Category Archives: Words

Greatest Dylan Hooks

What a great day, in a categorically confusing way: a popular songwriter has won the Nobel Prize for literature! We must pay our respects! What for you is the greatest hook in Dylan’s lyrics, and why do you pick it? … Continue reading

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Classic Unique: Fiona Apple, “Extraordinary Machine” (2005)

Our words wait quietly in the dictionary with their meanings ready, paws tucked under. When we take them out,  sometimes we try to make them sit still there, there, and there, like in info-speak; or let them run, like in poetry; … Continue reading

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The Boy Hook: The Zombies, “Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)” (1968)

July 28 is my birthday and also the day when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, now counted as the official start of World War I. (Let’s go back and ask Austria-Hungary: “Would you like to start World War I?”)[1] Today … Continue reading

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When Happening Happens: Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth” (1967) and Rickie Lee Jones, “Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act)” (2003)

This is a tale of two great protest songs. “For What It’s Worth” start “There’s something happening here,” begins Stephen Stills in “For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield, 1967). He wants to call our attention to an outrage, but what … Continue reading

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Killer Trochees: The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” (1966)

“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” is a major hook mystery. How can a song so great be so monotonous? Well, of course it’s not monotonous at all; it more than makes up for its lack of melodic and harmonic variety … Continue reading

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Biblical, Take Two: Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited” (1965)

I was going to be an English major in college, but then I heard “Highway 61 Revisited” and changed to Religion, because how else could I get to the bottom of this: God said to Abraham, Kill me a son … Continue reading

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The Extra “Uh”: The Byrds, “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” (1967)

Watching Marjoe the other night, I was heavily reminded how evangelists do this: Thank you Jesus-uh! And then I began to pray-uh! And I turned-uh my mind-uh to God-uh! What’s the power of the added “uh”? Could it be the … Continue reading

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