Rock and roll rhetoric: Jesus He Knows Me

To say one thing and mean another. Irony is a stock-in-trade of both rock lyrics and rhetoric. Visually and lyrically, Genesis provides a great example.

Rock and roll rhetoric: Merry Xmas Everybody

Are you hanging up the stocking on your wall? Are you hoping that the snow will start to fall? Do you ride on down the hillside In a buggy you have made? When you land upon your head Then you’ve been slayed. Merry Xmas Everybody (Holder, Lea), Slade A raucous, joyous Christmas favourite and a […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Life In The Fast Lane

There were lines on the mirror, Lines on her face She pretended not to notice, She was caught up in the race. Life In The Fast Lane, (Walsh, Henley, Frey), Eagles That first couplet works so well because it takes a mental double-take to realise that the first set of lines are on and not in the mirror. […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Lions

Red sun going down, way over dirty town Starlings they’re sweeping around, crazy shoals Yes and a girl is there, high heeling out across the square The wind, it blows around in her hair and the flags upon the poles Lions (Knopfler), Dire Straits “High heeling out across the square”, not walking or striding in high […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Even the Losers

Well it was nearly summer, we sat on your roof Yeah we smoked cigarettes and we stared at the moon And I’d show you stars you never could see Babe, it couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me. Even the Losers (Petty), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers What a picture. We are there, […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Searching for a Heart

“They say love conquers all You can’t start it like a car You can’t stop it with a gun.” Searching for a Heart (Zevon), Warren Zevon What a great line. Everyone, since the Roman poet Virgil, knows that love conquers all, but no-one explains why … until Zevon states the obvious, timeless truth in his […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: If I Should Fall Behind

“We said we’d walk together baby come what may; that come the twilight, should we lose our way; if as we’re walkin’, a hand should slip free; I’ll wait for you and, should I fall behind, wait for me.” If I Should Fall Behind (Bruce Springsteen), Bruce Springsteen To hold the listener (or reader) in suspense, […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: How Does It Feel?

“Do you know, know, know what it’s like To be searchin’ in your own time? All your attempting, experimenting, all on the climb Do you know, know, know what it’s like To be searching and suddenly find All your illusion, all your confusion, all left behind?” How Does It Feel? (Holder, Lea), Slade With all […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

“Come up and see me, make me smile Or do what you want, run on wild. … There’s nothing left, all gone and run away” Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) (Steve Harley), Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel Steve Harley is hugely under-rated as a songwriter. Also as a performer: his sneering snarl […]

Rock and roll rhetoric: Sunday Bloody Sunday

  Sunday bloody Sunday Sunday bloody Sunday Sunday bloody Sunday Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2 Simple, but effective, even without the political resonances of the famous Bloody Sunday. The Greek term is diacope and it describes repeating a word with another word (or words) in between to add emphasis. Thus: Sunday bloody Sunday Burn baby burn (disco […]

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