Sunday, 6 January 2013


I have an on-going and probably unresolvable argument with my brother as to whether lyrics can ever be considered as poetry. I have tried to demonstrate to him how a particular set of words are set to music because of the immediacy of the popular song and that, had Wordsworth had recourse to the medium, he would have done the same. But to no avail. However, I am pitching this as my best shot yet. Neil Hannon is a lyricist but he is also a poet. True, some of the metre is fluid because in the song you can overhang the line while the band plays on. But focus on the quality of the word choice and the imagery. Consider ‘Going Downhill Fast’ if you need a fine example.
At one point, in the 1990s, The Divine Comedy was a popular band. After a few hits they faded from the minds of many but continue to bring out albums, full of poignant observations on life. This little collection brings together all of Hannon’s writings so far. 

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