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 .

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Does anyone give any weight to the thought Wildest Dreams is not a generic message, but actually Steve's deeply personal sense of triumph and redemption after Brave New World ended the "dark days?"

When I remember back to how that things just used to be
And I was stuck inside a shroud of misery
I felt I'd disappeared so deep inside myself
I couldn't find a way to break away my hell

When I'm feeling down and low
I vow I'll never be the same again
I just remember what I am
And visualize just what I'm gonna be
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
I can't imagine Steve so quickly conceding that the time before BNW were "dark days". But that's a good possibility that I never considered.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
I can't imagine Steve so quickly conceding that the time before BNW were "dark days". But that's a good possibility that I never considered.
I agree that he wouldn't in an interview, but I don't recall him ever speaking about 2 a.m. In an interview either.
Remember, Wildest Dreams was written seven or eight years after the aftermath of X Factor and even longer after his marriage failing and Bruce leaving the band.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
I could see it referring to the failed marriage and depression in general, which is familiar territory for a Steve song.
 
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.
Not to pick on you both, but I'm baffled at the continued labeling in this forum of everything having an inkling of a major third in it as "happy" or "cheerful".
The major mode has a lot of emotional range - much more than the minor mode, in fact - and basing your music on a major chord does not automatically make it "Hooked on a Feeling".

In both the cases mentioned, I don't hear happy music - in "Montsegur" I hear epic-like, uplifting music, which is precisely the kind of music I'd imagine for a war scene, particularly as the singer is mentally imagining himself in the side he thinks fight the good fight. It's the song that the fighters pep themselves up with!

In "Invaders", if you notice, the verses are jittery and anguished, and they depict the chaos of the defenders, but when does the (again, uplifting rather than "happy") major scales come? When the chorus describes the action of the invaders and, as it were, the camera lens is on them! So in that respect, the matching of music and lyrics in "Invaders" is totally flawless.
 

Brigantium

Grim Reaper
Staff member
I totally agree with you on Montsegur and maybe a couple of other songs where its misplaced or has a stand-out effect. Personally, I'm not a great fan of a lot of major mode, I gravitate towards music that uses a lot of minor. Where Maiden do it, especially on their earlier music, it sounds to me like a nod to the more exuberant sort of hard rock, which again is something I'm not a tremendous fan of.
 

Perun

And the world, unheeding, turns
Staff member
Not to pick on you both, but I'm baffled at the continued labeling in this forum of everything having an inkling of a major third in it as "happy" or "cheerful".
The major mode has a lot of emotional range - much more than the minor mode, in fact - and basing your music on a major chord does not automatically make it "Hooked on a Feeling".

(...)

In "Invaders", if you notice, the verses are jittery and anguished, and they depict the chaos of the defenders, but when does the (again, uplifting rather than "happy") major scales come? When the chorus describes the action of the invaders and, as it were, the camera lens is on them! So in that respect, the matching of music and lyrics in "Invaders" is totally flawless.
I don't know anything about scales, so that's not what influences my perception. It's merely the general feeling that Invaders is an upbeat song and the dark lyrics don't match it in my ears. It just sounds like Bruce has a smile on his face when singing the chorus. I don't know anything about musical theory, so that's all I can say.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I perceive the vocal lines in Montsegur as happy/uplifting sounding melodies. Especially in the verses they even sound somewhat childish, like in a lullaby. With these lyrics, that comes across as an absurd move.
Over the years I got a bit more used to it (or at least: I learned to appreciate other good things about this song).

I am not a scale expert but I think I tend to prefer minor mostly.
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).
Well, alright, then we're comparing A with B. At least, the lyrics in this game should be seen in relation with its context, and that includes melody lines, not different ones. Still, your lyrics are good, but they are for a different song. And we all know (yes we really know that! :) ) that Steve finds melody lines more important. Lyrics have to be adapted to melodies, not the other way around. So we should take that fit into account.
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Well, alright, then we're comparing A with B. At least, the lyrics in this game should be seen in relation with its context, and that includes melody lines, not different ones. Still, your lyrics are good, but they are for a different song. And we all know (yes we really know that! :) ) that Steve finds melody lines more important. Lyrics have to be adapted to melodies, not the other way around. So we should take that fit into account.
Agreed. But I would argue that I do not find the vocal melodies in ATG to be very good.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I agree, but I'm also not sure if we should be taking melody into account. Currently, I'm looking at everything as a blank canvas with the words being the first thing to hit the page.

