bernard sumner?!

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does anybody like this lame singer? as he can not sing in tune!

xzanfar, Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:27 (two months ago) Permalink

Best lyricist of the rock era, with winsome voice an added bonus.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:27 (two months ago) Permalink

are you kidding he messed up the work he did with 808 state and chemical brothers and even with electronic but got away with it!

xzanfar, Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Best lyricist of the rock era?! I mean his lyrics have an undeniable charm, but only in the same way that the poems of William McGonagall have an undeniable charm...

"The sea was very rough, it made me feel sick, but I like that kind of stuff, it beats arithmetic" - genius of a sort I guess

Zelda Zonk, Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:51 (two months ago) Permalink

but got away with it!

All his life.

Best lyricist of the rock era?!

Alfred and I are simpatico on this point.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:52 (two months ago) Permalink

are you kidding he messed up the work he did with 808 state and chemical brothers and even with electronic but got away with it!

― xzanfar,

adore those tracks. I played that 808 State album last week.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 30 December 2018 22:57 (two months ago) Permalink

Hi Peter!

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 30 December 2018 23:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Best lyricist of the rock era

this is the end boss of challops

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 20:56 (two months ago) Permalink

Steve Albini once said of Big Black, "Lyrics seemed like a necessity, so we had some," but no band has lived by that maxim the way New Order has.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:18 (two months ago) Permalink

And yet he cane up with some of the most memorable lines of the last 25 years. I can’t think of anything that captures the elation of budding love as Temptation

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:22 (two months ago) Permalink

the nothingness of the lyrics is what makes them so enjoyable. so thin and lightweight, and the insubstantiality can still cause pain bcos insubstantial.

Fizzles, Monday, 31 December 2018 21:28 (two months ago) Permalink

Out Of Control is a 10/10 vocal performance

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:49 (two months ago) Permalink

xp yes, that is true - there's pretty much nothing in them, so they make themselves available for projection. given the real excellence of the music most of the time, this can make for a super neat effect. still, they are bad.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:50 (two months ago) Permalink

I understand why it bothers you, but the lack of affect combined with the pulse of the music is beguiling as hell, enough for me to overlook the howlers.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:53 (two months ago) Permalink

Also: "Regret," most of the songs on Technique, "Love Vigilantes," "Age of Consent," "Procession" boast good lyrics.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 21:53 (two months ago) Permalink

"Regret"?!?!?

brimstead, Monday, 31 December 2018 21:57 (two months ago) Permalink

Sure:

"Just wait til tomorrow
I guess that's what they all say
Just before they fall apart"

And:

"Maybe I've forgotten the name and the address
Of everyone I've ever known it's nothing I regret"

booming lyrics

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:01 (two months ago) Permalink

I love "Regret" and will burst into tears while listening to it -- it has the exact effect I'm talking about -- the lyrics are quite bad, but they're practically void, so you can just sort of pretend they're part of the music, which is sublime.

I wouldn't even trust you
I've not that much to give
We're dealing in the limits,
And we don't know who with
You may think that I'm out of hand
That I'm naive, I'll understand
On this occasion, it's not true
look at me, I'm not you

this is laughably poor writing by the most generous standard imaginable

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:01 (two months ago) Permalink

(also that "wait til tomorrow" is like very poor high school band lyrics imo but I guess ym...does v!)

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:02 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, then at best you can say that you can't separate what you consider poor writing from the song's sublimity, which means that better lyrics may cause it to collapse.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:04 (two months ago) Permalink

With Joanie on this one. Never heard anyone praise his lyrics prior to this thread tbh

Οὖτις, Monday, 31 December 2018 22:04 (two months ago) Permalink

btw I obv posted a challop yesterday, but I had to respond to OP.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:06 (two months ago) Permalink

and, yes, you'll find scattered praise for his lyrics in the ten thousand NO threads.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:06 (two months ago) Permalink

also that "wait til tomorrow" is like very poor high school band lyrics imo but I guess ym...does v!

