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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Do Forget The Lyrics

Since my car is almost as old as I am, the lighter thingy died recently.
We all know I'm not a smoker, so why is this important? I can no longer listen to my own music choices as I was using the lighter to power my iPod.
Since my CD player also broke about a year ago, I am now forced to listen to the radio whenever I drive. As I've been listening to the radio, I've noticed how in many hit songs, the lyrics simply don't make sense.

So I've decided to highlight some of those songs here to see if my readers can help me understand what these lyricists were thinking when they penned these songs. After all, not every song can be lyrically perfect like "If U Seek Amy."

Black Eyed Peas - "Boom Boom Pow"
To say that this song is lyrically unsound is an understatement. Although the entire song confuses me with it onomatopoeia overload, the song kind of makes sense in a strange BEP way. Basically, the entire song is an anthem declaring that the Black Eyed Peas are the future of music. As Fergie so eloquently puts it, the Peas are 'so 3008' while others are 'so 2000 and late.' Although that is my favorite line of the year, there is one line in the song that confuses me even moreso than the rest of the song. During one of the parts sung by one of those random men who are not Fergie Ferg, they state:

"Cause we got the beat that bounce
We got the beat that pound
We got the beat, that 808
That boom, boom in your town."

If the Black Eyed Peas really do posess 'that future boom boom boom' then why do they even mention their 808 usage? I understand that Kanye is bringing the 808 back, but how does using technology from the 80s make you futuristic? If the Peas really want to be innovative and display 'that future flow' in their music, they should create completely new sounds instead of working with such old equipment. Their inability to craft new music makes me question whether they really are the future of music. Not that their terrible songs don't already do the job....

Carrie Underwood - "Before He Cheats"
I know that American Idol Carrie Underwood looks awesome in this video and I completely understand how everyone wants to be able to relate to this song (except few are actually brave enough to do the stuff she says, just dream about it). But there is ONE line in this song that baffles me. After dealing out some karma to her cheating ex-boyfriend by destroying his truck, Carrie sings:

I might've saved a little trouble for the next girl
'Cause the next time that he cheats....
Oh, you know it won't be on me

Now, by destroying his truck, Carrie believes that her ex-boyfriend will NOT take her back one day (she's probably right) so that the next time that he DOES cheat on someone, it will not affect HER. So, hasn't she just 'saved a little trouble' for herself? I could understand if she sang, "I might've saved a little trouble for the next girl.... cause he'll never cheat on anyone ever again cause I trashed his truck." Instead, she assumes he will cheat again, just not on HER, and thinks that she has somehow helped 'the next girl,' which she hasn't.
And besides, doesn't Ms. Underwood spend both verses complaining about how this 'next girl' is a non-whiskey shooting tramp who likes singing Shania karaoke and is a poor pool player? Why would she even want to save her a little trouble?
Don't get me wrong, I kind of like this song (although it was WAY overplayed). But these lyrics confuse me. Have any of you done a Carrie Underwood on your exes vehicle and can clarify what she means?

Utada - "This One (Crying Like A Child)"
I'm assuming that most of you don't know Utada, but a line in her song "This One (Crying Like A Child)" confuses me so much that I decided to include it. Utada is a huge superstar in Japan and recently released her 2nd English album here in the US. I love her new CD and especially this song. She spends the whole song mourning the loss of her ex-boyfriend (maybe she can do a duet with Carrie?) with sad lyrics like, "How could I ever love another?" and "God knows I'd give anything for just one more night together." Then in the bridge she sings:

You got me crying like a child
No need for me to lie
You got me crying like a child
And the crowd is going wild

Alright, now I know that a lot of artists might include a line like "the crowd is going wild" in a song they expect to perform live or something. I can easily see this line in a rap song or a somewhat arrogant anthem (maybe it fits better in Boom Boom Pow?). But the entire song is filled with sorrowful lamentations and has NOTHING to do with Utada being a singer or audiences in general. I really think that line was included just so it could rhyme with child. I guess mild or filed doesn't work either, but the line throws me off enough to appear in this list.

Rihanna - "Rehab"
Whenever I complain about Rihanna's lyrical confusion in this song, people always yell at me and say I'm being too picky, but whatever, I have the right to complain. So in the 146th single from her latest CD, Rihanna croons about her ex-boyfriend being bad for her (duh) and in the chorus sings:

It's like I checked into rehab
And baby you're my disease

Don't you go to rehab for addictions, not diseases? Alright, I know, I know. Alcoholism is sometimes considered a disease. The problem is, that in other parts of the song, Rihanna says that she doesn't want to 'smoke all these cigarettes no more' and that her ex was like, 'her favorite drug.' She also comments on how hard it is to let him go. I think it is quite clear that she meant that her ex is like an addiction, not a disease. The worst part is, disease doesn't rhyme with anything else in the song anyway, so she could have easily adjusted the lyrics. And I'm saying all this like Rihanna wrote the song (really, Justin Timberlake did!)

