Friday, June 13, 2008

Annoying song lyrics

Paul McCartney, "Live and Let Die":
In this ever-changing world in which we live in ...

Some say the last part is "in which we're livin'", but I don't think so. One blogger has pointed out that usps.gov has a password hint prompt that asks "In what city were you born in?"


Mike Oldfield, "Crises":
Crises, crises, there's gonna be a crises.

No, there may be multiple crises, but there would be a crisis.


Alanis Morissette, "Ironic" (whole song):

Inconvenience is not irony. Dealt with here.


The Flobots, "No Handlebars":
I can shoot a target through a telescope ...

Not without breaking it, you can't.


Anybody have any other song lyrics that are annoyingly ungrammatical, nonsensical, or stupid, that make you groan inwardly every time you hear them?

UPDATE (July 16, 2008): I can't believe I forgot this one, that I heard today on the way home from work:

The Beastie Boys, "Intergalactic":
... like a pinch from the neck of Mr. Spock.

This lyric is reported online as "like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock," or as "like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock," the former of which would make perfect sense and the latter of which would make some sense (perhaps referring to an action by a different Vulcan directed at Spock), but neither is what I hear the song say. Judge for yourself, it's at about 3:27 in the video.

9 comments:

brad said...

The Killers, "All these things that I've done"

A list of lines repeated:
If you can hold on
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the backburner
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down
I got soul, but I’m not a soldier

I think the soul/soldier line is repeated twenty times in a row toward the end of the song. It makes me think of a mentally disabled person obsessing on the word "soul" sounding like a word part of "soldier". The line is meaningless, as if taken from a drug-induced conversation where having a soul necessitates being a soldier.

This has the three worst elements of song writing:

repeated lines

the word "yeah" to jury-rig a song with a saccharine sense of meter

gobbledygook lines as an attempt to cram in cryptic meaning

tom said...

Songs that start with the word "and" have always irritated me. I'm sure there are better examples, but the MeatPuppets "Backwater" is the first that comes to mind:
"And when I wake up in the morning
To feel the daybreak on my face"

StoneTemplePilots' "Plush" is another:
"And I feel that times a wasted go
So where ya going to tommorrow?"

Pretty much anything involving Fergie tends to have unbearable lyrics, but I'll choose my two favorites:

1. From "Big Girls Don't Cry":
"I need some shelter of my own protection baby" (huh??) followed up by the equally incoherent "To be with myself and center, clarity, peace, serenity".

2. All of "My Humps", which was lambasted in an extremely funny Slate.com essay a few years ago:
(forgive my lack of html skills)
Notes on Humps: A Song So Awful it Hurts the Mind
http://www.slate.com/id/2131640/

Einzige said...

Actually, I quite dig that Killers tune, myself.

As you know, Jim, I've usually got lyrics at the ready for just about any occasion. In this instance I am, strangely, at a loss.

I'll give it some thought, though.

Jim Lippard said...

Einzige, I agree with you on The Killers' song--when it comes on the radio the impulse to sing along is stronger than the urge to strangle the singer or songwriter responsible.

I also don't find gobbledygook to necessarily be inherently annoying--I am a fan of the Cocteau Twins, and a lot of that is, if not actually gibberish, sung in a manner that it's mostly incomprehensible. I think the words were picked for sound over meaning. Shriekback and Wire also have songs where analysis of meaning is probably a waste of time, but they're still pleasant to listen to.

"My Humps" may be the example to beat all examples of what I was trying to convey with my choices, though.

Einzige said...

Shriekback lyrics are particularly noteworthy, I think.

Totally meaningless and yet so friggin' compelling!

We drink elixirs that we've refined
From the juices of the dying
We are no monsters
We're moral people
And yet we have the strength to do this
This is the splendor of our achievement
Call in the air strike with a poison kiss!

Mark said...

Vanessa Williams, "Save The Best For Last":

Sometimes the snow comes down in June
Sometimes the sun goes 'round the moon

Just nonsense filler words totally at odds with astronomy, meant to just sound beautiful, but they only make me cringe.

Mike the Mad Biologist said...

I don't exactly have a lyric, but I have a dissapointment.

Joe Cocker's (well, it was not him but he did the best cover of it) "feeling alright" (aka Feelin' alright)...

The words are NOT "I'm feeling alright, I'm felling alright" etc. etc. They are:

YOU are feeling alright. I"M not feeling so good myself...

I've noticed that people who have that wrong feel bad when they hear the correct words for the first time.

(Then there's that song .... about something being upstairs in the bathroom on the right...)

By the way, I'm not Mike the Mad Biologist. I'm Greg Laden the Happy Biologist. But Blogger and Google, between them, cannot handle complexity.

Jim Lippard said...

Here's an emailed comment from Brian R.:

I can't believe no one has mentioned some of the most famous and egregious examples. First off, there's this line from "Small Town" by my fellow Hoosier, John Mellencamp:

"No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from."

This mirrors the McCartney lyric not only in its structure, but in
that some people give a grammatically correct version (leaving out the first "from").

The next two examples are maybe the most famous and certainly the most grating to my ears - and they're both from The Doors!

"If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar." (L.A. Woman)

and

"I'm gonna love you
'Til the stars fall from the sky
For you and I" (Touch Me)

These two lyrics alone kept me from taking The Doors seriously for many years. (Now I can dislike them for other reasons, though!)

hysteria said...

*stumbling in and feeling compelled to reply*

Mark, as thoroughly annoying as Vanessa Williams and her song are, those are hardly "nonsense filler words", I do believe the lyric writer is actually trying to convey the idea that what you think impossible can sometimes happen. Snow in June (not so impossible here in Sweden, unfortunately), the sun going around the moon (not even in Sweden, thank God), these events are compared to the singer finding that someone she thought would always remain "just a friend" turned out to be her perfect love partner.

And now I can't believe that I took the time to discuss the merits of Vanessa Williams' lyrics. Good thing this will probably never be read by anyone ;)