“The worst things in life come free to us…
‘cus we’re just under the upper hand…
She don’t wanna go outside tonight…
It’s too cold outside for angels to fly…”
(Ed Sheeran “A-Team”)
“…I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why.
So I walk up on high,and I step to the edge, to see my world below. And I laugh at myself while the tears roll down, because it’s the world I know,”
(Collective Soul “The World I Know”)
“It’s not a cry that you hear at night. It’s not someone who has seen the light. It’s a cold and broken Hallelujah,” (K.D. Lang’s version of “Hallelujah”)
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Oh my soul. Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul. I worship your holy name,” (Matt Redman “10,000 Reasons”)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong
You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through
Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Wouldn’t it be nice
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldnt do
We could be married
And then wed be happy
Wouldn’t it be nice
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Wouldn’t it be nice
(Who knew the Beach Boys were being all fuzzy romantic in that one?)
Don’t you hate song lyrics that seem like they say something, but they don’t really? As an English teacher, I find it incredibly difficult to convince teenagers that writing well matters. One of the horrible habits I’ve made it my mission to combat is intentional wordiness. Kids will add all sorts of crap to their essays just to make them longer. They don’t care about making sense; they just know they need to fill space on the page, so they fill it… just as their favorite song writers do. They come up with lyrics that don’t make sense or don’t convey the intended meaning.
Example: “I need you like a heart needs a beat.”
I don’t have any clue who does the song with those lyrics or what the song is called. Let’s google.Okay, so the song is called “Apologize” and the artist is One Republic.
I don’t think a heart technically needs a beat. Maybe I don’t get the analogy, but I’m not sure I want a guy needing me like a heart needs a beat. I don’t think that’s flattering, and I’m not sure it means anything.
Example 2: “You were Romeo; I was a scarlet letter.”
This one is from one of those Taylor Swift songs, and I think this particular one is called “Love Song”. And it makes sense that she was like 15 when she wrote this. Most of us understand that the scarlet letter was a big ‘A’ sewn into the clothes of someone caught in adultery. Again, I may be just missing the analogy here, but it doesn’t seem romantic that a man would be Romeo (kills himself) and I would be a big ‘A’ sewn into someone’s clothes, and that somehow equals love.
Example 3: “Is it really him or the loss of my innocence, I’ve been missing so much?”
This one is from a song called “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter, and it’s the one that bothers me the most. I think the intent was to write something more like “Do I miss him, or do I actually miss my innocence?” But that’s not what it says. Who misses the loss of their innocence? Nobody. It’s not something people miss.
There are a ton of lyrics out there that make me cranky, but these are the ones I most often encounter. Which lyrics vex you?
Image by Jonas de los Reyes via Flickr
I was driving to work last week, and the song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” came on.
And I started singing…
I said, “What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?”
She said, “I think I remember the bell man. As I recall, I think we both kinda liked him.”
I said, “Well, that’s one thing we’ve got.”
And something felt a little bit off about those lyrics.
For awhile, I couldn’t figure out what it was, but then I remembered a conversation I’d had with my roommates when Eucalyptus Biscuit told me she thought the words were, “… I think I remember the film and as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it…”
And let’s be honest here – my version of the lyrics sounds less correct. I’ve only seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s one time, and there might be a bell man, but it still makes more sense with E.B.’s lyrics.
And then I thought, I should just look the lyrics up online. That’s the only way to know for sure.
Question: why do I need to know for sure? and how can we deprive future generations of the personal growth that can only come by unabashedly singing the wrong lyrics in front of people who know the right ones? And isn’t it just more fun to be wrong sometimes?
In protest to always having the answers, I’m going to sing those same wrong lyrics for the rest of my life!
I said, “I think I remember the bell man…”