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

Pick the song with the best lyrics from each pair


  • Total voters
    17
  • Poll closed .

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
If people can judge solos without any context, you should be able to judge lyrics too. :innocent::innocent:
The solos could still be judged with the context of the music underneath.
the dark lyrics and cheerful music of Invaders don't fit together at all. Invaders! Dum-dee-doo-dee-dee - raping, marauding!
Yeah, I have that as well in Montsegur.


On Alexander: It's still good to know what we are exactly criticizing.

I think Steve intended to do a song about Alexander's life, or at least a timeline of events from that life. Maybe some of us would have preferred more poetry or depth, but it seems to me that's easier to do when it's about a certain event.
Then there would certainly be more room for it. But alas, more zoomed in focus on a segment of his life didn't happen. So, how else can (a timeline of) such a men's life (events) be portrayed in lyrics? I honestly don't know.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
See how Bruce does it in The Alchemist (Maiden's) or Man of Sorrows (Bruce's)
Those are Bruce lyrics. And if I'm not mistaken they contain metaphores, some of these are not very clear (at least to me). I am sure Steve didn't want to talk in riddels. He went for clear events, in chronological order, like on a timeline.
Well, those must be summed up.
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
Agree
What would you rather expect in a song:

My dreams of empire for my frozen queen will come to pass
or
By the Aegian Sea in 334 B.C. he utterly beat the armies of Persia

A big plus for Bruce trying to get in character's head

Those are Bruce lyrics. And if I'm not mistaken they contain metaphores, some of these are not very clear (at least to me).
OK, just The Alchemist then. Not about a certain event, but the whole man's life, similar to Alexander
Of course it's gonna contain metaphores and other poetic devices, it's a song :rolleyes:
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Well, that sounds like a really dull idea for lyrics.
So you criticize the idea of doing a portrait of a historical figure with an impressive career. At least: the impressive moments in his life are not allowed to be mentioned in a song.
The Alchemist then. Not about a certain event, but the whole man's life, similar to Alexander
Of course it's gonna contain metaphores and other poetic devices, it's a song :rolleyes:
You can't emphasize all these Alex moments that way. You may wish it to happen, but I don't think it can be done. Prove me wrong, if you like. Good luck.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
So you criticize the idea of doing a portrait of a historical figure with an impressive career. At least: the impressive moments in his life are not allowed to be mentioned in a song.
It's not the subject matter, it's the delivery.

Let's take Sabaton as an example. Now, I will never hold Sabaton as the best lyricists around, but they understand that at the heart of every impressive historical moment they are dealing with people. Human emotions, human hardship, human drive. Let's take Carolus Rex as an example:

All embrace me
It's my time to rule at last
Fifteen years have I been waiting
To sit upon my throne

No allegiance
I will swear no oath
Crowned by god not by the church
As my power is divine

They thought I was too young to rule the land
Just as they failed to understand
Born to rule
My time has come

I was chosen by heaven
Say my name when you pray
To the skies
See carolus rise
With the lord my protector
Make them bow to my will
To the skies
See carolus rise
Now, these are different subjects and obviously Sabaton had an entire album to delve into this guy's story, but the following feels so flat in comparison:

At the age of nineteen
He became the Macedon King
And he swore to free all of Asia Minor
By the Aegian Sea
In 334 B.C.
He utterly beat the armies of Persia

Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a legend 'mongst mortal men
There's just no soul in that. It doesn't connect on an emotional level in any way.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I see what you are comparing but it is the subject matter in Alexander the Great that should not be cast aside in this discussion.
obviously Sabaton had an entire album to delve into this guy's story.
Exactly. I don't think Steve wanted to connect more on an emotional level. Not his main goal. If he wanted to, he certainly would have made more room for it.
Obviously he preferred to mention many moments in the man's young life. We may not like that, but a little more empathy for Steve's intention (which is not that crazy: what Alexander did was unreal; this quantity just had to be emphasized in Steve's view!) could help.

EDIT:
The music connects very much on an emotional level. The lyrics have a different role.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I see what you are comparing but it is the subject matter in Alexander the Great that should not be cast aside in this discussion.

Exactly. I don't think Steve wanted to connect more on an emotional level. Not his main goal. If he wanted to, he certainly would have made more room for it.
Obviously he preferred to mention many moments in the man's young life. We may not like that, but a little more empathy for Steve's intention (which is not that crazy: what Alexander did was unreal; this quantity just had to be emphasized in Steve's view!) could help.

EDIT:
The music connects very much on an emotional level. The lyrics have a different role.
I'm not saying the subject matter should be cast aside. But there are ways to convey that subject matter without coming off completely sterile. If you put the entire song from a first-person perspective, with Bruce taking on the role of Alexander, it'd be a (very small) step in the right direction.

