“Blue songs are like tattoos. You know I’ve been to sea before. Crown and anchor me, or let me sail away.”
Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” was always in the rotation at home, the song and album was one of my parents’ favorites. The lyrics have grown with me, as I’ve learned to see their intent more through fresh eyes year after year.
Reading the lyric sheet of an album I admire, like Blue, separated from the music, allows me to appreciate the creativity it takes to turn those words into a song. As a songwriter, lyrics are the foundation. So much time can be spent finding that perfect word or phrase. Or those words may just tumble out from somewhere deep in my subconscious.
The first edition of this new journal, Lyrics as Poetry, is a space where songwriters’ lyrics can be appreciated on their own aesthetic merit in print (and free from a hasty Google search to a cluttered lyrics web page). The forty-two featured artists are an eclectic set, loosely organized around the theme of space: openness and nature’s expanse, emotional resonance or physical distance (cosmic, too!). Alone, as art on the page, they’re lyrics as poetry.
The songwriters, who’ve all agreed to reprint their lyrics here, are joined by ten writers who’ve contributed original, personal entries spotlighting songs whose lyrics have resonated with them. I hope Lyrics as Poetry encourages you to listen to these artists with a new appreciation and perspective (all of the songs are recorded works), and hopefully discover a new favorite.
Thanks for reading.
— Sara Noelle