Metaphors and vividly painted imagery through words are great, but give us an intriguing story or narrative that pulls us in and we're hooked. One such song that recently grabbed our attention was Badflower's "Johnny Wants to Fight" from the upcoming This Is How the World Ends album, giving us what seems like a song about supporting a friend through a breakup, but then pulls back the layers to show there's more to this story.
The journey taken got us to thinking about other great songs that have a narrative, so we reached out to the members of Badflower to get their thoughts on some of the greatest story-based songs ever created. Each of the group's members got into the exercise, providing us with a well rounded list of story songs that date back as far as 1939 and come back around with material released within the past year.
You'll hear some country classics, '70s superstars, alt and indie rock heroes and even a little ditty from what was described by its creator as "the best song in the world." So it's safe to say Badflower set the bar high with their choices.
But before we check out Badflower's list of Great Story Songs, check out the song that inspired this list as "Johnny Wants to Fight" can be heard in the player below. It's featured on the This Is How the World Ends album, due this Friday (Sept. 24) and is currently available here. You can also look for Badflower touring this fall with dates and ticketing information found at their website.
Badflower, "Johnny Wants To Fight"
Now check out Badflower's picks for their 10 Greatest Story Songs below!
"Million Dollar Bill"Dawes
A song for hopeless romantics. The feeling of longing for a lover that has moved on even when you haven’t.
This song speaks on the strength of individuality. The idea that each of these flowers can exist separately, uniquely amongst each other. It is their own individuality that brings beauty to the garden. Learning how to accept and celebrate yourself for who you are.
A pure-hearted breakup song. The relationship is at its end and clearly one person wants out. In a more nuanced way, what's being said is, "You’ll be sorry after I'm gone.”
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark"Death Cab for Cutie
Filled with realist and romantic expressions of loving someone so hard that you will follow them anywhere, even into the unknown. “When heaven and hell decide / That they both are satisfied / I will follow you into the dark."
"Leaving on a Jet Plane"John Denver
This song describes sorrow, remorse, guilt. Having to leave your family behind to tackle your own pursuits always reveals what matters most.
"Take Me Home Country Roads"John Denver
A beautiful depiction of not only West Virginia but home itself. A place of belonging, a place that shapes you, a place that you carry with you.
"Over the Rainbow"Judy Garland
Somewhere else, somewhere better than where I am now. A place of impossibilities and the hope that I will someday get there. Both somber and enlightening, "If birds can get there / Why can’t I?”
A literal depiction of a shooting that resulted in the death of an innocent bystander. After confronting the person responsible, haunted with regret and guilt, begging for forgiveness “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” This one is a very cold and stark story.
"I Got You Babe"Sonny & Cher
The simplicity of love. The world and its problems don't matter because the only thing that is true, is the love that is felt and shared between two people.
A song about two guys ... Wait! Who cares?! It’s just a funny song with an age old tale of meeting the devil and saving your soul.