Top 10: Nonsense Lyrics
Without a doubt, post-LSD, pre-breakup Beatles produced some of the craziest nonsensical lyrics in the history of music. Triggered by countless acid trips and music journalists constantly trying to analyse their lyrics, John Lennon wrote some of his most legendary and highly-regarded songs in the form of ‘nonsense prose’, for example, Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am The Walrus and Glass Onion. This new genre of psychedelic rock inspired many generations of new musicians to follow suit. This post celebrates the wonderful British tradition of nonsense; for better and for worse:
10) Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
First of all – worse. This abomination of a song contains one of the stupidest lyrics of all time, hence why I’m labelling it as nonsense…
“Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad”.
9) Hang Onto Yourself – David Bowie
Now we fall comfortably into the ‘better’ category, with this often overlooked masterpiece, Hang Onto Youself…
“We can’t dance, we don’t talk much, we just ball and play, but then we move like tigers on vaseline”.
8) Band on the Run – Paul McCartney and Wings
Of course Paul McCartney was going to come into the list somewhere, being one of the original innovators of the nonsense lyric. However, even once he’d gone solo, elements of nonsense still found their way into his own songs…
“Well the rain exploded with a mighty crash as we fell into the sun, and the first one said to the little one there, I hope you’re having fun.”
“Well the undertaker drew a heavy sigh, seeing no one else had come. And a bell was ringing in the village square for the rabbits on the run.”
7) Separate and Ever Deadly – The Last Shadow Puppets
Now we come to the first, modern (good) nonsense lyrics, written by Miles Kane and Alex Turner…
“Save me from the secateurs, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear. Can’t you see I’m the ghost in the wrong coat, biting butter and crumbs”.
6) A Day in the Life – The Beatles
Yes! The first, inevitable appearance of The Beatles in my nonsense count down. It really would be scandalous not to have this song in here, wouldn’t it?
“Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. And though the holes were rather small, they had to count them all. Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”.
5) Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz
This short opening line, is beautifully concise, but still gets a very strong air of nonsense across…
“Up on melancholy hill, there’s a plastic tree. Are you here with me?”
4) End of a Century – Blur
Blur aren’t really a very obvious contender in the category if nonsense lyrics, I agree, but the true absurdity of the opening line of this song often passes many people by…
“She says there’s ants in the carpets, dirty little monsters. Eating all the morsels, picking up the rubbish.”
3) Library Pictures – Arctic Monkeys
Many people remark on Alex Turner’s penchant for signing nonsense lyrics, but they seems even crazier when written down, so…
“Library pictures, of the quickening canoe, the first of its kind to get to the moon. Draw some ellipses to chase you round the room, through curly straws and metaphors and goo.”
2) Ballad of a Thin Man – Bob Dylan
This is one of my absolute favourite songs, and these lyrics can’t even justify and explanation…
“Now you see this one eyed midget, shouting the word “NOW”. And you say “For what reason?” and he says “How?”. And you say “What does this mean?” And he screams back “You’re a cow!” Give me some milk or else go home.”
1) I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Of course, who else could it be?! It would be a crime not to have I Am The Walrus in the number one spot. It truly is the best nonsense song of all time…
“Yellow mother custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye. Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess. Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down.”
“I am the eggman. They are the eggmen. I am the walrus! Goo goo g’joob!”