Destroyer – Girl in a Sling
“I’ve been sifting through these remains for years
Bitter tears, bitter pills
Oh, it sucks when there’s nothing but gold in those hills!”
Over the course of 10 albums, Dan Bejar’s Destroyer – not, as you might think, a metal act, but wordy, arch, Bowie-esque art-pop – has proven himself a highly-distinctive lyricist.
Many Destroyer songs contain, amongst their tumbling torrents of verbosity, standout lines that make you laugh – or at least say, “huh?” – due to their bizarre, playful specificity, often turning a well-worn expression on its ear; or dense allusions to other songs and songwriters (and even recursively back to his own work).
Here’s some of his more memorable one-liners, in reverse chronological order. For a more in-depth description of why he’s so singular, take a look at the intro to this album ranking; to experience his eccentric-yet-romantic words for yourself, pretty much pick any song at random from here.
Up top, “Girl in a Sling”, a slow, orchestral number from his latest, Poison Season.
“Savage Night At The Opera”, from 2011’s Kaputt, reminds us that
“It’s not a war until someone loses an eye”
Destroyer – Savage Night at the Opera
The title track from 2006’s “Destroyer’s Rubies” results in a tie:
“All good things must come to an end /
The bad ones just go on forever.”
“You disrupt the world’s disorder just by virtue of your grace, you know”
Destroyer – Rubies
From 2004’s Your Blues comes this head-scratcher, in “It’s Gonna Take An Airplane”:
“Submarines don’t mind spending their time in the ocean”
Destroyer – It’s Gonna Take An Airplane
From 2001’s Streethawk: A Seduction, “Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Sea of Tears)”; I’m not sure how true this ACTUALLY is, but it’s still a great line:
“No man has ever hung / from the rafters of a second home”
Destroyer – Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Sea of Tears)
Weirdly enough, this song is from 2000’s Thief, not 1998’s City of Daughters, and has a lyric referring to the PMRC-sourced quote that also provided the name for Dan-Bejar-featuring power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers.
It also asks the immortal question,
“What is it about music that lends itself so well /
Destroyer – City of Daughters