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Behind the Lyrics: Lime Cordiale - "Temper Temper"


(Photo Credit: James Brickman)


One of my favorite things to do when I am down in the dumps is going to the local Target and walking the aisles. Now, I understand, many the American does just this, but while others may be looking for some shopping escape, I am listening attentively to the music playing across the store. 

No seriously, you want a party? Go to a Target on a Saturday night. This is how I found the song "Temper Temper" by Lime Cordiale. 


Red wine like blood on the carpet


Cigarettes burn holes where my heart is


Temper, temper, you know that that''s what I like


You're just doing what you do for reaction


I don't like this hotel, you can trash it


Temper, temper, you know that that's what I like, yeah



[Pre-Chorus]


You start fights with everybody


I'm the one to say you're sorry


I know, we're wrong


But you're not 'round for long



[Chorus]


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only love you when you're gone



[Verse 2]


Watch your television crash on the pavement


Push and pull, yeah that's our arrangement


Temper, temper, baby, you do what you like


Razor blades on your tongue I can taste it


Forgetting me with a permanent vacation


Temper, temper, baby, you do what you like

[Pre-Chorus]


You start fights with everybody


I'm the one to say you're sorry


I know, we're wrong


But you're not 'round for long



[Chorus]


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only love you when you're gone


Yeah, yeah


Oh



[Bridge]


I know we're wrong (a-ya-yeah)


But I don't mind a little psycho


Temper m-mm (a-ya-yeah, a-ya-yeah, a-ya-yeah)


I know we're wrong (a-ya-yeah)


But I don't mind a little psycho


Temper, temper (a-ya-yeah, a-ya-yeah, a-ya-yeah)


Yeah, ow



[Outro]


I only like you when you're-- leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only love you when you're gone


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only like you when you're leaving


I only love you when you're gone


I only love you when you're gone


This song is appealing because it is so easy to understand what is happening. The lyrics aren't trying to hide the story of a dysfunctional relationship, and the words themselves work so well with the musicality. 


What stands out and makes this song different is how the imagery of the lyrics grabs listeners' attention right from the beginning -- "Red wine like blood on the carpet/cigarettes burn holes where my heart is". It sounds like a crime scene, and each description can be tied back to this imagery of the heart - "red", "blood" -- and how this narrator "knows it's just what I like". 


However, it is also in this imagery that we can wonder...is the love interest a person...or temper itself? Who is doing the destruction? Lines like "I don't like this hotel, you can trash it", make the listener wonder who the romance is with. 

To further complicate things, we have lyrics like: 


"You start fights with everybody

I'm the one to say you're sorry

I know, we're wrong

But you're not 'round for long"


This definitely gives me some Fight Club vibes, so could it be a mental disorder? Or could it be drug usage? "But you're not 'round for long" could lead one to that thought process. 


Either way, the lyrics work well with the music, and then, being able to interpret this in multiple avenues appeals to a wider audience.


In sum, when it comes to lyrics, focus on an emotion. Find creative ways to describe that emotion. Be purposeful in the words you choose -- whether like in this song you use imagery or specific pronouns. 


Get creative! Until next time. 


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