Sing Me a Tale: 6 Songs That Tell Us A Story

Sing Me a Tale: 6 Songs That Tell Us A Story

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Sure, songs that rely on simple and catchy lyrics (I’m looking at you, Call Me Maybe) are fun to listen to, but then there are songs that tell actual stories, driven by strong narratives, that are much more rewarding and worthy of your time. Here are 6 of those story-telling songs:

1. “Dustbowl Dance” by Mumford and Sons

There  is no doubt that “Little Lion Man” was the iconic indie-folk tune that propelled the London-hailed band to international recognition, and “The Cave” was a brilliant follow-up single, but this underrated ballad takes the cake as my favourite Mumford and Sons track (so far). The song tells a tragic story of a young country man, whose land – along with everything he owns – was stolen from him, and seeks retribution from the person responsible. The story is told in first person, and what makes it so compelling is the affecting passion in Marcus Mumford’s vocals, in which he belts out every line with such anger and bitterness that you’d think that he had actually experienced the events that unfolded in the lyric. 

2. “The Ballad of Vitaly” by Delta Spirit

Also a tragic tale about loss and revenge, it is actually a true story about Vitaly Kaloyev, a Russian architect who murdered the air-traffic controller responsible for the plane crash that killed his wife and 2 children. It is definitely a haunting song penned by Delta Spirit vocalist Matthew Vasquez upon reading an article about the incident on The Times. Vitaly’s story is told (sang?) with a certain detachment from the events as one would when reporting a story, but Vasquez’s soulful vocals kept it from feeling cold or apathetic, as he warns the listeners about the power of forgiveness; or rather, the absence of it.

3. “The Fox” by O+S

A much more mellow song than the first two, Orenda Fink and Cedric LeMoyne tells a sombre analogy of love and its disappointments through the story of a girl taking care of a fox she found it the woods, thinking that it would be loyal to her, but she eventually wakes up one day to see that the fox has left, after getting all it could from her. O+S has a unique but soft approach to their music, but the attention you pay to their words will pay off.

4. “Men of Snow” by Ingrid Michaelso

Everything sounds beautiful when it’s in the form of the indie-pop singer/songwriter’s angelic voice, even when it’s a cynical tale about the fragility of life. The song is simple yet emotional and haunting, telling us that in the end, we’re all men of snow, and we will melt one day.

5. “Untitled” by Greg Holden

Hidden away as a bonus track in the acoustic version of Holden’s debut album “I Don’t Believe You”, this gem of a song tells an inspiring fable about a boy standing up to fight his oppressor, and not giving up even when he falls time and time again.

6. “The Clock Was Tickin’” by Brandon Flowers

Don’t let The Killers’ frontman’s cheerful vocals fool you: This is a sad song about how nothing ever goes our way in life. Allegedly based on his own father, this almost country-sounding ballad from Flowers’s underrated solo effort, “Flamingo”, is essentially a chronicle of a man’s entire life, from the first day he fell in love till the day his sweetheart passes away.

That’s all from me. Do you know other songs that tell a story? Please let us know in the comment section below!

Howie N.

Story-telling music enthusiast

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