Divine Inspiration? Ten Songs with Odd Subject Matter

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

Inflatable doll
Lover ungrateful
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.

 

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