryreply 303/07/2013

Story songs are also known as ballads, OP. Listen to the concept album "Operation Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Full of story songs and put together they are like a movie telling a whole story.

by B Gentryreply 403/07/2013

Try country music. Lots of songs about trucks, dogs, whiskey and women.

by B Gentryreply 503/07/2013

R4, it's nice to know I'm not the only fan of "Operation Mindcrime." An incredible album.

by B Gentryreply 603/07/2013

"Stan" by Eminem

by B Gentryreply 703/07/2013

r6 It's nice to know I am not alone either! Geoff Tate was so great back then, no album (from anyone) will ever compare.

by B Gentryreply 803/07/2013

Here ya go. It's hip hop, but give it a chance.

by B Gentryreply 903/07/2013

Most of Macklemore's stuff is fairly autobiographical. "Wings", "Victory Lap". Tells HIS story.

by B Gentryreply 1003/07/2013

Geoff Tate really was great, and I agree, no other album comes close to OM.

It's been years since I've listened to it, but I've got it playing in my office now. The looks I'm getting from others has me laughing on the inside.

by B Gentryreply 1103/07/2013

I loved the story of "Don't You Want Me" by Human League in the 80's.

It is sad, wistful, angry, and creepy at the same time. I liked that it told both sides of the story. The Gotye song that is all over the radio now reminds me of it in some ways but the Gotye song doesn't have much as much going for it lyrically.

by B Gentryreply 1203/07/2013

Anyone else think Tears for Fears' "Woman in Chains," fits this category?

by B Gentryreply 1303/07/2013

I don't know if it fits r13 but I know it's a fucking awesome song! I thought I was the only Queensryche loving TFF fan and that is their best song.

by B Gentryreply 1403/07/2013

Any freakin Taylor Swift song.

by B Gentryreply 1503/07/2013

R15, I love the story that goes along with them discovering Oleta Adams in a Kansas City hotel bar and asking her to join them on the album.

Not afraid to admit, there are days when I turn it on, turn it up and sing along to "Woman in Chains."

by B Gentryreply 1603/07/2013

"Timothy" -- The Buoys

Written And Arranged By Rupert Holmes Who Is Famous For The "Pina Colada Song."

A CONTROVERSIAL #1 Hit In 1979 about cannibalism.

by B Gentryreply 1703/07/2013

Check out Sheryl Crow. Her CD Detours has a lot of these kinds of songs.

by B Gentryreply 1803/07/2013

Common - Testify

Uses a great Honey Cone sample

by B Gentryreply 1903/07/2013

"Fast Car" - Tracy Chapman

by B Gentryreply 2003/07/2013

I think that you need to get out more, OP!

Iain "Fred" Smith - Dust of Uruzgan

Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Age of Miracles

Two recent albums with 'story songs'.

by B Gentryreply 2103/07/2013

"Waterfalls" by TLC has three stories in it.

by B Gentryreply 2203/07/2013

"Rabbit Fur Coat" - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

by B Gentryreply 2303/07/2013

Dylan did a couple of albums-full in the mid-70s, but that was when they last seemed the thing in rock.

by B Gentryreply 2403/07/2013

Judy Collins - The Little Road to Bethlehem

by B Gentryreply 2503/07/2013

Paul Simon - "Train in the Distance"

by B Gentryreply 2603/07/2013

"Sunny Came Home"

"Night the Lights Went out in Georgia"

"Take This Job and Shove It"

"Take a Letter, Maria"

"Jack and Diane"

by B Gentryreply 2703/07/2013

There are still singer songwriters and story songs. They just don't have the visibility that they had years ago.

by B Gentryreply 2803/07/2013

The absolute best recent story song is Jens Lekman's "Postcard to Nina." It's also very funny.

by B Gentryreply 2903/07/2013

"Polly" by Nirvana. The apathetic story of a poorly executed rape.

by B Gentryreply 3003/07/2013

"Rabbit Fur Coat" is indeed excellent.

