Not for everyone the boys meets girl theme so many lyrics concentrate on. For some, inspiration, even in a small part, can come from the most unlikely places. Here are ten to get you started.
Ween – Spinal Meningitis
In fairness, a fair few Ween tracks are unconventional, so maybe this is a bit of a cheat. Metaphors? No, it really is about a little girl suffering with a terrible condition.
Nizlopi – JCB Song
Gentle folk pop ditties on the rolling countryside are one thing, Nizlopi’s ode to J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited’s famed diggers.
The Beatles – Taxman
For the wealthiest musicians of all-time, this isn’t an unusual subject at all. Indeed, there can be little else they thought about. For everyone else, it’s the track they play in the background every Budget. Technically, Ted Heath is an even odder subject for a song.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River
John Fogerty and co singing about their beloved swamps? The notorious Green River serial killer? No, a lime-flavoured drink from John’s youth.
Debbie Dextox – Duvet Day
There have been many artists over the years who written songs in bed – Freddie Mercury; Paul McCartney etc – but fewer who have go on to make it also the inspiration. Duvet Day is produced by legendary producer, Stuart Epps (Elton John)
Michael Sembello – Maniac
Dancing like a maniac, obviously, right? Actually, no, this time it really is about a serial killer, the track originally being earmarked to accompany Bill Lustig’s 1980 slasher, Maniac, starring Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro. The record label intervened.
Roxy Music – In Every Dream Home, a Heartache
From their second album, For Your Pleasure, Bry and the boys released one of their most affecting songs. Of course, the lyrics clarify the meaning
I blew up your body
But you blew my mind
Killdozer – Knuckles the Dog (Who Helps People)
Nothing unusual about songs concerning beloved pets but Killdozer’s song about Knuckles has a more in-depth story than most. Dog destined for the glue factory after his racing days are over is adopted by a wheelchair-using child. Knuckles sacrifices himself by literally taking a bullet for his disabled owner. It’s a very sad tale indeed.
Divine Comedy – National Express
Naming specific companies is generally a sign for the artist requesting freebies, which could be the case but let’s agree that it’s a song celebrating all companies offering coach-based vacations
Cream – White Room
In a white room
With black curtains
Near the station
So much imagery it’s difficult to know where to start. Is the white room our canvas of a mind? Are the curtains the spectre of depression? Is the station the ever-present threat of consumerism, life upheaval and eugenics? No, it was a white room lived in by the song’s lyricist, Pete Brown.