Pictured: Wild Yaks
By John Dickinson
Throughout the tail end of 2012, we here at Stereo IQ have picked the best new lyrics released from artists spanning a myriad of eras, genres, and popularity. Today we've reached the culmination of these lists, picking the best five lyrics from our featured column this year. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you: the lyrics of the year
5) "Lead the way, show me how / Get me excited for something new somehow / Or at least point me in the right direction." - Touche Amore, "Whale Belly" Lyrics
This two-minute blast combines elements of Refused and Minor Threat, as panicked screams allow themes of ennui and confusion to linger atop the band's familiar sound of frenetic beats and aggressive guitar strumming. Overtly introspective lyrics and consciously organic production transport you from your cozy bedroom to a dank basement in Los Angeles, where drones of punk-rock kids lament a changing future and a dying past.
4) "Don't dismiss it like it's so easy / Tell me what's so easy about coming to say goodbye?" - Andrew Bird, "Three White Horses" Lyrics
Before there was Bon Iver or Iron & Wine, there was Andrew Bird. And after the indie-folk groups of the future fade into oblivion, Andrew Bird will stand among the catacombs of wannabe Justin Vernon's like a valiant knight. Bird outdoes himself again with his new single "Three White Horses," a track that explores the theme of death through the imagery of the white horse -- a prominent figure in pretty much all sects of mythology -- from perspective of a loved one. Bird sounds unusually calm and collected as his trademarked croons guide his woe and despair through the air.
3) "Pierce the morning rain, I'm free again / Others wouldn't stay, I stuck to you my friend" - Dinosaur Jr., "Pierce The Morning Rain" Lyrics
After spending two decades trailblazing a genre, you would think alt-rock gods Dinosaur Jr. would have lost a bit of their luster. Wrong. The newest single released from the group stays true to their legendary sound and tells a tale of trust between friends and lovers.
Guitarist/vocalist J. Mascis takes a simplistic approach in his songwriting, avoiding convoluted lyricism in favor of crafty jabs at fellow suitors and an undeniably smooth delivery. The listener can almost feel the ability to confide in Mascis, as he solidifies his stance as a loyal friend taking life as it comes -- a pervasive lyrical theme throughout the group's new album I Bet On Sky.
2) "It slipped my mind / And for a time I felt completely free." - Atoms For Peace, "Default" Lyrics
Thom Yorke's (Radiohead) latest endeavor showcases his famously fragile falsetto as he croons a surreal tale of guilt-infested mourning. A claustrophobic feeling of inferiority blankets the listener once Yorke sings lines of a "troubled, silent poor boy" trying to free his mind from the anxieties of temptation. These ghostly moans build up all the way through the song's ending, during which the narrator admits he is consumed by his qualms.
1. "Now that I'm a million years old / I've seen the past and the future turn so many times" - Wild Yaks "A Million Years" Lyrics
The last single from indie kings Wild Yaks deals with what most people try so adamantly to avoid -- aging. While the lyric is a prime example of hyperbole, it also accurately portrays the ennui that goes along with getting old. Friends change and then leave, oases dry up, and all you're left with is your thoughts. Lead singer Robert Bryn and the rest of the Yaks exude gang vocals reminiscent of a pub singalong as they merely ride the wave of dotage, looking back on memories of pretty girls, and acknowledging that all their friends have died before them.