Sunday, September 30

What's that guy saying?

It's kind of funny that I should be one of the TFCers asked to write about music this month. It's kind of funny because I have no talent in that regard. I can't play an instrument, can only sing on key sporadically, and whenever called upon to take part in rhythmical clapping as part of a large group, eventually I find myself clapping at beats that - obviously - no one else is hearing.

Then, too, there's the problem of me being one of the oldest, if not *the* oldest, TFCer - I could practically be The Crypt-Keeper here! This means that a lot of what I like - Frank Sinatra, Warren Zevon, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull - is likely of little interest to teens. Now I do listen to the radio in the car. The problem with that though is that DJs so rarely tell you who's singing what anymore, so even when I like something I have no clue about who I'm listening to. I'm forever finding myself trying to sing lyrics to other people, hoping they can tell me the arist/title so I can go out and buy the CD. Since my singing is of questionable quality, and since I have a habit of getting the lyrics wrong, this process can take quite some time.

Which brings us to the problem of lyrics.

From the time I was little, I had trouble deciphering lyrics. And it doesn't help that as I've grown older, I've become slightly hard of hearing, meaning my phone conversations make me sound like Manuel, the Portuguese waiter on that old show "Fawlty Towers": "Que?" "Que?" "QUE?" When I was young, and my older brother and I would have Mom play the radio in the car, I'd be singing along in my happy little private world, only to have my brother say, "What did you just sing?" So I'd tell him. So he'd tell me that what I was singing wasn't the same words the guy was singing. So I'd ask him what the guy *was* singing, only to be met with a superiorly mysterious, "Whatever he's singing, it's not what you're singing." What a vicious circle!

There's a song I've really liked the last few years on the radio and I finally even learned the title of it: "Lonely No More," by Rob Thomas. But there's a line in it that confused me for the longest time. I *thought* he was singing "Open up to me - let me do your girlfriends." And all I could think of was, How can you "doing" my girlfriends make me want to go back to you??? Maybe, if you've been "doing" my girlfriends, *that's* the reason you're so lonely? It was a puzzle. Well, I finally learned that Mr. Thomas is *really* saying, "Open up to me, like you do your girlfriends." Ah, the light goes on!

This is all a longwinded way of getting to the question of the day: WHAT LYRICS HAVE YOU REPEATEDLY SCREWED UP IN YOUR HEAD, ONLY TO FIND OUT LATER THAT THE TRUE LYRICS CARRY A FAR DIFFERENT MEANING? (Or anything else you want to tell me about music or writing or life.)

11 comments:

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Lauren-
There's actually a book out there about this very thing-- S'CUSE ME WHILE I KISS THIS GUY- (a riff on a Jimmy Hendrix song)!

As someone who also has no musical talent, sadly, my rock star dreams were not meant to be, so I am now a dedicated car karaoke performer-
and my most recent blunder was in Peal Jam's "Black" (one of the most tragic love songs ever!), when he says-- " . . .untouched sheets of clay were laid spread out before me as her body once did--

I thought he said - " . . .her legs spread out before me . . ."

Which, um, changes things a bit. . .

Erica Orloff said...

The list of songs I have screwed up the lyrics to is too long to illuminate here. :-) However, now that I have discovered AZLYRICS.com, I can plug in even what little I know of a song, or an artist, and get the free lyrics there for me to go "Ah HA, that's what the heck he was singing about."

However, I would say THE song that I had NO idea what the lyrics were, that I was usually and profoundly singing the wrong words to was Springsteen's Blinded by the Light--and the CORRECT opening lines are:

Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat

In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat

And while I was usually singing of something too diry to mention here, the ACTUAL chorus is:

And she was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
She got down but she never got tight, but she'll make it alright


:-)

Jessica Burkhart said...

LOL Lauren about the Rob Thomas lyrics! :) I'm with Erica, I mess up too many lyrics to count.

Gerb said...

LOL Erica, I made the same mistake with Blinded by the Light. Belted it out one day while driving with my mom and her eyes went wide. "WHAT?"

Of course, she had her own mistakes... when she was young, she thought that old Nat King Cole song said, "Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have made you."

And that Elton John was singing, "She's got electric boobs, a mohair suit..."

Yah, I often get confused. It took me a looooong time to figure out the Lip Gloss song and I'm still not convinced Timbaland isn't saying, "I don't need the cheese or the car keys..."

Amanda Ashby said...

OMG - this post had me laughing here because I do that all the time. My all time favorite blooper is the Billy Idol song, Mony Mony (well, I say Mony Mony, but I KNOW that the real words were 'ride the pony'!!!!)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

OK, irony of ironies? I have no problem with the lyrics from "Blinded by the Light." That's me all over: "A Rose is a Rose" will throw me every time, but just give me a glass of wine and watch me do the "Jabberwocky."

Sara Hantz said...

These are so funny. I'm always getting the lyrics wrong..... and once you have your version in your head it's impossible to change, even when you find out what they're meant to be!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Hey, Sara!

My seven-year-old daughter mislyrics things too, e.g., for the longest time she sang "Let's pumpkin up the party now!" We did not tell her that her way was wrong because it was cuter. I mean, who wouldn't want to pumpkin up the party???

Kelly Parra said...

I'm horrible, horrible at lyrics! In fact I can never understand what they are singing. hehe.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Not at all, Kelly? How awful! You must get to the end of "Twinkle, Twinkle" and think they're saying, "how I wonder where's the bar." Oh, well. Might as well pumpkin up the party now!

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