The Grapes & The Lyrics



What do wine and music have in common you might wonder. Surely you remember the emotions that a great song or the taste of glorious wine can trigger. We’re talking heightened senses, complimentary mood, liquid and mental refreshment. You’re in for a pleasurable ride, because we’ve decided to get inebriated on lyrics, over here at The Beauty & The Taste, as we scoured our playlists to find the songs that touch on grape nectar.

We did come across some obscure lines in the process, but that only made it all the more exciting. We’d suggest you let yourself be carried away in a wind whirl of flavours and notes, while we guide you on a sensory journey.

Speaking of senses, both the sixth and the flesh are hinted at when wine comes up in Interpol’s “No I In Threesome” and Arctic Monkeys’ “The Bad Thing”. “No I In Threesome” explores the delicate dynamics of a couple seeking thrill in a love triangle, yet in the good and the bad times, the speaker’s partner has always been there for him (Through the storms and the light | Baby, you stood by my side and life is wine), hence creating an intrinsic comparison with life and wine and how the former gets better with age; whereas in “The Bad Thing”, which actually stands for cheating, wine is used as an excuse to hide ulterior motives in a clandestine affair and condone adultery, therefore regarded to as no longer appealing (She said ‘It’s the red wine this time’ | But that is no excuse).

It seems that wine is the propeller behind physical union, intimacy and passion also in Lana Del Rey’s “Summer Wine”, which draws upon a recurrent theme with the artist luring her man as a siren (Strawberries, cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring | My summer wine is really made from all these things).

Wine paradoxically verges onto the sardonic yet sacral side, instead, in Franz Ferdinand’s “The Fallen”, with Turn the rich into wine as you walk on the mean referencing the Book of John and one of the first miracles attributed to Jesus turning water into wine, while this time it’s the wealthy people, alas, being mutated to vin de table.

You’ll find wine dotting the lyrics of Jake Bugg’s “Lightning Bolt “ (They say you gotta tow the line | they want the water not the wine)  with regard to seizing the opportunity when it presents itself; as well as David Bowie’s quite personal and profound “Time” (Time | in quaaludes and red wine | Demanding Billy Dolls | And other friends of mine | Take your time), based on Billy Murcia’s death from accidental overdose in 1972; in Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”, wine points to human greed and Dylan’s consequent emotional upheaval (Businessmen, they drink my wine | Plowmen dig my earth | None of them along the line | Know what any of it is worth); whereas in The Eagle’s “Hotel California” (So I called up the Captain |’Please bring me my wine’ | He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’), wine cryptically alludes to the plethora of socio-political issues involving the music industry, as well as the Catholic Church, as opposed to alcohol as one may think.

The list goes on with The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” and the clear reference to groupies longing for the Stones’ legendary frontman, despite his fondness for Jerry Hall (‘Hey, what’s the matter man? | We’re gonna come around at twelve | With some Puerto Rican girls that are just dyin’ to meet you. | We’re gonna bring a case of wine | Hey, let’s go mess and fool around | You know, like we used to’), as well as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, in which wine symbolises the trail of broken hearts caused by a girl drinking up her past lovers’ blood (I saw her today at the reception | A glass of wine in her hand | I knew she was gonna meet her connection | At her feet was her footloose man).

Love is poetically celebrated in Fastball’s “The Way”, which recounts the true story of a couple reconnecting on wine, while tapping into the depth of romance (They drank up the wine | And they got to talking | They now had more important things to say | And when the car broke down | They started walking | Where were they going without ever knowing the way).

The very tales that these songs tell are as riveting and enticing as their analogies and metaphors with the king of fermented beverages. Given its important role in human culture over the centuries, we cannot think of a more suitable partner in crime when it comes to the unfolding of existence, especially if experienced to 2000s indie rock music – we dare say – not without a little bit of nostalgia.

After all, to say it along the lines of Interpol, life is wine.

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