Sunday, September 16, 2007

Great Songs and Great Songwriting #2 (Story Songs)

I am not a huge fan of story songs. Actually, let me rephrase that: I've never found the fact that a song is a story song a reason in and of itself to love the song. I know there is a tradition in American folk music that has certainly shown itself in pop ("Honey"), soul ("Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," Slick Rick's "Children's Story") and country (a million examples, everything from "Ode to Billie Joe" to "Goodbye Earl"). And many of those songs are great. But they aren't necessarily my cup of tea. (I am partial to Dennis Linde's "Goodbye Earl.")
But I'm posting the two story songs below not only because they build suspense like good old fashioned short stories, but their twisted endings reflect a cynicism and bitterness on the part of the writers that I find very attractive.
John Hiatt - Tennessee Plates
Robert Earl Keen - The Road Goes On Forever

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