Quite.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 31 December 2018 22:07 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, then at best you can say that you can't separate what you consider poor writing from the song's sublimity, which means that better lyrics may cause it to collapse.

I would agree with this, and think it's really what makes new order unique.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:08 (two months ago) Permalink

The problem with Sumner's lyrics is that the few good ones are that much more frustrating for being surrounded by so much dross. I mean, "Pretending not to see his gun/I said 'Let's go out and have some fun'" is a fucking amazing couplet! But the whole rest of that lyric is just laughably bad and tossed-off.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:11 (two months ago) Permalink

That track has one of my favorite pseudo-profundities: "A view without a room/unveils the truth so soon."

Makes you think.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:13 (two months ago) Permalink

"True Faith" has some personal profundities but I'm the last person to judge the 'good-ness' of lyrics tbh

brimstead, Monday, 31 December 2018 22:27 (two months ago) Permalink

When Bernard Sumner said "Love is found in the east and the west/but when love is at home, it's the best," I FELT that.

J. Sam, Monday, 31 December 2018 22:33 (two months ago) Permalink


Well, then at best you can say that you can't separate what you consider poor writing from the song's sublimity, which means that better lyrics may cause it to collapse.

I would agree with this, and think it's really what makes new order unique.

I love NO as much as the next guy, but that feels like some serious rationalizing there. Unless you're Andrew WK or Icona Pop, your song would probably be improved by better lyrics.

"Regret" starts out promising, then he hits the chorus and that first couplet just saps all his lyrical momentum: "I would like a place I could call my own / Have a conversation on the telephone."
I do imagine him writing his lyrics in the spirit of that (awesome) Steve Albini quote, like "yep, that'll do"

enochroot, Monday, 31 December 2018 22:35 (two months ago) Permalink

it really is something a friend and I used to discuss all night in the mid-eighties though - there's a flatness of aspect in sumner's lyrics that seems so designed. like he's so genuinely uninterested in writing well that it becomes part of the aesthetic

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:45 (two months ago) Permalink

the great thing is that all of them write lyrics that are as flat and pat as Barney's, so "fuck it, let him do the work" was as good an approach as any

sans lep (sic), Monday, 31 December 2018 22:57 (two months ago) Permalink

At the risk of me being Mr. Fucking Obvious, we do have to remember that when Sumner started performing with this group of people in general, he wasn't providing the words. This is as close to an accidental role as can be imagined.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 31 December 2018 23:56 (two months ago) Permalink

And yet I agree that there is something guileless and sincere in the crapness of the lyrics which draws you into sharing the emotion - NO make me cry quite often in ways that bands with "better" lyrics don't. It's like talking it over with a friend who you know wants to empathise but can't express it in poetic ways, rather that standing in awe of a great artist.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 00:45 (two months ago) Permalink

Tbh this is the kind of lyrical gormlessness Noel Gallagher got a lot of grief for; way worse than Sumner at any point

Master of Treacle, Tuesday, 1 January 2019 01:20 (two months ago) Permalink

hm could it have anything to do with LG’s evident stupidity and immense, overweening ego, I wonder

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 01:51 (two months ago) Permalink

LG /= NG

sans lep (sic), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 04:49 (two months ago) Permalink

In high school listening to Sumner sing, "Oh, you've got green eyes/Oh, you've got blue eyes" after a couple years appreciating Natalie Merchant's pearly profundities was a revelation. I needed to hear the two extremes to find an alternative, I guess.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 05:39 (two months ago) Permalink

"Regret" starts out promising, then he hits the chorus and that first couplet just saps all his lyrical momentum:

but you love "Regret" anyway, no?

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 05:40 (two months ago) Permalink

xxp LG delivered the lines tho

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 06:39 (two months ago) Permalink

LG’s stupidity meant he was able to sell NG’s lines convincingly; he couldn’t tell they were terrible, just that they had the cadence of real lyrics

sans lep (sic), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 07:01 (two months ago) Permalink

"Regret" starts out promising, then he hits the chorus and that first couplet just saps all his lyrical momentum: "I would like a place I could call my own / Have a conversation on the telephone."

