Lyric Riffs

May 28, 2015

With perfect pitch I’m singing free my niggas/Polished and purposeful he’s producing pristine pictures/Pay me, gimme plenty, the trees begat keys/That’s paper, so hold the pennies/I’m pressed and like pests, I’m in every nook and cranny

from P's & Q's lyrics by Mick Jenkins

Taking a literary device to its limit, proving his worth as an up and coming writer. Much of it comes off as a stream of conscious flow, which is right in his wheelhouse — bugged out rhymes delivered with freewheeling conviction. The mellow beat adds a nice touch that compliments his grainy voice.

May 28, 2015

How to tell her thanks for the records she played?/Thanks for introducing us to Lana del Rey/Thanks for the stories and all the good times/Festival tales, Kilimanjaro climbs/Thanks for all the mornings, in the Lounge we’d arrive/And sweetly you’d tell us, ‘No swearing, we’re live!’

from Gone But Not F. Cotton lyrics by Coldplay

Between this and that Game of Thrones thing, Coldplay seem to have found their calling: tongue-in-cheek melodramatic comedy. Tthis time with an honest sentiment attached, too. It’s a wise move, as you can’t indict them for their (intentional) cheesiness. Regardless, it only works if you knew Cotton; [LISTEN].

May 28, 2015

There’s a thing about nature, when your heart is good people understand/So the little China doll smiled back at me, and she took my hand/China doll, China doll, China doll

from China Doll lyrics by Leon Thomas

A mildly racist song, but only because it was a product of the times. The theme is in fact jovial and curious, and not nearly as horrid as the title suggests. The soft melodies and soaring vocals along with the deep piano licks make for a nasty break beat worth at least a few dozen rotations.

May 28, 2015

All we need is a drummer/For people who only need a beat/I’m gonna add a little guitar/And make it easy to move your feet

from Dance to the Music lyrics by Sly and the Family Stone

It’s considered the birth of psych-soul, I could argue it’s pop-funk’s godfather. Either way, after that unforgettable scat intro, this dance jam lists all the necessary ingredients for an old-school block-party. There’s a reason pop culture gutted this track for all it’s worth; [LISTEN].

May 27, 2015

I just want to relive that feeling of overwhelming again/And again, and again is all I ask/I used to want a future perfect/Now all I want is past

from Everybody lyrics by The Good Life

A great plains carnival setting in which the only way out of the great collective angst is to hop off the ferris wheel and sedate it with another go, or accept Kasher’s invitation to channel some Crazy Horse fuzz fury and let the past bleed out once and for all. A howling, beautiful eight-year return.

May 27, 2015

Your friends tried to warn you about me, even your mama/But you said you’d deal with the consequence, even if it was karma/But how can I complain when you give me insane brain?/Like you graduated with honors, you probably hate that I’m honest/But, fuck it, I’m going all out/You should too, good things don’t last forever, I thought you knew

from 2Nite lyrics by Dr. Dre

Siphoning a Badu hook to fuel an unorthodox love ballad, of the wham, bam, thank you ma’am variety. The beat is on point with its snapping drum breaks, subtly placed samples and whimsical melodies. It’s the good Doctor checking in with his patients letting them know that Detox is well on its way.

May 26, 2015


from Undercover lyrics by The Vaccines

Wrapping up the album is a midtempo production experiment utilizing plenty of reversed guitar. At a minute and a half, it’s likable. Otherwise, not too much to write home about.

May 26, 2015

Would you blow me kisses/If I kept my distance?/Would you send a hurricane/As proof of your existence?

from Give Me a Sign lyrics by The Vaccines

Synth-pop with some subtlety is a rare thing indeed, but lo and behold: here it is. Young needs his love interest to “give [him] a sign” if she’s into it. It’s not a particularly new lyrical trope, but nonetheless this resists the genre’s typical ‘bathe it in a headache’s-worth of sugar’ approach.

May 26, 2015

If he was man enough/And if I thought you’d cared for/Just being comfortable/If you had asked around/And if you’d found me there/Would it bother you?/I told you what you wanna hear

from Maybe I Could Hold You lyrics by The Vaccines

The guilty-sentimental feelings of friends-with-benefits situations and dissolving relationships (or the magical combination of the two — hooking up with exes) are well known to Millenials. Previously, these themes were owned by the PBR&B crowd, but as rock stakes its claim, so do The Vaccines here.

May 26, 2015

Well, my mind’s on the rocks/Sandals and socks/Sentimentally sick/Drinking Coca-Cola in bed

from Radio Bikini lyrics by The Vaccines

After a few tracks that bummed with a lack of originality, this one takes classic summery surf pop and injects it with noise production techniques in a similar but more polished and true-to-the-original sense than King of the Beach-era Wavves. It’s silly, fun, good stuff.


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.