He relates to teenagers, expressing that he's been there and gave into peer pressure. He also uses his own life experience to explain not only that excessive drinking isn't cool, but also that it can lead you to a perilous and poisoning path. So why don't young people respect that?
After about three and a half decades of listening to his music, I saw and heard Billy Joel perform live recently at Fenway Park. Even though it was a stadium show, the sound proved stunningly sharp. His voice was strong and the lyrics quite clear. The audience, however, puzzled me.
If you choose to forgo "Happy Birthday" for crooning about your "Magic Stick," you'd better be the guy in the Gandalf getup passing goodies out to the party-goers. You will NOT be "making it rain" around my girls unless you are a sprinkler technician.
It's this collection of love songs, laments and tales of a night out that will be remembered as the point where 27-year-old Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys ceased becoming "just another band" and became one of the biggest bands on the planet.
On September 11, 2012, Dylan released his 35th studio album, "Tempest." Unlike his work from the '60s and '70s, Dylan does not unleash his scathing wit on rivals, old lovers or enemies here. "Tempest" is a conversation with death.
A few weeks back I posted a blog about singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman. Not only is she a talented writer and musician, but she is also a growing woman who has embraced love, heartbreak, and life, and she is not afraid to share her experiences with those around her.
I could say no to the song. She would ask me why. I would say that I thought the lyrics were inappropriate. She would ask why, then I would either have to explain the metaphor, or choose NOT to explain, which would then just make her feel confused, and perhaps even ashamed.
When I heard rumors about Jay-Z and Beyonce heading to Cuba, I was feeling pretty confident about my trendy choice to go that way. But then I bagged Cuba, and booked a flight to Vienna, Austria, home of the Lipizzaner stallions and Wienerschnitzel.
"Mistletoe and Holly" is a holiday masterpiece. But I know the biology of those two plants that Mr. Sinatra croons about... and that makes me wonder: Is there more to this song than standard Christmas cheer?
Lyricists, often a forgotten footnote, breathe life and meaning into a melody. It is the lyrics that tie the emotion of both the music and the singer entrusted to it, to deliver a message that can touch our hearts, something few can rarely accomplish.
It is now 2012, and Leonard Cohen is yet again going out on tour. I have not again seen him since that last day, in 1988, in Athens, but I know he remains very much the same man I met, and hung out with, for three days so very long ago, when we were both so very much younger.