Why These Songs Should be Graphic Novels

Seven Songs With A Striking Narrative

Why This is relevant...

Not to long ago I came across a great article in BookRiot. Check it out, it is fantastic. The article discusses how some striking songs that have a distinct narrative, are prime candidates for a graphic novel adaptation. Often books become movies or television shows, but songs to graphic novel crossover is a perfect transition. Short and concise imaging. The example BookRiot gave was Proud Mary by Tina Turner. 

“This graphic novel might have a montage of a hardworking woman day after day in her various jobs, finally finding freedom and joy on the river boat Proud Mary.”

The narrative is simple but not easy to convey. Ike Turner is a serial abuser and drug addict. Tina must rise up from the abuse and stay strong. She ends by rowing on the riverboat Proud Mary. The Below songs offer similar tight story arcs:

A man coming to the realization that he does not know people’s stories.

A woman who does all she can to save herself.

A moment of lost love between two people.

The heartbreak of war and losing someone.

The rise of a guitar god.

Violence in schools.

The gathering of powerful individuals to change the world

It is truly amazing what you can create with a graphic novel.


What It's Like

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said, “Don’t worry about a thing, baby doll, I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of”
But three months later he say he won’t date her or return her calls
And she swear, “God damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls”

My Thoughts on the Plot

Obviously this song is about recognition that there are other people out there who are the heroes or villain protagonists of their own story. You are nothing but a throw away character. Stop judging. 

I can imagine a graphic novel that details one man’s journey of acceptance to those around him. One day he ends up walking in their shoes.

Reba Mcentire


“I remember it all very well lookin’ back
It was the summer I turned eighteen
We lived in a one room, rundown shack
On the outskirts of New Orleans
We didn’t have money for food or rent
To say the least we were hard pressed
Then Mama spent every last penny we had
To buy me a dancin’ dress”

My Thoughts on the Plot..

A woman follows her mother’s advice and seeks the company of a few gentleman that helped pull her from poverty. Whether you believe what she did was right alone, doesn’t matter. Fancy lifted herself up from poverty the best way she could. 

Definite story arc of a woman trying to raise herself up with all the tools she had at her disposal and no shame.


Juke Box Hero

“Standing in the rain, with his head hung low
Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show
Heard the roar of the crowd, he could picture the scene
Put his ear to the wall, then like a distant scream
He heard one guitar, just blew him away
He saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day”

My Thoughts on the Plot..

The rise of a rockstar from listening to a backstage door. He becomes huge. But remembers the stage door. As he rises to the top. 

Dixie Chicks

Travelin Soldier

“Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army green
Sat down in a booth in a café there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
He’s a little shy so she give him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin’ down for a while
And talkin’ to me, I’m feeling a little low
She said I’m off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don’t care
I’ve got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you?
I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin’ for the love of a travelin’ soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin’ for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier’s coming home

My Thoughts on the Plot..

Two days past eighteen, a soldier, ready to go to war, has a sweet conversation with a waitress at restaurant. He asks if he can write to her while he is away at war. He has no one else. They spend an hour or so talking by the pier before his fate arrives to claim him.

They exchange letters, ones that show how much they love each other. In the last moments of the song we hear a piccolo player in the high school marching band, crying under the football stadium stands as the names of local Vietnam dead are read.

A pure moment captured by the Dixie Chicks. A moment that many women felt during the way waiting for their soldiers to come home.

Pearl Jam


“At home drawing pictures Of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun
Arms raised in a V

Dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didn’t give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn’t care
King Jeremy the wicked
Oh, ruled his world”

My Thoughts on the plot..

Violence, violence violence. This song is precinct  when it dropped in 1994. Pearl Jam had no idea the amount of gun violence in schools and how it affects the victim and aggressor. 


Someone Like You

“I heard, that you’re settled down
That you found a girl and you’re, married now

I heard, that your dreams came true
I guess she gave you things
I didn’t give to you
Old friend, why are you so shy
Ain’t like you to hold back
Or hide from the light
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but I
Couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
I had hoped you’d see my face
And that you be reminded that for me it isn’t over

My Thoughts on the plot..

We have all been there. A lost love that we think fondly of. Sometimes it is over, but sometimes it is not. This song is about that. I can see this as a gorgeously drawn story of a woman yelling to the heavens her pain, and find love within herself and resignation that time moves on. 

Metal Made Flesh

The Glitch Mob

We Can Make the World Stop

“Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.

My Thoughts on the plot..

This song is pure science fiction. The video lays out a tremendous story already. A man is taken to a ratty house and is surrounded by thugs. Not all is it seems. THere is power here. 

All it needs to be is to be transferred to a graphic novel. 


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