Most people don't really listen to music when they're looking for a laugh, but sometimes an artist will throw a line in there that will, at the very least, get you smiling. Here are eight artists who like to mix up their lyrics with humor every once in a while.
All of the music journalists who refer to Morrissey as "the Pope of Mope" probably aren't big fans of his, because any of his fans can tell you how funny he can be. For every line he writes that's dripping in self-pity or attacking a person who wronged him, he'll write another in which he skewers himself, like on "The Queen is Dead."
Laugh-Line: "She said 'I know you, and you cannot sing'/I said 'That's nothing, you should hear me play piano.'"
2. Jens Lekman
Pretty much all of Jens Lekman's songs are explicitly autobiographical, and though he sometimes sounds like a hopeless romantic (especially on his last album), many of the stories he tells in his songs almost play out like sitcom episodes, such as "A Postcard to Nina," in which he pretends to be the boyfriend of his lesbian friend Nina during dinner with her father.
Laugh-Line: "I get a little nervous and change the subject/I put my hand on some metal object/He jokes and tells me it's a lie detector."
3. Randy Newman
If you knew nothing about Randy Newman and took his lyrics out of context, he'd come across as a sociopathic, bloodthirsty racist. Luckily, most of Newman's songs are satirical, such as the war-mongering "Political Science."
Laugh-Line: "We give them money, but are they grateful?/No, they're spiteful and they're hateful/They don't respect us, so let's surprise them/Let's drop the big one and pulverize them."
4. Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal)
Though Kevin Barnes has written entire albums about his struggles with depression, he still manages to write some light-hearted songs, like "Tim I Wish You Were Born a Girl" from Of Montreal's debut album Cherry Peel.
Laugh-Line: "Tim, I wish you were born a girl/So I could've been your fiancé/I'm not saying you can't be all these things for me/But it's just not the same 'cuz you're a man, and so am I."
5. Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart is known for his neo-hippie vibe and psychedelic lyrics, but sometimes this psychedelia turns itself into hilarious semi-nonsense like "Chinese Children," in which Banhart lists all of the places where he could live and still have Chinese children. I don't get it either.
Laugh-Line: "If I lived in China, I'd have some Chinese children...If I lived in Ireland, I'd have some Chinese children..." and so forth.
6. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement)
There's really no way of telling what any Pavement song is about. In one verse you'll think you've figured it out, but then in the next verse, Stephen Malkmus will just go off on a tangent about something completely unrelated.
Laugh-Line: 'What about the voice of Geddy Lee?/How did it get so high?/I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy/(I know him, and he does)/And you're my fact-checkin' cuz."
Seattle pop-punk band Tacocat have taken riot grrrl feminism and injected tons of humor into it, singing about anything from spoiled rich girls to urinary tract infections to not wanting to go to second-base on a first date.
Laugh-Line: "Leotard's gonna help you save face/When you just don't wanna go to second base."
8. They Might Be Giants
I don't think any piece of music makes me laugh harder than They Might Be Giant's "Fingertips" suite on its album Apollo 18, which consists of 20 incredibly brief songs (many are less than 10 seconds) flowing together like side two of Abbey Road. The lyrics aren't even very funny on paper, but the absurdity with which they're thrown at you makes your head spin.
Laugh-Line: "I heard a sound/I turned around/I turned around to find the thing that made the sound."