Lies and deceit

A few months back, I asked someone a question. He answered, I knew he was lying. I told him. He maintained he wasn’t. So I dropped it as I did not have evidence of the crime at the time.

Well, I had to wait a long time for it, but after months of sneaky and discreet investigation – no one can know I’m a vindictive bitch who doesn’t handle being wrong too well – I have finally obtained confirmation of the lying last week.

My victory – I knew it, I was right! – is satisfying despite the anger the offense has caused. I’m not gonna say I wasn’t annoyed, but once I complained to my housemate for a good few hours, I started thinking about all the times I have lied to that liar, and I guess it put things in perspective – my lies were OK though, he’ll never find out, I, for one, cover my tracks.

And anyway, every day, we are surrounded by lies that we bloody well know are not the truth. We all know you did not read the terms and conditions – ever. We all know politicians’ programs will not be put in practice once elected, they’ll be guidelines at best. We all know Patrick is not “just tired these days” but full on depressed.

I don’t believe lying is as bad as we’re told when we’re little. I’m not just talking about the little white lies that we pepper every conversation with here, I think a lie can be actually straight up fun. You know, for when you get bored, or when you tell a story, a good lie can go a long way; that’s how this good friend of mine turned the reporting of a boring uneventful summer into a 4 hour epic tale – based on the truth but seasoned with the right amount of hyperbole to make it entertaining for us.

So, I have gathered some of my favourite “storytelling” songs for you. Some of the stories in those are charmingly unbelievable and impossible – just like fun lies should be. Here they are (in no particular order) for you to listen to, they’ll make a great musical background while you think of all the lies you felt bad for telling and probably shouldn’t.

Krongu Green Slime – Jeffrey Lewis (A Turn In The Dream-Songs, 2011)

Jeffrey tells us about a green slime – and only green – manufacturer that had pretty much a monopoly in the land before time. I suppose they might have made it in the land after time had they started producing other colours; people like choice these days. If, like me, you have a taste for folksy storytelling song-writers, Jeffrey is probably one for you.

Steak For Chicken – The Moldy Peaches (The Moldy Peaches, 2001)

A lot is happening in this song. Adam Green and Kimya Dawson sing together and at the same time but not the same lines. They both sing some more or less crazy stories, all kind of sad. Adam’s set of lyrics are a tad bit cruder than Kimya’s, which are more on the cute side, but sung together it’s just cool. It’s a happy – and sad when you listen a bit more closely to what they’re saying – mess.

Grand Hotel – Regina Spektor (Remember Us To Life, 2016)

Some funky crap is going on in the Grand Hotel. It was built on a ground were devils used to come to do their dark rituals with fair maiden. Now, they mostly come out of habits, dance all night, and enjoy the classy maître D and valets, while they hide their true identities under disguises. The place seems cosy. Regina has a fertile imagination, so go check her out if you want more stories.

Ice Reign – Princess Chelsea (Lil’ Golden Book, 2011)

Being royalty isn’t easy, you know with the mean subjects and the wars and battles and all. That’s what Princess Chelsea has to deal with. And she’s gonna deal with it Queen of Heart style. So watch your head. The New Zealand musician has a knack for those weird slightly nonsensical stories and instrumentation that sound like Wednesday Addams decided to try her hand at music.

The Moon Song – Scarlett Johansson, Joaquin Phoenix (The Moon Song (Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture Her), 2014)

Taken from Spike Jonze’s film Her – the song is by Karen O, so you know it’s gonna be good -, this song presents an endearing love story on the moon. This version is the one appearing in the film. With the ukulele and Scarlett’s breathy vocals, it creates a dreamy and comfortable mood.

Sputnik & Laika – 7 Dollar Taxi (Well It’s About Time, 2011)

For those of you not familiar with the hairy Russian cosmonaut, Laika was a dog that was sent to space by the Soviet government – as Wikipedia puts it a “Soviet space dog” – in 1957 in a satellite called Sputnik 2; she was the first one to make it into orbit around the earth. She was the canine Yuri Gagarin. This song is about the love story between the animal and the machine. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert here, but I’m pretty sure dogs don’t fall in love with spacecrafts. The actual story (as it was told in my Russian class) is even grimmer than the song. Laika died quickly once in space, apparently, over-heating of the ship. She would have not made it back to earth anyway, the return way had not been perfected yet.

Sea Oh See – Rachel Sermanni (Under Mountains, 2012)

Sick with her life, Rachel decided to go live as a pirate. So she went in the tub, drained it, and boom, with the bath water she was gone and travelled down the pipes all the way to the sea – cheaper than the train I suppose.

Featured Artist – Meilyr Jones (2013, 2016)

Here, young Meilyr imagines himself as an aging musical cheese-maker struggling with his image. The lyrics are clever and funny, the moment where he goes for the cheesy and cliché “everything is gonna be alright Baby” mimicking a kitschy crooner is the highlight of the song for me. That plus the horns, what else could I ask for?

The Laughing Gnome – David Bowie (David Bowie, 1967)

If you don’t know it yet, I have to tell you it’s a novelty song, so you know it’s gonna sound weird. In short, David went for a walk and met a gnome, so he got really inspired to write some gnome puns and thought the voice of the gnome should be part of the song too. It’s good fun.

Two Headed Boy – Neutral Milk Hotel (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, 1998)

It’s hard to say what this one is about. I’d sum it up as sex and death – I must admit I hear and see sex and death everywhere -: there is a two headed boy – as the title would suggest -, he seems to be travelling in space in some sort of glass jar, his eyes are not moving anymore and he’s got a lover who is choking; what else could it be about? Whatever it is, I find those lyrics beautiful and intriguing, and this is what I love Neutral Milk Hotel for. And you get The Fool as a bonus in this playlist, Two Headed Boy doesn’t feel complete without it.

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