Literary Lyrics: "The New York Song" and "Somewhere" and "Nocturne" by Emily Brown

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm not usually nearly as hipster as I pretend to be when it comes to music. I stick with what I liked in high school (pop-punk and angsty acoustic) mixed in with everything Ingrid Michaelson has ever recorded. But I have recently made one fantastic local find here in Provo, and her songs have been playing on repeat for the last several weeks. Rather than pick just one, I am giving you my three favorites. The video quality on the first two songs isn't fabulous, but you can visit Emily Brown's website to listen to recording quality songs. (Also, don't confuse her with "Miss Emily Brown," who is Canadian. This is "Emily Brown."

I love her lyrics because they are both heartfelt and clever, particularly the references to the Exodus in "The New York Song." I love her voice because it is strong and vintage-sounding. Do not hesitate to check out this artist. One of the biggest items on my to-do-before-I-move-from-Provo checklist is to see her perform live.

I watched you leave me, and you watched me stay
You must believe me in what I must say
That Christmas must end every year
And you always have to leave me standing here
And the sky cannot always be blue
But it helps, I suppose
Knowing when the wind blows
That somewhere the sun shines on you

Train stations are never forgiving
And when you leave, I have to go on living
But sometimes true love is open to fear
And you always have to leave me standing here
And the sky wasn't always this blue
But it helps me, believing,
When grey skies aren't leaving
That somewhere the sun shines on you

And now that I realize how blind were my own eyes
The sky was never this blue
And it helps to consider
When rain is this bitter
That somewhere the sun shines on you

The New York Song
If you have gone to New York City,
When are you coming home?
'Cause walking through the raining street
Oh I feel so alone

If you have gone across the ocean,
When does the boat return?
For I would walk or part the waves
Though they toss and pull and churn

And oh, I never told you
And no, I never will
'Cause singing about it
I'm starting to doubt it
But my heart is beating still

If you have run away from something,
Will you be running back?
For I would wander forty years
To step in all your tracks


And if I never say I love you
Then take this with you there
And if you miss me, think on this-
How I wish I was there.

I’m sick of watching cars on the road
And scanning the horizon for the sea
I’m sick of hearing I’m not meant for you
And that you’re no good for me

And I’m tired of knowing you’re not going to call
And I’m a fool for thinking that you will
I’ve always been the first of us to fall
If I’m in love, you’re standing still

So winding road, please keep your promise
And lead me out to where you’re not
I can’t keep you; let’s be honest
Drive me sleepless, get me lost

And as I get further, lights begin to fade
But I still breathe you in the salty air
No matter if I go or if I stay
You’re at my side- you’re everywhere

And you’re right here with me at the water’s edge
So close that I start thinking I’ll walk in
And leave you standing at the sandy ledge
Your soul still sighing in your skin

So waves, be lovers. Love, come closer.
Take my hands, dear. Taste my skin.
If we can’t stay here to keep each other,
Don’t feel sorry. We were fated to wear thin.

So when you look, at night, across the bay
The sails all sighing with the evening breeze
The stars forever promising to stay
Don’t hold your breath. Don’t think of me. 

Cuando yo muero, quiero tus manos en mis ojos
Porque te espero. Quiero tus manos en mis ojos
Cuando yo muero, quiero tus manos en mis ojos
Porque te espero. Quiero tus manos en mis ojos
Cuando yo muero, Cuando yo muero
Cuando yo muero, Quiero tus manos en mis ojos. 

(Last lines derived from Pablo Neruda’s “Soneto de La Noche”)

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