Songs lie to us, and we are willing accomplices.  In the film Carousel, the Rodgers and Hammerstein ballad “You’ll Never Walk Alone” claims that “at the end of the storm there’s a golden sky and the sweet silver song of a lark.”  Rather than, say, rivers flooding their banks, widespread power cuts, and looting.  They must have had a different day (or storm) in mind.

Incidentally, what do moths do during power cuts, with no light bulbs to flock to, are they reduced to flapping their wings at the headlights of passing cars?

Songwriters are simply following the tried-and-true path whereby song lyrics offer us comforting untruths.  I mean, “the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye”?  Are we talking baby elephants here?  Are there even elephants in Oklahoma?  Or should I say, Oklahoma!

Some songs are deliberately created to tug at one’s heartstrings — “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” — or to boost one’s patriotism — national anthems — or to confirm one’s prejudices — “There is Nothin’ Like A Dame.”  (Never refer to a woman as a dame unless she has been ennobled.)  Other lies we are asked to swallow include such unlikely statements as, “I got plenty of nothing, and nothing’s plenty for me.”  I have less trouble believing Abba when they tell us “it’s always sunny, in a rich man’s world.”

Frequently, musical declarations are negative — “I never promised you a rose garden… along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime.”  Abba please note.  And sometimes the promises are tantalisingly vague: “Do you want to know a secret?  Do you promise not to tell?  Let me whisper in your ear…”  In 1965 Barry McGuire’s most negative statement of all was that we were on ‘The Eve of Destruction.’  You should never predict the end of the world, because you are almost sure to be wrong, and if you are right there’s no one left to congratulate you.

Occasionally, it is the singer who doesn’t want to deal with the truth.  “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies,” requests Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac.  Billy Joel, though, advises honesty, while warning us that “If you look for truthfulness, you might just as well be blind.”

Not only song lyrics cheat.  The Eagles bemoan the fact that “There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes, and your smile is a thin disguise.”  A woman may smile, and smile, and be a villain, as Hamlet almost said.

Most songs that feature those oft-used words ‘forever’ or ‘always’ contain promises that are not keepable, and consequently are in fact lies.  The song ‘Forever and a Day’ by the Dave Clark Five really pushes the envelope in that respect, and Willie Nelson’s version of ‘You Were Always On My Mind’ perhaps harks back to a time when Willie’s mind wasn’t 89 years old.

Even as a mere stripling of 76, nowadays I can’t hear the words “I never saw the sun shining so bright,” without thinking of skin damage and drought.  But I do wish you all — metaphorically at least — “Blue skies, nothing but blue skies from now on.”  And that’s no lie.

“This next one is a typical blues number about exceeding your data plan limit, cracking your iPad screen, and losing your new ear buds.”