Interesting. I hated "Regret" - it was top 10 in Canada and it sucked all the air out of the room every time it came on the radio in 1993. I never thought of lyrics as the problem, though. I actually find that couplet memorable and somewhat evocative in and of itself. (I generally agree with xzanfar about Sumner's voice.) For clunky lyrics in a song I can actually enjoy, I always think of "And I'm not the kind that likes to tell you/Just what you want me to/You're not the kind that needs to tell me/About the birds and the bees" from "Age of Consent". (I like the tune and backing musical track despite the lyrics. I don't think this can be rationalized into some argument for why the bad lyrics are essential to the composition.)

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 15:54 (two months ago) Permalink

Maybe it’s because Barney expresses some quite complex emotions despite the plodding word choices. e.g. “Temptation”, “Your Silent Face”, “True Faith”, “Run”, even “Waiting for the Sirens’ Call”. Or maybe the lyrics shed their banality when you’re singing along to such great music.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 20:14 (two months ago) Permalink

Here comes love
It's like honey
You can't buy it with money

mh, Tuesday, 1 January 2019 20:32 (two months ago) Permalink

"As it Was When It Was" has great lyrics. Although I must confess when I first heard the line "I always thought....we'd get along like a house on fire" it bothered me because it seemed like the kind of banal thing that someone would drop into everyday conversation as opposed to a more inventive phrase that a genuine "writer" or "poet" might use. After a few listens however, I had a complete volte face as I saw its normality as a sign of strength - Bernard was "everybloke" while simultaneously being part of an amazing band with a fantastic if tragic legacy, signed to a fascinating and absurd record label!

There is a thread here somewhere, I will try to search & link to it, where I posed the question "why so we expect more of indie lyricists than those of other musical genres?" and Nick Dastoor responded with "because they are our fwiends" and I think he may have hit the nail on the head...there is that familiarity and closeness - many posters are or have been in bands and I guess there is maybe occasionally that completely understandable twinge of jealousy when you're sitting writing astounding rhyming couplets in your student garret and lugging your equipment up and down fire escapes of toilet venues to gross indifference only to see *this guy* succeed with *that*...until perhaps you realise that *that* was possibly what made him so good in the first case.

Grandpont Genie, Tuesday, 1 January 2019 20:49 (two months ago) Permalink

How could I fail to give her
When she cried such a lot?

Mr. Snrub, Tuesday, 1 January 2019 21:12 (two months ago) Permalink

when a seemingly random shitpost becomes one of the best threads going

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 21:52 (two months ago) Permalink

So don't tell me about politics
Or all the problems of our economics
When you can't look after what you can't own
You scream and shout all day long

The awkwardness of his lyrics is what I love about them.

Ned Trifle X, Tuesday, 1 January 2019 22:10 (two months ago) Permalink

When you can't look after what you can't own

^^ see this is the kind of accidental truth over which Sumner occasionally stumles

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:06 (two months ago) Permalink

A lot of posts are basically saying the same thing, that despite his lyrics being objectively ‘bad’ - clunky reaching for rhymes, a reliance on cliches and banalities, ill thought out analogies (I mean yes you can buy honey with money) - they are actually ‘good’ because they demonstrate a guileless authenticity, or maybe a kind of ‘fuck-off’ to a rockist idea of what lyrics should be. And that among the dross he occasionally comes up with a good line (which he does; he’s written hundreds of lyrics by now so it’d be surprising if he literally never came up with something insightful or a good image).

This line of reasoning only really works because of the immense goodwill that already exists towards Sumner and NO in general - you can only like the lyrics because you already like the band, it’s not like you’re ever going to be turned onto the band because of Sumner’s lyrics. And we’re not going to use this same argument for other bands with notoriously pisspoor lyrics, like Oasis for example, because it's hard to work up any sympathy for someone like Noel Gallagher.

