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Iron Maiden lyrics tournament final: Empire of the Clouds rises above all

Discussion in 'Forum Games' started by mckindog, Aug 31, 2016.


Pick the song with the best lyrics from each pair

Poll closed Mar 26, 2017.
  1. Starblind

  2. *****

    0 vote(s)
  3. Empire of the Clouds

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Welcome to the first Maidenfans Iron Maiden lyrics tourney where the most knowledgeable Iron Maiden fans in the world determine the best song lyrics crafted by the world's greatest band.

    First some instruction: There are three factors to consider when considering your vote:

    1) The meaning: is the story or message delivered by the song interesting? Provocative? Entertaining? Does it have some depth?

    2) The poetry: do the words chosen and how they are arranged strike a chord with you? Are they clever? Emotionally affecting? Do they paint arresting pictures? Worm their way into your brain?

    3) The fit: lyrics are different than other forms of writing because they are meant to complement music. How well do the words fit and reflect the music they are attached to?

    I know that historically this forum has had some great discussions on lyrics — some of which ended up on the commentary — but relatively few in the recent past. I'm hoping this will not only spark some great new conversations with the new members, but rekindle some old ones and encourage some long-time posters to share their thoughts with the more recent crowd.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 7.06.54 PM.png

    Now to the game itself:

    Before we talk about the good, we must first discuss the bad.

    The meat of this game will be a tournament similar to the excellent Maiden solos tournament hosted by @Forostar and @Night Prowler, but first you are going to help me pick the songs that get to enter the tournament through a brief survivor.

    From the list above pick the Maiden lyrics that do not deserve to qualify. Tell us why.
    I will be picking the qualifiers at my discretion, but this five-round survivor will be my most important guide.
    Pick as many songs as you want, but know that less than half the discography will make the final cut.
  2. MrKnickerbocker

    MrKnickerbocker clap hands

    Awesome, let's dig in!

    I'm starting my votes with every song that I consider to be overly simplistic, thematically lacking, overly complicated with no ear for rhythm, or featuring some substandard rhyming or forced lyrics. Unfortunately, that means a lot of the early tracks get cut immediately (as well as later short songs). Here's my list:

    Prowler - reads like a sleazy 80's song through the filter of a serial killer/stalker/rapist. It's adoscelent murder fantasy done in a very lame way.

    Invaders - forced rhymes, lacking rhymes, forced phrasing that sounds inverted just to fit ("They've come the enemy"), and that terrible "NOUN! VERB!" chorus.

    Tailgunner - the first verse sets up a high quality of lyric that immediately faceplants in the chorus and the childish second verse

    Futureal - what is this song about? It sounds like improvised lyrics that never got replaced with an actual theme. Some guy's running around, being paranoid, can't believe what he sees/hears/feels, and somehow it's futureal? What does that mean?! Then he's a freak, then he's writing words in a diary or something? Seems like it's about a guy getting sucked into a bad video game.

    Wildest Dreams - see above, re: bland lines that speak to overall life truths but never really get specific. The chorus is so simplistic that I can't take it seriously.

    Different World - seems identical to the previous song, just with a slightly different twist. These are those "open interpretation" lyrics that just make me think the writer didn't have much inspiration.

    Iron Maiden - one very mediocre verse and chorus, repeated ad naseum.

    Drifter - these aren't lyrics, these are psuedo-playboy drunk ramblings. Ugh. The lyrics say absolutely nothing. The worst of the worst.

    To Tame a Land - overwrought, plot heavy, with no ear for delivery

    Alexander the Great - see above, replace "plot" with "text book"

    Mother Russia - this one's actually not terrible, but it pales in comparison to what's left because it feels incomplete. There should be more to this song, both lyrically and musically. There's something behind these lyrics hinting at a bigger story, but it never gets there and just feels like a prologue.
    mckindog likes this.
  3. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Well-said. Can't dispute any of those.

    As for the exceptions, I'm not so sure about Invaders or Mother Russia.
    Not that your critiques aren't valid, but Invaders scores points with me for being exactly what the song sounds like: a rampaging horde.
    And Mother Russia has some nice imagery and a solid, mature take on what was happening in the Soviet Union at the time.

    And I am curious @Collin and @Deus_Adrian about the Como Estais votes.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  4. Collin

    Collin Jambi

    No more tears.
  5. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Prowler, Wrathchild, Invaders, Iron Maiden, Drifter - Pedestrian lyrics that you would expect on a young band's early material. In the case of Invaders, they're at least planting the seeds of what would become lyrical gems later on.

    Tailgunner - Just feels like a second rate version of their other war tunes, particularly Aces High.

    Futureal - Something about this lyric feels so sloppy and poorly written. I'm with Knick on this one. No idea what it's about, just sounds like he strung together a bunch of rhyming words and haphazardly tied it into the album's virtual reality theme (assuming they already had that direction, which is admittedly a stretch). I also feel the word flow is very poor.

