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Song Stories

“The Words That Maketh Murder”

PJ Harvey | 2011

PJ Harvey long intended to write an album about world affairs that you could also sing along to, which came to fruition in 2011 with Let England Shake. She made a conscious effort to avoid standard protest-song form on the album and on lead single "The Words That Maketh Murder," explaining "The words are very heavy going...the music I tried to make as uplifting and beautiful and rousing as I could...to offset this weight that was in the words," she said. The refrain "What if I take my problems to the United Nations?" pays homage to Eddie Cochran's lyrics in "Summertime Blues."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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