Zelda Zonk, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:51 (two months ago) Permalink

Sumner has also admitted himself that when NO started he tried writing like Ian Curtis whom he saw as a brilliant lyricist and found he was crap at it and so stopped trying and wrote what the hell he liked. So that explains at least in part why Movement is such a flawed album in many ways and Summer's vocals are so understated whereas on the stronger follow-up Power, Corruption & Lies he sounds a lot more self-assured as he's delivering lines like "Everybody makes mistakes...Even me" and "You caught me at a bad time so why don't you piss off".

Grandpont Genie, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:59 (two months ago) Permalink

Power Corruption & Lies for me is their best album, and I think it's because it's pretty much at that halfway point between Sumner trying to be Curtis and him finding a new way forward. Lyrically, Curtis is still a presence in a song like Your Silent Face (which I think has great lyrics)

Zelda Zonk, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 01:06 (two months ago) Permalink

yes, agree with all of that

Dan S, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 01:15 (two months ago) Permalink

PC&L also has some of Sumner's worst lyrics, in "Leave Me Alone" for instance they don't seem to be written by a native speaker of English ("we live always underground", "take me away everyone when it hurts thou"), and yet the sentiment in "you get these words wrong / every time" and "for these last few days / leave me alone" resonates nonetheless.

His best lyrics are on Technique - those to "Run" and "Dream Attack" are functional and just poetic enough.

dorsalstop, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 01:31 (two months ago) Permalink

I love everything about Leave Me Alone

Your Silent Face is my favorite ever New Order song, eclipsing even Temptation

Dan S, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 01:47 (two months ago) Permalink

I've frequently seen NO described as "greater than the sum of their parts" (that might include this forum somewhere), which seems to me like a polite way of saying "the words are so silly, why doth i love them so". I generally enjoy every bit of NO. The only truly cringe set of lyrics for me is "Jetstream" ("J-E-T / You are so good for me!"). "Ceremony" is my fave and I'm sure many others'... is this the only instance of an NO song with Ian Curtis lyrics? As different as they are as lyricists, the song fits fine in any mix of NO songs (they've sure issued enough of those).

maffew12, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 02:00 (two months ago) Permalink

co-sign for Your Silent Face - prob my favourite lyric too, "We asked you what you'd seen / You said you didn't care," so boring on the page, so magical and eerie in the song. I've often thought it was about Ian, which I guess is a crashingly obvious surmise to make.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 02:28 (two months ago) Permalink

that slightly out of tune melodica always pierces my heart

Dan S, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 03:12 (two months ago) Permalink

I think part of the reason I love Your Silent Face so much was that, in addition to the perfection of the song, their performance of it at Zellerbach in Berkeley in the 80s with Sumner playing the melodica was one of the most amazing musical experiences of my life

Dan S, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 03:13 (two months ago) Permalink

I feel so low, I feel so humble

Sometimes in life we take a tumble

I Occasionally Post on ILX (2x5), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 03:57 (two months ago) Permalink

You can almost see him flicking through the rhyming dictionary...

Zelda Zonk, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 04:17 (two months ago) Permalink

If I had to pick a least favourite NO track it would probably be 60 MPH - why sixty exactly? It's almost as though he originally wrote it as eighty or ninety and then had second thoughts or was warned - that's breaking the speed limit, can't condone that! - much as Stephen Hague convinced him to alter the "they're all taking drugs with me" line in True Faith.

Don't much like the "have the devil round for tea" bit either. Hooky's good on that one though, just about makes it bearable. Of course the video's very bearable (arf!)

Grandpont Genie, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 07:23 (two months ago) Permalink

"Ceremony" is my fave and I'm sure many others'... is this the only instance of an NO song with Ian Curtis lyrics?

maffew12: that and "In a Lonely Place", its b-side which they have played live occasionally.