    Wildest Dreams - Generic "I'm going to live my life the way I want" lyric. :yawn:

    To Tame a Land - One of the biggest offenders when it comes to Steve's tendency to write very wordy lyrics with no regard for word flow or if the singer is capable of singing them. Also, I've never read Dune, but I feel this does a poor job at telling any story related to it. Was Steve trying to explain the main plot? Is he elaborating on a side plot? Is it an original story based on the characters? It seems very convoluted to me.

    Alexander the Great - Similar problems as TTAL but worse. It's like Steve copied lyrics out of a text book.

    Fear of the Dark - Seems redundant to me. Goes to great lengths to explain a simple concept without really making you think much about it.
    MrKnickerbocker likes this.
  6. Stardust

    Stardust A Blue Sector Mirage

    Where's Starblind? I doubt that one would go away that easily.
  7. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    To Tame A Land might actually be worse than Alexander.
    It has no flow, creates no images and fails miserably to tell what really is an excellent story.
  8. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Every album track with lyrics is going to show up eventually.

    And so everyone is clear, this is not going to work like a regular survivor where we vote a number of songs off and re-vote on the leftovers.
    Every song in this round will only appear this round. The same for the other four survivor-style rounds.
  9. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    I could probably agree with that. I think Alex is worse in that it fails miserably in your 3rd criteria: while the instrumental music is effective at depicting Alex's army marching into battle, the actual vocal parts really don't do anything. TTAL is not much better, but at least the vocal melodies and music underneath bring imagery where the lyrics fail.
    Collin likes this.
  10. adrian fn rules

    adrian fn rules Chili-head

    Read Mckindog's first post describing the game. I'm sure Starblind will be in the running soon. There are going to be 5 initial survivor rounds, not just this first list.
  11. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Very interesting game. I must admit that I find it very hard to judge lyrics as lines written on paper without any musical context (the notes, the sound, the (dramatic/energetic/rhythmic) delivery), 3: the fit! And I am a little afraid that most of us are going to do just that. Alexander the Great, Mother Russia, To Tame a Land, all of them will go down by 1: the meaning and 2: the poetry, criteria that will be very dominant over the game. The game hasn't even started yet, and I'm already saying this...? Yes, by doing that I hope I'm proven somewhat wrong and that people will also keep an eye on 3.

    I never paid a lot of attention to lyrics. Subconciously or not, I never wanted them to be in the way of my listening pleasure. It would be nice if I will appreciate some songs a little more after this game has ended, because of a new look at the lyrics.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  12. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    3 is just as important to me as 1 and 2. In fact 3 is the main reason Alexander the Great and TTAL are getting votes from me.
    MrKnickerbocker likes this.
  13. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    I have trouble with imagining better (or different) words over such vocal melodies.
  14. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    Prowler, Wrathchild, Iron Maiden, Drifter: Early era juvenile filler lyrics

    Invaders, Tailgunner, Fear of the Dark, Mother Russia: Badly executed story telling

    Futureal: No idea what the fuck the lyrics are about

    Wildest Dreams: Reminiscent of the early era juvenile filler lyrics

    Alexander the Great, To Tame a Land: These two are basically twins, amazing music, lyrics with zero imagination. To Tame a Land feels like the work of an elementary school student who was given a homework of providing a summary of Dune but couldn't bother to read the books, Alexander the Great is just facts about the historical figure. "He died of fever in Babylon" is one of the most cringeworthy lyrical executions in the band's history. That line for the ending of an epic track, really?
  15. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    A highly original approach. Deviating from the norm, so to speak.

    On To Tame a Land. I already like the effect of the lyrics before I knew Dune. Perhaps that's another reason why I have less problems with tolerating these. What effect for instance?
    Caladan, Arakis, the these words ring very well with the rhythm and the accents, the way Bruce delevers these words.

    Scores high on the fit category.
    Walking through the city.... Fits well with the excitement nature of the music. Simple lyrics, but they work.
  16. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    If Dave and Nicko wrote a song about that time they played golf together it would also be original. Doesn't mean it's good though.
  17. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    For you not, for me good enough. I like such elements in lyrics.
    Storytelling? It's a philosophical view on actual events. There's compassion in it as well. Again, I love the how the (choice of) words fit nicely to the rhythm.
  18. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Prowler, Wrathchild, Invaders, Iron Maiden, Drifter - What everybody else said, with the added bonus of how the dark lyrics and cheerful music of Invaders don't fit together at all. Invaders! Dum-dee-doo-dee-dee - raping, marauding!

    Tailgunner - I can't find anything in the "glow of Dresden" to say "hehe, wooh!" about.

    To Tame a Land - Just an unimaginative book summary.

    Alexander the Great - Just a listing of facts.
  19. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    A story doesn't have to be fictional. It's talking about events.
  20. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    If people can judge solos without any context, you should be able to judge lyrics too. :innocent::innocent:

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