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elbanditoroso's avatar

I seldom listen to ‘contemporary’ music – say, anything past the 1970s. And I pay even less attention to the lyrics, which are most frequently insipid or even banal.

But if you want some great songs with great lyrics from the 1960s – listen to Tom Lehrer’s stuff.

rockfan's avatar


You don’t even like contemporary alternative music?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Generally not. In my 60-year-old opinion, most of it is crap and self-indulgent. (Of course, that’s what my parents said back in the 70s, so this is nothing new.)

To me the “purest” music – best lyrics and melodies – were the folks songs of the 50s through the 70s.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return

rockfan's avatar

@elbanditoroso You might like the songs by Arcade Fire and Amanda Palmer, they’re not folk songs, but they have a 60’s and 70’s edge to them.

Coloma's avatar

Not necessarily funny, but I love this tune from the 90’s.

poofandmook's avatar

Die Eier Von Satan by Tool is mildly humorous. Sounds like a Nazi rally, but is really a recipe for hash cookies in German.

gailcalled's avatar

Grandma’s Lye Soap A pure rendition. More raucous versions available if you search.

Mrs. O’Mally, Down in the valley
Suffered from ulcers, I understand
She swallowed a cake, of Grandma’s LyeSoap
Now she’s got the cleanest ulcers in the land!

An older cousin used to play this for me on his banjo when I was 4 or 5, rendering me hystericlal. A linguistic revelation (after Mother Goose) that informed my life and love of languages.Relistening to it again now is sending me down memory lane.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Then I got high, then I got high, then I got high!

filmfann's avatar

Things Have Change by Bob Dylan has this terrific line:

Standing on the gallows with my head in the noose.
Any minute now I’m expecting all Hell to break loose…

SavoirFaire's avatar

I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for, but here are some songs from comedians that are—for the most part, at least—intended to have funny lyrics:

Axis of Awesome – Four Chord Song

Bo Burnham – Art Is Dead (serious)
Bo Burnham – From God’s Perspective
Bo Burnham – Rant

Tim Minchin – The Good Book
Tim Minchin – If I Didn’t Have You
Tim Minchin – Not Perfect (mostly serious)
Tim Minchin – Prejudice

And for whatever reason, math seems to be a common subject for comedy:

Tom Lehrer – New Math
Bo Burnham – New Math (completely different song; nerdier, but also a bit childish)
Todd Snider – Statistician’s Blues

But if you like that sort of thing, then you might also enjoy this bit of science set to music:

A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ll just go with funny because there are too many songs I’m thinking of with great lyrics

Beauty Queen (Very NSFW)
I’d expect nothing less of Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa

Zombie Prostitute – Voltaire

The Loophole (fuck me in the ass because I love Jesus ). – Garfunkel and Oates
@SavoirFaire Ya left out the best one from Tim :P

syz's avatar

I suspect I’ll get some blow-back, but I thought Thrift Shop was pretty amusing. I love the story of Mariner’s Revenge.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@syz Ever hear this awesome cover of thrift shop?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@El_Cadejo I was trying to aim for the slightly more profound, but I must admit that is one of his best. And since you brought up Garfunkel and Oates, here are some of my favorites by them:

Pregnant Women Are Smug
Sex with Ducks
Me, You and Steve

Also, since I forgot it before:

Ray Stevens – I’m My Own Grandpa

Coloma's avatar

Sex with Ducks..LMAO! That was really funny!

dxs's avatar

Loser by Beck.
None of it makes sense. Get crazy with the cheez whiz!

talljasperman's avatar

Smells like Nirvana.

MarvinPowell's avatar

You took my answer. Damn! That’s like my favorite song of the era.

thelurker's avatar

I second (third) Tom Lehrer. Here’s one of his songs:

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park link

I thought it would be interesting to st…. to adapt one of Lehrer’s lines to show you his type of humor: It’s people like Tom Lehrer who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.

How does one integrate a hyperlink within the text of the actual answer?

filmfann's avatar

Another funny tune is If I had a million dollars by the Bare Naked Ladies.

longgone's avatar

^ Even funnier is their crazy ABC, in my opinion. And educational!

dxs's avatar

Going off of what @talljasperman said, basically any song from Weird Al is hilariously interesting.
Some of my favorite parodies:
Eat it (Beat it)
Amish Paradise (Gangsta’s Paradise)
My bologna (My Sherona)
Like a Surgeon (Like a Virgin)
And an original, Pancreas.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Just a few…

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Atheists Don’t Have No Songs

Josh Ritter, The Temptation of Adam

Belle and Sebastian, A Century of Elvis

Punch Brothers, Next to the Trash All this citrus and pine make it harder to think

Elvis Costello, Beyond Belief

Le Tigre, What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes

Martha Wainwright, Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

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