Oh, and then there's Branigan's "Spanish Eddie"...

by B Gentryreply 3103/08/2013

You all know the proper term for "story songs" is ballads, right.

by B Gentryreply 3203/08/2013

The 70s were the best years for the story song.

by B Gentryreply 3303/08/2013

"Uneasy Rider" and "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band.

by B Gentryreply 3403/08/2013

Yep r32, I mentioned it at r4.

by B Gentryreply 3503/08/2013

Not recent but Aerosmith's Janie Got a Gun and Pearl Jam's Jeremy.

by B Gentryreply 3603/08/2013

I don't like Pearl Jam anymore r36 but Jeremy is an excellent song. It reminds me of the Stephen King story 'Rage", read it if you haven't. It is very timely in light of all the school violence lately.

by B Gentryreply 3703/08/2013

OP you made me go watch the Ode to Bully Joe video. Creeepy. I didn't remember the full story and had never seen the bizarre video.

Not all ballads are story songs. Some just sing about their feelings about a situation or if they are telling a story it's done vaguely, not like the OP's examples.

by B Gentryreply 3803/08/2013

Detachable Penis

by B Gentryreply 3903/08/2013

It's a toss up, but this could be the the most depressing story song ever. It's not new though. "Alone Again Naturally"

by B Gentryreply 4003/08/2013

The best: Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Said James to Red Molly, my hat's off to you It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952 And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme

by B Gentryreply 4103/08/2013

Another good, creepy one is the murder ballad, "Where the Wild Roses Grow" by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue.

by B Gentryreply 4203/08/2013

The day Jilly Jo Lalalister jumped off the Tallahasse River bridge........

The day my mammy socked it to the NAACP...

The wreck of the Edmund Fitsimmons

I learned the tooth at 17...That my face looked really mean...

by B Gentryreply 4303/08/2013

Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one

Fucked her racist ass, until she did cum

Dark lady laughed and danced until the clock struck on the twelve

She told me more about the cereal on the shelves.

by B Gentryreply 4503/08/2013

"Aliens Invading" by Ke$hit

by B Gentryreply 4603/08/2013

'It Was A Very Good Year' - Frank Sinatra

'One Piece At A Time' - Johnny Cash

'Summer The First Time' - Bobby Goldsboro

'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' - John Lennon

'Oh What A Night' - Four Seasons

by B Gentryreply 4703/08/2013

Alanis Morissette - "Hands Clean"

by B Gentryreply 4803/08/2013

The festival was over, and the boys were all plannin' for a fall

The cabaret was quiet except for the drillin' in the wall.

The curfew had been lifted and the gamblin' wheel shut down,

Anyone with any sense had already left town.

He was standin' in the doorway lookin' like the Jack of Hearts.

by B Gentryreply 4903/08/2013

As the island slowly sank

The loser finally broke the bank in the gambling room

The dealer said "It's too late now

You can take you money, but I don't know how

You'll spend it in the tomb"

The tiny man bit the soldier's ear

As the floor caved in and the boiler in the basemen blew

While she's out on the balcony where a stranger tell her

"My darling je vous aime beacoup"

She sheds a tear and then begins to pray

As the fire burns on and the smoke drifts away

From Black Diamond Bay.



I was siting home alone one night in LA

Watching old Cronkite on the seven o'clock news

It seems there was an earthquake that

Left nothing but a Panama hat

And a pair of old Greek shoes

Didn't seem like much was happening

So I turned it off and went to grab another beer

Seems like every time you turn around

There's another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear

And there's really nothing anyone can say

And I never did plan to go anyway

To Black Diamond Bay.

by B Gentryreply 5003/08/2013

OP, Emmylou is a great storyteller

by B Gentryreply 5103/08/2013

"King of the Jailhouse" - Aimee Mann

by B Gentryreply 5203/08/2013

"No Anchovies Please" - The J. Geils Band

by B Gentryreply 5303/08/2013

the Ballad of Alice's Restaurant

by B Gentryreply 5403/08/2013

"L.A. International Airport," Susan Raye

by B Gentryreply 5503/08/2013

Story songs are not synonymous with ballads, what a silly statement. Might just as well say that any song with lyrics tells some kind of story.

