That's What the Song Says?

I love music. I come by it naturally, as my Dad has thousands and thousands of reels, albums, tapes, CDs and maybe even a few MP3s in his collection. Music can cheer us up, make us cry. Take us back to that 8th grade dance, or remind us of that one concert when... I love that when you go to a wedding, the couple chooses the song they wish to first dance to. It kinda gives you a peek into their relationship.
Do you ever really sit and think about what the singer is saying? There are poignant moments like Ben Harper: "I hate to say I love you because it means that I will be with you forever, or will sadly live a lie", or insightful like Bob Marley: "The biggest man you ever did see, was once a baby in this life", or obvious- like "Let's Get It On" or "I Feel Like Making Love (To You)". Other times they can make no sense at all like Zoe's favorite, Beck in "Loser": "and my time is a piece of wax, fallen on a termite, who's choking on a splinter". Huh?
I have written once before about people singing song lyrics wrong in "Seasick!" (and heard from you your own lyric mix-ups. Holy crap- Elton John's "Hold me close, now Tony Danza" instead of 'Tiny Dancer' had me in tears laughing!). Today, I am parsing the lyrics to some well known songs because sometimes, that song you're belting out, may be totally different from what you think. (These are also my own interpretations, and I may be way off the mark, but, well, I don't really care-feel free to correct me or add your own.)
Take "Beth" by Kiss. Poor Beth. You call your man to come home. You know he hears you, but, well, he's out playing with the boys in the band and they're calling him too. You lose. Beth, what can he do?
The sweet melody of Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" belies the real seediness underneath. Cocaine and tequila have never been serenaded so sweetly. "The Cuervo Gold, the fine Columbian". Besides The Soft Pack, this is my favorite band named after a dildo (can I say that word here? Click for other band name origins).
Scott & I have been laughing recently about some of those old love songs (or blatant 'do me' songs). Bob Seegar's "We've Got Tonight" is totally hilarious. Picture it now: wine, cozy fireplace, just the two of you. He looks into your eyes and says: Hey baby. I know it's late. You're weary. I know your plans don't include me. Still...(caressing fingers) here we are. Both of us lonely (deep look into your eyes)... we've got tonight. Why don't you stay?  Smooooth.
Asia's "Heat of the Moment". Really dude? You looked in her eyes, she wasn't really your type but saw she wanted you, so you did her. You never meant to be so bad to her, but it was in the heat of the moment-telling you what her heart meant- and showed in her eyes.
Let us not forget my favorite Gay Anthem (there are several great ones, mostly by Queen-who rock!) Take the Village People's "YMCA". I love that the Cubbies use this during their pitcher change and everyone dances to it. Ahem: Young man, has life got you down? Cheer up! I know a place you can go where other young men are hanging out too. I'm sure you will find many ways to have a good time. It's FUN to stay here. Wink wink. Don't even get me started on "In The Navy!" 
"Arrested Development" (I still miss that TV show) had the dad and his niece sing karaoke to "Afternoon Delight".  As they sing it, they realize (to their growing horror) at how naughty this song is and are mortified.- I'm gonna find my baby, hold her tight, and get me some day-time nookie. We could make a lot of lovin' 'for the sun goes down! Ooooh yeah!
Depeche Mode's "Strangelove" (thank you Chris) was a new one for me, though I have sang it several times. Naughty! - Honey, don't count on me to stand by you, as I give in to sin. I stray, but I'll make it worth your while. I'll make your heart smile. Oh, and I am into pain (S&M? Spanking? What?). Will you return it?
The award for worst lyrics EVER is for Mac Arthur Park by Donna Summer. Really? You're singing about how someone left a green frosted cake out in the rain? Don't you have anything better to share with the world than lamenting a lost cake recipe? Our friend TJ would vehemently argue that "Muskrat Love" sucks worse, it's mighty close.
For the kiddies, there is the mythology around "Ring Around the Rosie" and whether it is connected to the black plague outbreaks. You gotta love the alternative end: Ashes, ashes, we all fall dead. I like to think there is some truth to this one, as it's so grimly dark. This little ditty we sing as we all fall to the ground-dead. Nice.
I shall leave you with what I think to be the best lyric ever written. I have said since I was about 14 that this is the song I want played at my funeral, and mostly for this very line- U2's "One Tree Hill": "I'll see you again when the stars fall from the sky and the moon has turned red over one tree hill."
Rock on.


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  • Thank you for the giggles to start my morning. Here's a conversation I had w/ Seamus a couple weeks ago:
    Seamus: "When I grow up I want to live @ the YMCA"
    Me: "Why?"
    Seamus: "Because, you can do whatever you feel, you can have a good meal, and you can hang out with all boys"
    He was so matter of fact, I had to bite the inside of my cheeck from laughing.

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