Friday, May 13, 2011


Tim once told me that poetry and lyrics are two different things.

With other artists producing songs with lyrics like, "Baby baby baby baby baby" (that's all), it's hard not to see Tim's songs as poetry, though.

One of the reviewers who saw his show said that he is "The best lyricist in A cappella today."

Another said, "Part stand-up comedy, part poetry slam, and part performance art, Vocal Magic was like nothing I had ever seen before. My first thought: If T.S. Eliot could have sang and Allan Ginsberg had known how to beatbox and been stuck in one body, they could have been reincarnated as Mister Tim."

Consistently, English majors (and past English majors) love to talk to Tim after his shows about the meaning of his lyrics--they're fun to play with, think about, parse, discuss, analyze, dig deeper into. Just like poetry.

Some of my favorite phrases of all time (Yes, I have favorite phrases that just delight my tongue and mind--I'm a poetry lover, after all!) were written by Tim.

Phrases I love (all from his newest releases--­/MisterTim--you can have a "scavenger hunt" to see if you can hear them all).  Say them out loud to get the full impact. Tim has an unusual sense of rhythm, and a superb sense of rhyme. It's truly a delight.

My favorite phrases:

"Seems like feelin' out of place is the place to be"

"Let  me out, let me out; 
Let me in, let me in"

"a garrison of Geek"

"With your heart in your head, 
and your head in your hand
 as the centuries fade
 into futures of sand--
This is it--
I bang bang bang on the door."

"Sucker punch with a ballerina shotgun; 
trust in the dude you conclude he has got one"

"Am I free or am I mistaken?"

"From Chaos springs a bud--a fruit to enjoy all alone."

"Pulling a fast one but not fast enough"

"Madness saunters in wearing tattered purple robes; 
Yesterday a throne--today a crock of old confusion"

I love that in the song, "Down and Down," every pair of words has two  meanings (Down and down, Sound and sound, Groan and Grown, No and Know). It makes so many layers of meaning!

"Where or whether has the sparrow flown?"

"Basket case, take the cake"

"I appreciate your willingness to propagate misinformation"

"Shakespeare wrote about tragic and comic and magic and alls well that ends well. 
I don't understand the message you're sending. I don't dare demand Shakespearean ending."

This one even reads like a poem:
"Softly how the wind blows through the trees.
Softly hear the falling of the leaves.
Softly let your heart enjoy the passing of the stream.
Until the scream. 

Running through my mind
 I stumble out into the blinding light 
of noon-day sunshine  burning me, 
the blazing light of entropy. 
I see.

When the storm beats,
blows out to sea,
Softly how the wind blows through the trees.
Softly hear the falling of the leaves.
Softly draw your breath and feel
The passing of the dream."

"Vapid mouths were filled with weeds"

"I heard the mob of Zombies shout;
they laughed and laughed and laughed 
as blood ran out."

"Their stoic faces hid their contraband"

"Real time realtors sell your soul by the acre"

"Cassanova Frankenstein
 is out the window making time
 with all the ladies"

"Look at the aggregate
Grossly inadequate"

"There was a time when all the funky in the forest couldn't phase me
Catastrophe didn't bother me
Even though the doctor said we could go crazy.
The more I learn, the less I understand.
Not sure why I feel a phenomenal feeling."

"Sixteen rabbis, three dead priests, and a Quaker."

I think "funky in the forest didn't phase me" and "Catastrophe didn't bother me" are some of my favorite phrases written in all of English EVER.

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