This Is A Souvenir: The Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee

July 13, 2009 | Graphic novels

It’s amazing to think about how many of our favourite songs are simply compelling stories put to music.

Consider how, while we all like something with nice rhythm and a good beat, it’s often the lyrics of a song, their meanings and the stories they tell, that connects us so deeply with the artists delivering them.

One of most entrancing lyricists over the past decade or so is Shirley Lee, frontman for the British indie pop band, Spearmint.

Lee’s poignant reflections — on love, loss, friendship, family — deep introspection and quirky imagination have had faithful fans playing Spearmint tracks over and over to catch the nuances (and enjoy the aforementioned nice rhythm and good beat).

Lee’s words have also inspired This Is A Souvenir: The Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee (Image Comics, $29.99 U.S., 208 pages), a provocative anthology that sees almost 40 creators reinterpret the lyrics of 19 Spearmint songs as short stories. While some of the visual translations follow the literal path of Lee’s lyrics, several — including standouts like Meet Mr. Marsden, a song about the monotony of life, reinterpreted by Brian Joines and Bob Rivard, and the titular This Is A Souvenir, a reflection on how music is the soundtrack of our lives, by Mike Holmes — both capture the original meaning and add some fresh ideas to the mix.

(This review first appeared in the Toronto Star)

You must be logged in to post a comment.