I Was Afraid of Worms Roxanne! Worms!

by Bill

          “Hey soul sister, ain’t that Mister Mister on the radio,  stereo the way you move ain’t fair you know”– Pat Monahan, Train, from “Hey, Soul Sister”

Awesomely horrible or just plain awesome?  I say just plain awesome.  Not everybody can be Bob Dylan and most of those in music who try end up writing bizarre crap that sounds like stoned tenth-graders contemplating the mysteries of the universe.

And does it really matter? Sure the greatest songs tell great stories and provide some sort of insight to the human condition– but there’s also a lot of fantastic songs where the lyrics make about as much sense as putting on meth.  Sometimes the lyrics don’t matter at all– the Black Eyed Peas had two songs that held the number one spot on the charts for almost the entire summer– “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Got A Feeling”.

Boom Boom Pow:

I like that boom boom pow
Them chickens jackin’ my style
They try copy my swagger
I’m on that next shit now

I’m sorry, what? You say there’s a chicken jackin’ your style?  Okay, obviously Will.I.Am is indicating that he’s super fly and that “they” (other sound-out-the-name rappers?) are copying his flyness, but that the joke is on them because he’s already moved on to something way more fly.  Got it? No? Doesn’t matter, just yell “BOOM BOOM POW” at the right times and shake your rump!

How about “I Gotta Feeling”?  Here’s the first two minutes of lyrics from the number one song of the summer of 2009:

I gotta feeling…
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

I gotta feeling…
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

I gotta feeling… (Woohoo)
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

I gotta feeling… (Woohoo)
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

If you’re having trouble deciphering that one, I think he’s indicating that he feels like it’s going to be a good night.  (To me the second “good” in the last line of each stanza is what gives it away.)

Will.I.Am: “I don’t think I’m getting my point across as hard as I want to, whaddya guys think?”

Fergie: “How bout if we put a second “good” in that last line– you know, so it doesn’t just say that it’s going to be a good night…. but a good, GOOD night…. you know?… you see what I’m sayin?”

Will.I.Am: “BINGO! Grammy!”

And of course it doesn’t matter– that song is audio crack.  Helen Keller would start dancing to that song.  She might bump into a few things, but by God, she’d dance.

Those of you old enough to have watched “American Bandstand” can remember that they always had two songs square off against eachother and the kids on site would vote on a winner.  Dick Clark would ask one of the dancing couples what they liked about the winning song and the answer was ALWAYS some version of, “It had a great beat and it was easy to dance to.”

You never heard, “the plight of the characters in that song really moved me” or, “I loved the story arc from the first verse to the end”….. It had a great beat and it was easy to dance to!

Now nobody’s going to listen to “Boom Boom Pow” when they’re trying to sooth a broken heart and nobody’s going to listen to “Lost In Your Eyes” * when they are getting ready for a night on the town (unless, of course, they’re totally cool).

That’s what’s so great about music– it means nothing, it means everything, it means whatever you want it to mean to you.  Some songs are great poetry, some songs are jibberish, some songs make you want to dance and some songs make you want to suck your thumb and take the fetal position. 

* Yeah that’s right, I dropped some Debbie Gibson on you… what, you’re too cool for that? Save it.

“Hey, Soul Sister” is a new song by Train– and it’s a great song– totally bouncy and catchy– but some of the lyrics are beyond brutal.  I happen to love the shout-out to Mister Mister, but trust me, it gets worse. Try this on:

You gave my life direction
A game show love connection, we can’t deny
I’m so obsessed
My heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest

Dude, really???? Really???? Never, ever, ever, ever mention your untrimmed chest again and I’ll be good, thank you.

And then:

So gangster, I’m so thug
You’re the only one I’m dreaming of

Just stop it.  Have you seen Pat Monahan? He makes Rob Thomas look like the middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears. He ain’t thug.  And to think this was a guy who music hipsters thought might be one of them when he came out with “Meet Virginia” years back because he talked of her smoking a pack a day, oh wait that’s me, but anyway…

And having said all that, I’m really liking “Hey, Soul Sister” right now.  I’m a sucker for the bounce.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love great lyrics, I do…. but that’s another post for another day.

Well, okay, here’s a couple: from the Gin Blossoms “Lost Horizons”… the guy’s been dating the girl for a bit too long and there’s just no more spark and he’s out with her and he sings, “I’ll drink enough of anything… to make this girl look new again”– ouch!

Or The Replacements song, “Love You Till Friday”…. I mean the title says it all, doesn’t it?… the guy is in a relationship who’s promise can’t hold a candle to the promise offered by a Friday night of hitting the town with his boys.

Anyway, happy weekend to everyone– go get some BOOM BOOM POW!

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm  Comments (8)  

Is This Stockholm Syndrome?

by Muzz

The other day I was remembering a song that one of my older brothers wrote about me. I smiled to myself, thinking about how fun it was being the youngest in the family. “How sweet,” thought I.  “I bet not a lot of kids have brothers who would put so much time or effort into making  up a song for their young sibling,  kids who surely look up to their brothers as much as I did mine!”

“Oh  Muzzy, you’re so fat.

Because you ate all the food that you ate”

Takes me back… I honestly can’t remember if it was Billy or Joe.  It does seem more likely- from the level of meanness– that it was Joe,  but I’m really leaning more towards Billy.  Doesn’t matter.  Time flies and memories get fuzzy.

Anyway,  I was thinking of that lovely ditty written for my 10 year old self because in a few months sweet, angelic little Annie will be a big sister. I wonder, will she ever write whimsical songs or play Chinese water torture, or turn off the lights and lock the door of whatever room the new sister is in? Or will she ever stuff a giant wad of steak fat into the water glass of her little brother, and laugh hysterically  while she watches him unknowingly  take a big refreshing gulp?  Maybe she’ll try to teach the newbie how to fist fight when he turns  four, or wake the child from a nap by sticking her smelly butt right up close to it’s  face and letting rip.  Maybe she’ll pull the old  “C’mere! It’ll  tickle your eyeball if  I squeeze this orange peel into it!”   Will she ever lie on the living room floor- patiently waiting for some younger, weaker kid to walk by-  just so that she can grab on tightly around their ankle, rendering their whole body as useless as if their  foot had been sucked into the house’s very foundation?

I seriously hope so.   When the young child inevitably runs to me for help, I’ll smile, put down my gin and offer the same words of comfort my mother gave to me:  “Oh sweetie, nobody like a tattle”.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm  Comments (4)