Katy Perry - "Thinking Of You"
Oh, Katy Perry. She and I have a difficult relationship (though not as difficult as the one she had with whatever guy she wrote this song about apparently). "Thinking Of You" is not-so-secretly my favorite song to scream/cry to, but ever since Ms. Perry betrayed me I feel the need to criticize her bad lyrics. So here goes. In this song, Katy sings:

Like an apple hanging from a tree
I picked the ripest one-
I still got the seed

While it's nice that Katy has moved on from the simply rhymes from "Hot 'N Cold" and is trying to work with a simile here, her logic is pretty flawed. Apples contain seeds. Whether she picks the ripest apple or not, she will 'get the seed.' Maybe this isn't really an example of bad songwriting, but a testament to Katy's lack of knowledge when it comes to fruit. Then again, she did perform at the Grammy's in a fruit dress and she does often have giant fruit props in her stage design. So I'm not letting this one slide. Now, go watch the heartbreaking video and don't pay attention to what she's saying.

So any clarification here? Am I being too critical, or do these lyrics confuse you too?


Jere Keys said...

Well, I've known a lot of people in and out of rehab programs and it's pretty common that they refer to their addiction as their disease. I've heard that usage so often that it never would have occurred to me to question it.

I don't understand anything Lady Gaga says ever. Like that one where she's gambling or something and then she's doing something with a breakfast pastry... I have no idea.

Nathan V. said...

Silly Enrico, lyrics don't have to make any sense. If lyrics always had to make sense I don't think there would be anything on the radio....

Polt said...

I've never even heard of any of these songs....

God, I am so old...


Tam said...

You are hilarious.

I think Carrie is trying to allude to the fact that he'll think twice before cheating on the next girl after having to pay for truck repairs, but you're right, she is already hating on the slut he cheated on her with so why does she care?

Katy should also be aware that apples have MORE than one seed. They have several. Maybe she meant peach, but then it would be a pit or a stone. I think you're right, her knowledge of fruit is lacking. That's what happens when you are raised by uber-religious parents, no fruit education. Its sad.

As for the others, I'm a BEP hater so everything they do is stupid and I've never heard of the Japanes girl, but yeah, a duet with Carrie lamenting men might work.

Polt: I can't believe you've never heard some of these. Tsk tsk.

that's J-O-S-H said...

in your eyes i'd like to stay. :( :( :( x 3 million

hoteltuesday said...

Jere: Lol! I was going to include Gaga in some way since I don't like her and think all of her songs don't make sense. I actually like Poker Face though...

Nathan: Not true. Tons of songs make sense. Then again, those aren't the ones that make it on the radio, so maybe you're right.

Polt: How have you NOT heard "Boom Boom Pow"?! That awful song has been #1 for TEN weeks. And "Before He Cheats" was one of the most overplayed songs of 2006 AND 2007. And it won a Grammy. And Teri Hatcher sang it on American Idol. lol.

Tam: You're a BEP hater?? Thank God. I love Fergie's solo CD, but think every song BEP ever made is terrible.
And next time you see Polt, give him a mix CD of today's hits please. lol.

Josh: Did you hear the Jonas Brothers cover "Thinking of You" and sing the lyrics wrong?
It made me cry too, but for different reasons.

Polt said...

I don't listen to top 40 radio. That's why God invented an iPod, so I NEVER have to listen to Top40 again.


john said...

I'm so sorry about your car! I would DIEZ (channeling my inner Josh) if I had to listen to the radio and not my iPod.

I'm confused by all of them except Rhianna, that made some sense to me. She needs rehab from her abusive, I mean allegedly abusive boyfriend.

Chris D. said...

There is a line in the song Just Like a Pill by Pink that drives me nuts whenever I hear it. It is, "I can't stay on your life support, there's a
_shortage_ in the switch,
I can't stay on your morphine, cuz its making me
itch". The correct word is short!!! There is an electrical _short_ circuit in the switch, not an under supply!!! Maybe I am just a nerd, but it bothers me. Sometimes I wish songwriters would have technical specialists review their lyrics for them. ;)

Someone has been a busy blogger recently.

Michelle M. said...

I love me some Tori Amos - but her lyrics...

Furry mussels marching on
She thinks she's Kaiser Wilhelm
Or a civiliais (civilized?) syllabub
To blow your mind
Figure it out

I can't figure it out. I have no idea what the hell that means.

And what about the deal
on the flying trapeze
Got a peanut butter hand
But honey do drop in
At the Dew Drop Inn

that's J-O-S-H said...

I did hear their cover. How awful. And what dumboz! They didn't even sing the best part...aka the ending versing!

HATEZ IT! We should record our own cover.

hoteltuesday said...

John: But is being attracted to said BF more like a disease, or an addiction? Hmm....

Michelle M: lol! Yeah, those are interesting lyrics. I feel like Tori is one of those artists who can get away with writing strange, nonsensical lyrics.
They remind me of my hg Leona Naess's lyrics:

"I'll never feel the weight of your hands
inside mine like diamonds
Lace so fine, ballerina
Cupcake in my earthquake"

LOVE the song, love LN, but have no idea what that means.

Chris D.: Ahh. I never noticed that! But I do love that song (and Pink) so I excuse it.

Josh: Oh my God. We are TOTALLY doing that now. Seriously. And I'm blogging about it. Please clear your schedule. It's happening.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.