We don't know Steve's intentions. We don't know what he was thinking, or how hard he tried to write those lyrics. He may have made a conscious decision to avoid all emotions, he may have just written the lyrics in an hour and not given a crap about them. We don't know.

As for lyrics, IMO their only role is to connect on an emotional level. Otherwise, why not just make it an instrumental? Putting lyrics on top of powerful, emotive music but then failing to make those lyrics equally powerful and emotive (or at least trying to make them emotive in any way) just serves as a hindrance to the song. Show me a songwriter who specifically writes lyrics to lack emotional resonance and I'll show you a bad songwriter.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I'm not saying the subject matter should be cast aside. But there are ways to convey that subject matter without coming off completely sterile. If you put the entire song from a first-person perspective, with Bruce taking on the role of Alexander, it'd be a (very small) step in the right direction.
I don't think the portrait of the same amount of events can be done much better if the perspective was "simply" changed. More needs to be done to make it less sterile. And then you need more lines if you want to cover all the events. No room for that. We'd have to get rid of a lot of instrumental parts, or even extent the song length. Also: the events still need to be recognizable in some way.
We don't know Steve's intentions. We don't know what he was thinking, or how hard he tried to write those lyrics. He may have made a conscious decision to avoid all emotions, he may have just written the lyrics in an hour and not given a crap about them. We don't know.
Okay, I think there's a good chance this was his intention. Or else it really should look different. In the end, this was his choice and he went in that direction. I don't think he did not care about his own lyrics. That's not really the motivated Steve I "know".

edit:

How's this? Maybe still a little better? ;)

At the age of nineteen
I became the Macedon King
And I swore to free all of Asia Minor
By the Aegian Sea
In 334 B.C.
I utterly beat the armies of Persia

Alexander the Great
My name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a legend 'mongst mortal men
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I did this in 25 minutes. It's not great by any means, but I would prefer this to the lyrics written by Steve. I've changed the lyrics to active present voice, to give the song some sort of lyrical movement. Imagine this song being shared through taverns (or the B.C. equivalent of taverns) by those marveling at this famed hero they've never seen with their own eyes.

At the age of nineteen
A boy becomes a king
The child his name is Alexander
Promise and fame
All shall know his name
A legend in the making, Alexander

By the Aegian Sea
He sets the people free
Destroying the armies of Persia
With the setting sun
His story has begun
The legend his name is Alexander

Alexander the Great
His name strikes fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
He rises above every mortal man

The Persian king
He flees as they sing
Songs of his foe, across the land
Alexander’s charge
True power at large
Takes Egypt by force and stays the course

By the Tigris River
He meets King Darius again
And slays his men at the battle of Arbela
Into Babylon
The young king charges on
He lays claim to Persia forevermore

Alexander the Great
His name brings terror to hearts of men
Alexander the Great
He is a God amongst mortal men

Hellenism spreading far and wide
Blending culture ’til the end of time
Fear his sword, fear for your life
So the children may not need to raise the knife

Even this great immortal man
Like everyone he would meet his end
Struck with fever in Babylon
Still he cried out to, “soldier on!”

Marching on, marching on
The battle weary marching side by side
Alexander’s army line by line
They wouldn’t follow him to India
Tired of the combat, pain and the glory

Alexander the Great
He died of fever in Babylon
Alexander the Great
He could not conquer the hands of fate
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
That's good Knick! I understand what you wanted to do and I like it. The only thing I'm doubting about is how some words (or vowel) fit to the accents (rhythm). I wouldn't mind hearing a recording! :)

Speaking of the timing of some phrases in this song, that's another aspect I find pretty good in 'Arry's lyrics. Take:

By the Aegian Sea
In 334 B.C.


Fits well, and nicely made up. (How often are years used (and B.C?) used in (metal) music, I wonder.)
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
That's good Knick! I understand what you wanted to do and I like it. The only thing I'm doubting about is how some words (or vowel) fit to the accents (rhythm). I wouldn't mind hearing a recording! :)
Oh, no doubt it would require some shifting in vocal melodies (which I'm fine with considering I'm not in love with the present melodies).

And I actually agree about the 334 B.C. part, if only that were the only blatant factoid drop in the song.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
So you criticize the idea of doing a portrait of a historical figure with an impressive career. At least: the impressive moments in his life are not allowed to be mentioned in a song.
I don't know where you get that from what I said. Just simply listing the events and achievement's of Alex's life in song form -which is what ATG is- doesn't sound exciting to me. There's nothing poetic about that.
 
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