Granted, I still would have voted the same if considering the melodies.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
I'd say the melodies are only important in the sense of how well the words fit.
Like those who say the lyrics don't fit the "happy" chorus melody of Invaders.
The quality of the melodies on their own aren't relevant.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
I will be taking melodies into account to a small degree. It probably won't be the deciding factor in choosing to vote or not vote for something, but a melody can be effective in elevating a lyric. I think it's fair to judge these lyricss based on how they work as songs, since that's the medium they're being written for.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Holy Smoke - pedestrian rhyming, stupid cursing, although the chorus is a nice bit of imagery it all sounds rather silly

From Here to Eternity - a pathetic attempt to write "provocative" and sexual lyrics by trying to sound like a sleazy LA band

Lord of the Flies - there is a message here, and it does have a strong emotional viewpoint, yet these lyrics just feel jumbled. This is almost the opposite of ATG - too much emotion and not enough plot. Only two lines actually describe what the song is about, the rest just feels scattered.

The Angel and the Gambler - a bunch of terse phrasing thrown together and then repeated ad nauseam.

Charlotte the Harlot - I don't like any of the Charlotte songs lyrically because the sophomoric content doesn't fit the band, IMO. Plus, the slant rhyme of "legs" with "bed" and later rhyming "there" with "there" just bug the crap out of me.

Purgatory - because...WTF is this about? In a dream, he's never seen these places before, but he's lived these fantasies many times before...? So he splits his brain and melts through the floor. Ok, so we're going abstract here, this is gonna be an abstract song. But then the viewpoint character starts questioning himself: "Over clouds my mind will fly, forever now I can't think why" - of course you can't, this is an abstract song. "My body tries to leave my soul, or is it me, I just don't know" - is what you? What don't you know? Your body and your soul are both you. Then in the pre-chorus we realize, oh this is a song about a ghost, maybe? Sure. But then we have an incredibly simplistic repetitive chorus begging to be taken away - to heaven or hell, presumably. Steve has said that they changed lyrics to this song and it was previously called "Floating." It sounds to me like the verses were kept intact and a new chorus was written but the two parts dot no jive to me at all.

Sun and Steel - the chorus is so stupid, mostly because of the "Life is like a wheel" line, which really has nothing to do with the rest of the song.

Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter - This song doesn't make any sense and was clearly written as an attempt to justify that title line which I'm sure Bruce fell in love with and just couldn't let go.

Weekend Warrior - A song about fake soccer hooligans is just about the lamest thing I can think of, and this manages to make that concept even lamer by sounding like an old man yelling at the youngins. Also, a quick way to make your lyrics weak - add words like "maybe" and "sometimes" into your main statement.

2 a.m. - These lyrics are simply too straightforward and too simplistic for this band. Might work for a Bruce Springsteen song, but just doesn't work for Maiden.

Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger - another song with one very simple idea that has nothing to say about it beyond some simple phrases of "fear".

Man of Sorrows - "Now we need to know the truth now".
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Fucking hell, so much negativity. How someone can get so worked up over such a quantity of songs is really beyond me. And this is only one post. Can I imagine how much hate there is over the whole discography (80% of the nineties and Di'Anno era)? Perhaps I don't want to know this even.
Weekend Warrior - A song about fake soccer hooligans is just about the lamest thing I can think of
This sounds so ignorant. What do you mean fake soccer hooligans? Hooligans didn't exist? Ever?
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The point of this survivor is to weed out the weak lyrics from the strong lyrics. That is what I am doing. I am taking lyrical content into utmost consideration, with the song serving as merely a backdrop (i.e. how the overall song works is not how I am judging these lyrics - just like your solo game, Foro).

We're voting based on preferences. It is not ignorant of me to dislike a song about a group of douchey guys that hang out in the pub on the weekends pretending to "be that cool". The chorus of Weekend Warrior sounds like somebody trying to weasel out of an argument. "Oh, well, you're just a weekend warrior lately! Or...sometimes. Or like, maybe you're not...any more...I don't know nevermind I'm going home." That is not a strong chorus from a lyrical standpoint.

Lyrics are a very serious deal to me, excuse me for looking in-depth at things in the survivor where we are supposed to do just that.
 
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