By John Dickinson
Whether you're a fan of earth-shattering screams, loved Pineapple Express, or even if you're just eager to hear new tunes from the musical pioneers you've clung to for years, this week's Lyrics of the Week offers something for everyone. Let Stereo IQ take you inside the minds -- and the hearts -- of the artists who've put out new tunes this past week.
5) "Let's fall in love like they did in the old days / Let's have love like they had in the old days" -- Daddy, "Love In The Old Days" Lyrics
The newest venture from Academy Award-winning actor James Franco isn't another movie about an adrenaline-addicted hiker forced to cut off his own hand. In fact, it's about the furthest thing from self-mutilation. His new collaboration with musician Tim O'Keefe is Daddy, a Motown-influenced beach rock project that showcases Franco's skills off the silver screen, as a lyricist and a storyteller. Over modest instrumentation, Franco longs for a relationship reminiscent to that of his mother and father's; simple and passionate, with few complications and a mutual respect for each other and the world around them. Franco's rumbling spoken word proves that hindsight is 20/20, as he struggles to revive a past he wasn't around to see. Franco captivates his audience through a hypnotic rhythmic groove, letting his words spill over the track and persuade listeners to believe that things really were better in the '60s.
4) "Shed your casing, show your lines and shapes / Wear your insides on the outside / Show your enemy what you look like" -- Deftones, "Leathers" Lyrics
The lyrics to the prolific alternative metal group's newest single read more like a speech shouted to a group of warriors about to trek into battle than a hard rock song. Screams of fervor breathe life into vocalist Chino Moreno's vested war cry, urging listeners to repress cowardice and give into their primal urges. Deftones' distraught delivery denounces those who hide under a mask of complacence, as the apex of the song causes the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up and punch the closest living thing in your radius.
3) "Too soon, everyone just step away / I'm sure this isn't the last play" -- Grizzly Bear, "Yet Again" Lyrics
Grizzly Bear have made a name for themselves -- it's pretty much an axiom of modern indie rock. In their latest single, Edward Droste's emotional conflicts carry the audience upstream of his life as a newlywed, as Droste and his partner Chad McPhail experience many of the qualms and problems associated with married life. Droste uses numerous metaphors throughout the song to keep some aspects of his personal life encrypted; he relates the relationship to a game, making references to gameplay and keeping score throughout the song. As he grows more self-aware, the song picks up an optimistic overtone, stating that moving backwards is not an option.
2) "Itching like an intern with a sunburn / For what a stone unturned covers" -- WHY?, "Strawberries" Lyrics
Experimental indie group WHY? have slowly gained a cult following since their inception in 2004 -- and for good reasons. The group always manages to place heavy emphasis on lyrical prowess, and they return in 2012 with that very same approach. "Strawberries" is a track jam-packed with enough rhetoric and ambiguity to make any English professor salivate on command. Within the track are cleverly guided thematic cues to let listeners know what's going on in vocalist Yoni Wolf's head. Behind a guise of seemingly superficial lyrics is a man searching for purpose and deeper meaning in life. As he barbs his high school guidance counselor, interns, and someone named Shirley, one can't help but bob their head in agreement to the group's newest single.
1) "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.