Lyric Riffs

Sep 23, 2014

I could not kill/The way you kill/I could not hate/I tried I failed/You turned me in/At least you tried/You side with them/Whom you despise

from Nevermind lyrics by Leonard Cohen

The subtle world influences crosses some borders, but the universal nature of the lyrics transcends all. It explores truth, lies and deception in ways that demand accountability. No matter how hard you try you can’t run from who you really are, and in the end it’ll either be your salvation or demise.


Sep 23, 2014

Wasn’t hard to love you/Didn’t have to try/Wasn’t hard to love you/Didn’t have to try/Held you for a little while/My Oh My Oh My

from My Oh My lyrics by Leonard Cohen

As soon as that twang hits you know what you’re in for, a sleepy yet dramatic exchange between a man and a woman. But the complexity of that relationship is what gives it depth. It shows how love can come in any form – that the brief exchanges, the ones that come and go, can be just as meaningful.


Sep 23, 2014

Did I ever leave you/Was I ever able/Are we still leaning/Across the old table

from Did I Ever Love You lyrics by Leonard Cohen

Like a boss Cohen’s not afraid to ask himself the tough questions. It’s a battle that can tell you a lot about yourself and in this case inspire a man to examine his own ability to love. His grizzled voice and the pain that radiates suggest that it’s taken its toll. At the very least though he tried.

Sep 23, 2014

The party’s over/But I’ve landed on my fee/I’ll be standing on this corner/Where there used to be a street

from A Street lyrics by Leonard Cohen

A slight pick up, but still very much moving at a slow and tempered pace – one that comes after a few stiff drinks and a whirlwind of thoughts. The blues-infused rhythm – accompanied by some subtle brass and a dusty organ – add a thick aroma of smoke. The streets are his home and this is his ode.

Sep 23, 2014

There’s other ways to answer/That certainly is true/Me, I’m blind with death and anger/And that’s no place for you/There’s a woman in the window/And a bed in Tinsel Town/I’ll write you when it’s over/Let me take this temple down

from Sampson in New Orleans lyrics by Leonard Cohen

Lost in New Orleans with nothing but faith, gut and instincts to guide him, there’s an undefinable air of tragedy and destruction – thanks to a band of weepy strings – that resonates from all angles. It gives off a somber, post apocalyptic feel that only a teddy bear like Cohen could pull off.

Sep 23, 2014

So I let my heart get frozen/To keep away the rot/My father said I’m chosen/My mother said I’m not/I listened to their story/Of the/Gypsies and the Jews/It was good, it wasn’t boring/It was almost like the blues

from Almost Like the Blues lyrics by Leonard Cohen

Thin slices of contradiction followed by unnerving pangs of guilt. The percussion follows dutifully as he strolls along. Once again the muses keep him and his misery company with shouts of testimony. Not quite the blues, no, but enough wretched heartache to bring it damn-near close.

Sep 23, 2014

It’s not because I’m old/It’s not what dying does/I always liked it slow/Slow is in my blood

from Slow lyrics by Leonard Cohen

Moving against the grain, and never in a hurry. The leaky, Booker T. style organ cradles him nicely giving him the backing he needs to explain exactly how all of this is about to go down. Add a sprig of gospel soul, some liquid riffing and a fresh shot of brass and enjoy it like smooth bourbon.


Sep 23, 2014

Filled up, spilled down, splitting seams, I’m better now/Ruptured spleen, plastered frown, toxic life, I’m better down

from Acid Reflex lyrics by Pity Sex

Garage take on the male-female duet thing goes into “acidic” self-abuse here, as they suffer through GERD and hope to alleviate the heartburn with “love,” “God,” “drugs,” and titular typos. The disease-y venting session feels honest, but not too exciting unless you can’t get enough garage rock; [LISTEN].

Sep 23, 2014

Who can offer an honest answer/With all these lies we’re living in?/Who can give me what I’m after/In this cold saturation?

from Go (Blank Sea) lyrics by Zola Jesus

“Go” is more original, “colder,” and gut-wrenching than the album’s previous single. This bombastically big cut, centered on yearning, anonymity, and a general sense of melancholy, does indeed “give better than it takes;” [LISTEN].

Sep 22, 2014

Smrt fasizmu, sloboda narodu (Death to fascism, freedom to the people)

from Death to Fascism lyrics by The Radio Dept.

This political speech sampling may strive to kill “fascism,” but over the course of a couple minutes, the clap-heavy funk-dance groove develops into a straight-up euphoria. Melodically, it feels more about the “freedom to the people” sentiment than the overthrowing totalitarian regimes.


What is a RIFF?

A RIFF is a bonsai-trimmed song review in 300 characters or less, plugging your favorite lyric. Create your own, vote others to the TOP - the lyric is your oyster.