Although I’m sure the same could be said about poetry, I’m going to restrict my analysis to music because…well, I get it. And most pop music is poetry at the level I can understand, whereas good poetry starts to get entirely too literary for my simple mind. A lot of literature is too literary for my simple mind, let’s face it.
But I digress…(it’s one of my special skills)
The point is, the musicians are story tellers, and they tell their stories with an economy of words that novelists would do well to pay attention to. To wit, I’ve got an uber-short story I wrote based on my interpretation of the lyrics of the afore-mentioned Mr. Brightside.** (Please don’t bother sending me e-mails with alternative interpretations. I’m well aware I could be wrong, but it works for me, so leave well enough alone, mmm-kay?) Below that, you'll find the relevant portion of The Killers' lyrics. My story doesn't even cover every line of the song and is more than twice as long.
Now, I'm not a poet for a lot of reasons (unending suckitude being the primary), so I can't say that I'll ever adopt a free verse style of story telling, but I will certainly be thinking a lot about some of the great songs I hear and attempting to dissect what it is about certain lines that reverberate for all eternity. A fiction writer could die happy if even one of her sentences went down in immortality like some of the great song lyrics that run in our blood.***
MY STORY: (292 words, if you’re interested)
Her rustling movements were enough to wake me. She was getting dressed. I should have expected it, but I still couldn't help looking at the clock. Not quite midnight. Earlier than usual.
"I have to go," she whispered.
"Yeah," I grunted.
She didn't offer any further apology or explanation. We both knew where she was going. I sat up to watch her as she pulled on her boots. She sat on the edge of the bed, facing me with a soft smile.
"Thanks," she said, and kissed me.
I caught the back of her neck and stole another kiss before she could pull away.
She smiled again, and scraped her nails over my late-day beard growth. "Bye."
I said nothing, letting her go, as I always did. There was no point in protesting. She'd already called her cab, and she would stand on the street to wait for it. Enough time to smoke at least half a cigarette. The acrid smell of tobacco would cover the foreign scent and taste of me.
She had to get home to him. To reassure him with a smooth hand against his chest. He would kiss her, tasting only the brand they both smoked, and reach for the zipper on the back of her dress. She would let him, because she had to. I suppose it's possible that she even wanted him to.
She didn't leave him, after all. Just offered me a few hours and her body. I took it, like an addict, because I wanted her. I had brought into an affair with a promise of no commitment.
I never counted on the jealousy. I was too busy counting the ways I could get under her skirt. There was cold comfort in my victory.
THE KILLERS’ STORY: (117 words)
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss
Now I'm falling asleep
And she's calling a cab
While he's having a smoke
And she's taking a drag
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
But she's touching his-chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, letting me go
And I just can't look its killing me
And taking control
Jealousy, turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it's just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
'Cause I'm Mr Brightside
So, what do you think? Who told the story more effectively? What song lyrics have stayed with you?