A note regarding Behind the Hoots: Behind the Hoots is a new monthly post series that gives us owls a chance to showcase our favourite lyrics released during the month of focus. Inspired by a year-end list published by CBC Music, we wish to give due attention to the words behind some standout songs. Often overshadowed by a catchy hook or fun beat, lets remember the transformative nature that lyrics possess.
Behind the Hoots is a collaborative project by our writers and guest contributors. If you would like to contribute to a future post, you can reach us here.
“Cock Rock” – So Young (Lyrics by Paterson Hodgson)
Are you bummed out cause being a girl is kind of shitty? Are you pissed off at your boring conservative city? Where all the boys run around with their guitars and everyone looks at them like fucking stars.
The biting honesty that lies in the words of “Cock Rock” cannot be ignored. Though this honesty may be slightly concealed behind the song’s cheeky title or So Young’s quick and catchy delivery, Paterson Hodgson, as heard through her snarl, is not messing around when she draws attention to sexism in the music industry. The repetition of the verse’s initial questions throughout “Cock Rock” allows them to become meditative. With every reiteration, the popularity of the phrase “women in music” lessens and a young female picks up an instrument without fear and self-doubt.
To all the mansplaining sound guys, guitar techs, and industry reps, this “fuck off” is for you.
– Laura Stanley
“The Way We Run” – Beams (Lyrics by Anna Mernieks and Beams)
I am sorry if my silence made you feel like you couldn’t talk.
There’s a lot going on musically in the latest release from Beams, but the lyrics are something to pay attention to. The lyrics seem to speak of an introvert who wants someone else to pay more attention, but is unable to communicate. After lyrics about wondering when this person will “sit with me, longer than she” and outright saying she sometimes doesn’t have a whole lot to say, the quoted lyrics hits like a bullet—any introvert can completely understand this sentiment. It gains extra poignancy with the way its phrased; there’s a break after the word “silence,” almost fooling the listener into thinking the thought could be left unfinished.
“The Park Avenue Sobriety Test” – Joel Plaskett (Lyrics by Joel Plaskett)
It’s the kid on the street, he’s having a ball, and you’re watching his feet, because he’s kicking a ball! He don’t need his phone, and he don’t need the mall, and a tear rolls down your cheek.
Joel Plaskett cleverly uses mundane images on an uppity tongue-in-cheek track, tracing a cynical finger over the mediocrity of everyday life. The song is a list of banal moments that describe living in an urban environment, like your landlord “driving a Hummer”, or a guy cashing a cheque. The verses of the song seem to reflect the woes of an aging artist who’s navigating important issues like sobriety and feelings of loneliness; the image of a “kid kicking a ball” evokes a sense of nostalgia for simpler days. Plaskett’s seemingly ordinary lyrics are in fact poignant and sobering.
– Elysse Cloma
“Backwoods” – ACAB Rocky (Lyrics by Sam Wells)
You blew through like a chemical in bed. Ripping off parts of flesh, leaving others caked in spit.
ACAB Rocky’s newest EP, dropped into my lap this January of 2015, features careful lyrical planning. The excellence is at its best on deep cut “Backwoods,” a dark stoner stomper of a track that explores chill tones by way of the macabre. The opening lyric holds nothing back: “You blew through / Like a chemical in bed / Ripping off parts of flesh / Leaving others caked in spit.” Now, that’s a grim image — a stately, T.S. Eliot kind of sincerity. Such a rich simile is rarely seen scrubbing between an intro and a chorus. Pair it with a strutting, fuzzy guitar, and you’ve got gold. Get ready to watch “Backwoods” drop, along with the rest of the Truce EP, this coming Monday.
– Jack Derricourt
“Gen Y” – Dead Beat Poet Society (Lyrics by Kay Moon and Zakary Slax)
Can’t you see it always falls apart? Hot strings are wrapped around my heart and life is nothing but the lonely…Generation Y, we’re old and tired, pretending everything’s alright.
I think what I like so much about this section of the song, and I guess it could apply to the song in general, is that it is timeless yet also of a time. We have themes that can be applied to songs of anytime period, lets just go with a general sense of uncertainty, but then the “generation Y” reference is a clear time marker. This whole section of the song, lyrics and all, is a prime example of why I love this EP. Thoughtful and relatable writing combined with catchy riffs and great vocals, in this case the impeccable croon of Kay Moon (did not mean to rhyme but am going to go with it).
Dead Beat Poet Society write the anthems millennials not only want, but need.