Two lyrics from 31 Songs

Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs first came to my attention because Palanca prize-winning author Exie Abola wrote a review of it for one of the writing workshops I attended back in UP. Finally, all this week, I was able to hear excerpts from this book on BBC 7, which I’ve browsed on those rare occasions when a local bookseller managed to stock it.

Anyway, it was good to hear some of the tunes about which he wrote, and here are the lyrics to two of them. They both sound good, and, well… they are about heartbreak. Exie commented to me that this sort of thing is the stuff a lot of musicians write about, so I trust his wisdom on such matters.

Smoke, by Ben Folds Five

Leaf by leaf, page by page
Throw this book away
All the sadness, all the rage
Throw this book away
Rip out the binding, tear the glue
All of the grief we never even knew
We had it all along
Now it’s smoke

The things we’ve written in it
Never really happened
All the things we’ve written in it
Never really happened
All of the people come and gone
Never really lived
All the people come have gone
No one to forgive – smoke

We will never write a new one
There will not be a new one
Another one, another one

Here’s an evening dark with shame
Throw it on the fire
Here’s the time I took the blame
Throw it on the fire
Here’s the view we didn’t speak
It seemed for years and years
Here’s a secret
No one will ever know the reasons for the tears
They are smoke

Where do all the secrets live
They travel in the air
You can smell them when they burn
They travel in the air
Those who say the past is not dead
Stop and smell the smoke
You keep on saying the past is not dead
Come and smell the smoke
You keep saying the past is not even past
You keep saying …
We are smoke … smoke … smoke

music and lyrics by Ben Folds and Anna Goodman

“You Had Time”

how can I go home
with nothing to say
I know you’re going to look at me that way
and say what did you do out there
and what did you decide
you said you needed time
and you had time

you are a china shop
and I am a bull
you are really good food
and I am full
I guess everything is timing
I guess everything’s been said
so I am coming home with an empty head

you’ll say did they love you or what
I’ll say they love what I do
the only one who really loves me is you
and you’ll say girl did you kick some butt
and I’ll say I don’t really remember
but my fingers are sore
and my voice is too

you’ll say it’s really good to see you
you’ll say I missed you horribly
you’ll say let me carry that
give that to me
and you will take the heavy stuff
and you will drive the car
and I’ll look out the window making jokes
about the way things are

how can I go home
with nothing to say
I know you’re going to look at me that way
and say what did you do out there
and what did you decide
you said you needed time
and you had time

music and lyrics by Ani DiFranco 

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