Grandpont Genie, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 09:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Zelda Zonk OTM:


This line of reasoning only really works because of the immense goodwill that already exists towards Sumner and NO in general - you can only like the lyrics because you already like the band, it’s not like you’re ever going to be turned onto the band because of Sumner’s lyrics. And we’re not going to use this same argument for other bands with notoriously pisspoor lyrics, like Oasis for example, because it's hard to work up any sympathy for someone like Noel Gallagher.

Also, there's a whole thread of examples in this:


Or maybe the lyrics shed their banality when you’re singing along to such great music.
― an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK),

enochroot, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 13:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Sumner has also admitted himself that when NO started he tried writing like Ian Curtis whom he saw as a brilliant lyricist and found he was crap at it and so stopped trying and wrote what the hell he liked. So that explains at least in part why Movement is such a flawed album in many ways and Summer's vocals are so understated whereas on the stronger follow-up Power, Corruption & Lies he sounds a lot more self-assured as he's delivering lines like "Everybody makes mistakes...Even me" and "You caught me at a bad time so why don't you piss off".

― Grandpont Genie

We should note that the rest of the band contributed to the lyrics early in NO's career.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 13:22 (two months ago) Permalink

"Everyone Everywhere" works well for me as a portrait of a failed marriage. On paper, the lyrics aren't fantastic, but Sumner really sells them.

Vast Halo, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 21:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Great thread.
Yeah it's a bit of a chicken/egg conundrum. Perhaps, we're just being lenient with Barney's lyrics because of the music and everything this band represents. OTOH I love the mystery and elation that emerge from the combination of certain words and music.
I mean "Nothing in this world can touch the music that I heard when I woke up this morning" doesn't really shine on paper, but the feeling expressed is just so vivid.
As noted upthread, Republic is perhaps his peak as a lyricist. "Special" is great, no caveats needed.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Thursday, 3 January 2019 15:26 (two months ago) Permalink

It isn't what it used to be
I wake up every night
on the stairs
waiting for the dawn to come

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 January 2019 15:42 (two months ago) Permalink

anyone ever try New Order at karaoke?

maffew12, Thursday, 3 January 2019 16:57 (two months ago) Permalink

I find this whole thread bizarre tbh, I can count the number of memorable Sumner lines (ie, lyrics that actually registered with me/that I can recall off the top of my head) on one hand - the lyrics always felt like an inconsequential afterthought of no real significance. Absolutely baffled that anyone would rate them at all, much less as the "greatest of the rock era" ahead of idk Dylan, M.E. Smith, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, or so many others

Οὖτις, Thursday, 3 January 2019 17:06 (two months ago) Permalink

You saw my follow-up, right?

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 January 2019 17:08 (two months ago) Permalink

there were several afaict but I am not convinced!

but then Joy Division/NO were never huge totems for me, idk. I like them both fine and get their importance/impact but never had a massive personal investment in them as others appear to.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 3 January 2019 17:15 (two months ago) Permalink

his cousin gordon is alot better!

xzanfar, Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:12 (two months ago) Permalink

^^^ a little black spot on the thread today

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:14 (two months ago) Permalink

unique in his own write

maffew12, Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:18 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't know
If we could get lost in a city this size if we wanted to
And I don't know
If I could survive without seeing you

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:18 (two months ago) Permalink

^^ from "Some Distant Memory," a song I adore.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:18 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm not cruel
And you're not evil
And we're not like
All those stupid people
Who can't decide
Which book to read
Unless the paper
Sows the seed

-"Run Wild". for my ilx homies

maffew12, Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:33 (two months ago) Permalink

ok that's a silly lyric and the song is oddly Christian (what's with that?) and very basic in it's instrumentation... but damned if doesn't make me weep.

maffew12, Thursday, 3 January 2019 18:35 (two months ago) Permalink

we are to each other
like sister and brother

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 6 January 2019 14:28 (two months ago) Permalink


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