My Favourite Lyricist- Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra)
By James Ashurst- Bassist in Porter's Forces
As I have spent more time in bands over the last few years I have really started to appreciate, in particular, one aspect of a song, the lyrics. I really value thought out, clever words that you can listen to and be sure that the writer felt what they where putting down on paper. Even more so, I enjoy deciphering lyrics, trying to read past the actual words and discover their meaning.
One lyricist that has really brought this to the forefront for me is Andy Hull, the front-man of 'Manchester Orchestra'. I appreciate that they may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love them. It has been the general opinion that Hull's profound lyrics are of a better quality than the music behind them but I disagree, I believe that they have a winning formula, their arrangements compliment the subtlety and delicate nature of songs such as 'I Can Feel a Hot One' but they can also rock it up with the best of them, this is proven in 'Shake it Out'. I admire Hull's capability to write completely different songs to the same high standard.
He often flirts with the topic of religion, which isn’t something that I necessarily relate to but one thing that is clear is that he cares about his lyrics, I'm sold. An example of this can be found in 'I Can Barely Breathe' where he sings 'we're yelling, "someone's got the answers, but I’d rather think there's nothing to be found”'
However, my favourite lyric is featured in the aforementioned 'I Can Feel a Hot One'. This is based on a dream he had where his pregnant wife died in a car crash but his child survived, how he lost love but found it again in a different way.
'To pray for what I thought were angels
Ended up being ambulances
And the Lord showed me dreams of my daughter
She was crying inside your stomach.........And I felt love again'
This has inspired me to improve my own writing and only write when I feel it, rather than trying to force something out. An example of which can be found in a lyric I wrote a few years ago that included the chorus- 'They don't understand, they're all in my way, grabbing hips and hands as they misbehave'.
A song that basically told a story of wanting someone from across a crowded club. Every time I hear this song I know there are no real feelings behind it, just empty words to stick to some music. In contrast, there is a song on our new EP called 'All I've Ever Known'. The last verse says-
When I grow older I'll speak of a story,
Of mistakes in life,
When I found the right person at the wrong time
And didn't treat them right.
This sounds like a regret of mine when in fact, it is written from the viewpoint of my ex girlfriend. I feel the layers and the meanings to the words with this song and immediately appreciate it more.
There are different therapeutic ways to get your feelings out, some people write in a diary, others drink till they can't see straight, I write lyrics. Next time you hear a song, on the radio or even on your own itunes, ask yourself what it's about. You may often find more than one answer.
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