And some of the songs mentioned here are just songs. Story songs, with some exceptions are kind of gimmicky and often don't have so many choruses, usually more repeated hooks or phrases.

"Frankie and Johnny" is a story song, it tells a complete narrative verse after verse.

Dylan's "Joey", "Hurricane" and "Black Diamond Bay" are novellas they are so detailed and biographical.

"Ode to Billy Joe", of course.

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

"At Seventeen" (barely)

by B Gentryreply 5603/09/2013

R5 is right. Lots of story songs in the country music genre. Here's a prime example, complete with whiskey and cheatin' hearts.

by B Gentryreply 5703/09/2013

Jacob's Dream - Alison Krauss

by B Gentryreply 5903/25/2013

"Polaroids" by Shawn Colvin.

by B Gentryreply 6003/25/2013

it's called R-A-P..even if you don't like the story, it's still a story. the question is why don't they writed GOOD ones anymore?

by B Gentryreply 6103/25/2013

Most of the 60s pop songs wove narratives with a beginning, middle, and end and the trend continued through the disco era, e.g. "There But For The Grace of God," to today.

Which came first: the story or the song?

by B Gentryreply 6203/25/2013

See many of Bruce Springsteen songs, i.e., "The River," "Point Blank", etc....

by B Gentryreply 6303/25/2013

Best Story Song - In the Ghetto by Elvis

by B Gentryreply 6403/25/2013

R56 is right. Many of you seem to be struggling with the concept of a story song.

Even R56 is confused. "At Seventeen" is not a story song.

Story songs tell a story from beginning to end.

by B Gentryreply 6503/25/2013

All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You by Heart had a lucid narrative with a twist worthy of The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.

by B Gentryreply 6603/25/2013

Many of Stacey Kent's songs tell stories. They aren't melodramatic so I'm not sure Datalounge's melodrama queens would appreciate them.

by B Gentryreply 6703/25/2013

Pineola by Lucinda Williams

In Color by Jamey Johnson (kinda)

Lonely at the top by Jamey Johnson (for sure)

Choctow Bingo by James McMurtry.

It's hard to call these narrative songs because they are too clever (make a broader point/or act as a character sketch).

by B Gentryreply 6803/25/2013

not much of rap is really stories anymore. Biggy Smalls was the best story-teller in rap, and there's just nobody who does it like that anymore, at least in the mainstream.

In fact, it's the absence of narrative that unifies modern rap/hip-hop.

Why tell a story when you can just repeat the same phrase over and over and make millions.

by B Gentryreply 6903/25/2013

Stacey Kent sings a truly chilling narrative.

by B Gentryreply 7003/25/2013

One more from Stacey Kent en Français.

by B Gentryreply 7103/25/2013

Don't know if I would say it's the "Best" Story Song, but agree that "In the Ghetto" is a great story song, sung fantastically by Elvis and thoughtfully well-written by its composer, Mac Davis.

by B Gentryreply 7203/26/2013

Not recent, but I love "Angie Baby" and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Delta Dawn" (would that be considered a story?

Oh, also not recent but I loved Rod Stewart's "The Killing of Georgie" and his "Young Turks" ("Patty gave birth to a ten-pound baby boy, yeah!")

by B Gentryreply 7303/26/2013

And that's why she fell for... the leader of the pack. Vroom, vroom.

by B Gentryreply 7403/26/2013

That's the night that the lights went out in Jordan.

That's the night the Jews stole all my land

Don't trust your soul to nobody who's named Gordon

'Cause the Jews in the town got blood stains on their hand

by B Gentryreply 7503/26/2013

are you TRYING to get this thread vanished, r75? I can't believe the Amazing Race thread is disappeared because everyone kept savaging Joey.

by B Gentryreply 7603/26/2013
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