Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm A Child Of The 80's Who Pays Attention To The Lyrics In Songs

Now, I'm like many of you and I'm a child of the late 70's and 80's. The picture to the left should be an indication of that (how many of you really remember this shirt?). I always liked knowing the words to songs so that singing along (and yes, I sing poorly) was more fun. I've spent a road trip in college trying to learn all the words to REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" while driving to the location of my liver's beatdown. As I've gotten older, I'm especially intrigued by lyrical workmanship. I have always maintained that Robert Smith of the Cure is not a songwriter, rather, he is a poet. Therefore, trite and thin songwriting is a pet peeve of mine.

Monday night, I’m working out at Gold's gym and I'm watching the chachs go to town lifting obscene amounts of weight. They're flexing and strutting trying to woo the 22 year old ladies each of whom probably refers to herself as "a young professional" when in reality all she does is answer the phones at a dentist's office. In the midst of this testosterone and fake 'n' bake induced mating ritual, Gold's has this "video music" system going on in the background. I put the phrase in quotes to signal my obvious dismay as to what they're calling music. It's a mix of bad pop music a la Ashley Simpson and terrible Euro-trash so called techno. It reeks of cheesiness and poor taste. What amazed me even more was watching the chachs really start getting worked up to some of the music.

Now I know most of us listen to music for the rhythm and not for the lyrics. I'll grant you that. But if you start lip-syncing the lyrics, then you've crossed the line and now you're squarely in my realm. Here are these chachs listening to a band that should be playing Six Flags and they were getting into it. It was as if it inspired them; like the insipid and trite lyrics were speaking to them. Let me give you a sample of the pseudo mook rock I'm referring to:

When The world keeps trying to drag me down,
Gotta raise my hands, gonna stand my ground.
I say, hey, Have A Nice Day-ay-ay.
Have A Nice Day-ay-ay

Wow. Those lyrics are inspiring … sorta like the inspiration you get when you see someone puke in public when you can taste the bile rising in the back of your throat. They lyrics are so … well … so bland, so common, so everyday. But these mooks at the gym were getting pumped up by this. It was as if Bon Jovi (whose initials, B.J., are what you should get if you actually buy one of their CD's) wrote this piece of shit in preparation for their secondary career of playing county fairs alongside Nickelback and Loverboy. It was as if the mooks were saying to each other "Yeah, that's right. If I'm having a shitty day, I'll just tell the world to have a nice day. Fuckin' a right!"

Now compare the lyrical larceny that is Bon Jovi with Mike Doughty's "Madeleine and Nine":

Slave to the inside light
My world is burning on eternally
For the fire I lack
This flame is feeling fine
Give my eyes just for your intentions
Risk my back to impress you now
I am so joyful that I have found you
Alls I need is to see you now

It's like watching the Gore - Bush debates where the Anti-Christ had that look on his face like a homecoming queen caught dropping ass at prom. The words are crafted so much more artfully and flow so much easier with great indie songwriters. It doesn't just extend to indie rock vs. mook/chach/county fair/mainstream rock. Nope, this phenomenom extends even to rap. Check out the monotone 50 Cent's "Wanksta":

Shorty she's so fine, I gotta make her mine
ass like that gotta be one of a kind
I crush 'em everytime
punch 'em with every line
I'm fucking with they mind
I make them press rewind

Hhhhmmm ..... quite sad and dull and trite if you ask me. It's as if he didn't even really try to spend more than an hour writing this song. I can see 50 writing these lyrics on a napkin in front of McD's while Eminem is ordering an Egg McMuffin. Now, let's get to a truly great rap artist, Common, with his tune "The Light":

It's important, we communicate
and tune the fate of this union, to the right pitch
I never call you my bitch or even my boo
There's so much in a name and so much more in you
Few understand the union of woman and man
And sex and a tingle is where they assume that it land
But that's fly by night for you and the sky I write
For in these cold Chi night's moon, you my light

Damn, how can poor 50 even begin to compete with that. It's like magnificent vs. monosyllabic. So next time you make a music choice, please don't go with what you'll hear on one of those fucking Clear Channel stations or anything with "power" in the nickname of the station. Hunt and peck a bit and try some lesser known artists and you'll be alot happier.

1 comment:

Chelle said...

Well said. I think of the difference in lyrical content like trying to compare Frost and a Downey commerical.

Bad News Bears T-shirt ----- wow!