Wednesday, 16 January 2019

My Top Ten Mona Lisa Songs

Just managing to keep the lights on at My Top Ten at the moment. Here are ten songs about the most famous / miserable painting in the world...

10. Wolf Alice - Moaning Lisa Smile

A song about feeling bad and having a good moan to get it out of your system.

A song about blogging, then?

9. Al Stewart - Mona Lisa Talking

Much underrated, Al Stewart...

These Renaissance girls know what they're saying
There are whispers at night in the halls of paintings
You think you're the first one to come untethered
But we've been watching you forever

8. Panic! At The Disco - The Ballad of Mona Lisa

A former student used to tell me (every lesson) that I looked like the lead singer of P!ATD, to the point that he started calling me Brendon. I don't see it myself, but I've been called far worse things.

7. Grant Lee Phillips - Mona Lisa

This is really quite lovely, especially the "burgundy smile you wore yesterday".

6. Strangelove - Mona Lisa

Patrick Duff wants to kiss a girl with a disappearing smile.

5. Television Personalities - Sad Mona Lisa

She likes to go shopping on Saturdays
Especially to Kensington Market
For acid house records her mother hates
And posters of Morten Harket

Extra points for rhyming Kensington Market with Morton Harket, obviously.

4. Brad Paisley - The Mona Lisa

I feel, like the frame
That gets to hold the Mona Lisa
And I don't care
If that's all I'll ever be

Brad Paisley makes this love-song writing malarky look easy.

3. Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa

What a voice. She'd have to smile at Nat! Similar smiles for Willie Nelson, Marvin Gaye... and Deano.

2. Jens Lekman - A Man Walks Into A Bar

Jens practices his chat up lines...

How many lovers does it take
To put a light bulb into a socket?
Why did Mona Lisa smile?
I have the answer written down in my pocket.

But it's not as creepy as that might sound...

I know why Mona Lisa smiled
Da Vinci must have been a really funny guy
And laughter is the only way into my heart

1. Elton John - Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters

For all his latter-day sins, early Elton takes some beating...

I could probably have stretched to another ten. The Manics would have got in here had they not thrown acid all over the painting. Which one leaves an enigmatic smile on your face?


  1. Jesse Malin has a song called Mona Lisa for the follow up top 10
    Graham Parker has an album called The Mona Lisa's Sister - but no songs with Mona Lisa in the title
    Nat would have been number 1 for me but a great list

    1. Jesse Malin was in contention but I could only find a live version on YouTube and was too lazy to upload my own copy.

  2. '...inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial, voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while, but Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues, you can tell by the way she smiles...'

    1. Extra marks for linking to last week's top ten.

  3. I'm truly gobsmacked that there's no mention of Graham Parker's album "The Mona Lisa's Sister" - especially since the song "Get started, start a fire" opens with:
    "The Mona Lisa's sister doesn't smile
    She tried to pose but only for a while
    Leonardo sent her home
    since then she has lived alone..."

  4. Reminds me of the film Mona Lisa with Bob Hoskins. Think the Nat King Cole song was the title track. Bob is sadly missed - loads of great films from him during that era (Long Good Friday - excellent).

    1. Yes, Nat's tune reminds me of that movie too.


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