Today, I begin a new list. This list will eventually have a catchy name but for now I'm calling it the
Top 10 Songs With One Particularly Amazing Line That Allows the Song To Rise Above Most Other Songs and Drives the Song Home, Hurtling and Trundling Like a Massive Swirly Wind in a Roaring Thunderstorm (in Reverse Chronological Order) List
Yes I know I misused "trundling."
Today, the newest song on the list:
1. LDN - Lily Allen (2006)
This song, besides being astoundingly catchy and perfectly sung, contains a line that blew me away the first time I noticed it. It was on my 5th or 6th listen that the line finally registered with me. Before that, I was drawn to the song's flawless hook and breezy chorus.
What is this piece of juicy lyrical brilliance?
Be patient. First let me tell you that Lily (also my cat's name) is singing about her travels through London (the "LDN" of the title):
Riding through the city on my bike all dayNormally, this would be enough for me: a perfect sort-of-rhyme (license/priceless); a perfect real rhyme (dapper/flapper); a funny but poetic realization (pimp/crack whore); and then she brings it home with that simple yet powerful couplet about London.
Cause the filth took away my license
It doesn't get me down and I feel OK
Cause the sights that I'm seeing are priceless
Everything seems to look as it should
But I wonder what goes on behind doors
A fella looking dapper, but he's sitting with a slapper
Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore
You might laugh you might frown
Walkin' round London town
Then we hear a catchy chorus that sticks in your gullet like mashed sweet potatoes in November in the rain.
And then, after the chorus, there's this:
There was a little old lady, who was walking down the road
She was struggling with bags from Tesco
There were people from the city having lunch in the park
I believe that it's called al fresco
Did you see it? Did you see the line that inspired this list?
I believe that it's called al fresco.Let's ignore the great rhyme (Tesco/fresco) and focus on what I've helpfully put in bold face, in its own white space. To quote the title of my list, this one line is particularly amazing because:
- She believes that it's called al fresco. Lily Allen is 21, probably even younger when she wrote this song. She's still learning about the world, still figuring it out. I believe that she really was only about 80% sure that it was called "al fresco" and thus said "believe." I believe that she did not put the "believe" in there to get two more syllables in to help the beat. No, she had a better reason, a higher purpose.
- Remember that London town makes you laugh, makes you frown. Well, after frowning at the realization that the dapper fellow was a pimp (a pimp in the occupational, not reputational, sense of the word), we now laugh at the joyful thought of people having lunch in the park.
- The way she says "that" makes it, for a brief moment, my favorite word of all time (eventually supplanted by "fresco").
- Finally, I like this line because it is so unexpected and unusual yet perfectly executed and exquisitely sung (the British accent helps.) Yes, sometimes I just like things.