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Lyrics Rant

One of the world's oldest living teenagers laments the stupidity in some Top 40 lyrics.

"Songs she sang to me/Songs she brang to me..." (Play Me by Neil Diamond)  "brang" ????  "brang" Really??

"I bring you apples from the vine..." (You Don't Bring Me Anything But Down by Sheryl Crow)  Uh, don't apples grow on trees?

"Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don't think that I can take it/'Cause it took so long to bake it'/And I'll never have that recipe again..." (MacArthur Park by Richard Harris, Donna Summer, et al.)  Don't even try to explain it as a metaphor; it's just plain stupid.


"We can do it till we both wake up..." (I Wanna Sex You Up by Color Me Badd)  Is something going on in their sleep?  Stupid!

"Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy..." (Tik Tok by Kesha)  How, exactly, does one 'feel' like P. Diddy?

"Ooh, eee, ooh ah-ah. Ting, tang, walla-walla bing bang..." (The Witch Doctor by David Seville)  Is this a real language? (Certainly not English!)

"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone/I'll be waiting, all there's left to do is run/You'll be the Prince and I'll be the Princess/It's a love story, baby just say 'yes.'"  (Love Story by Taylor Swift)  Honey, they commit suicide!

You know where I'm going with this one.

I conisder myself one of the oldest living teenagers in this country.  I have been listening to "Top 40" music since 1956.  Really.  I loved it then, and --pretty much-- still love it now.  I was never really into the hard rock or the glam rock or the album-oriented genres, always preferring to stick with the Top 40 sound.  The sing-along, dance-to-it stuff that has punctuated the airwaves since Buddy Holly, Elvis, and a host of other early luminaries cranked out the new music that DJ Alan Freed christened "Rock 'n' Roll."

It's fun.  It's happy.  It's singable.  It's danceable.  And all too often, it's stupid.  That's right, I said it: the lyrics are often just plain stupid. Or they defy logic.  ("Where does my heart beat now?" Where Does My Heart Beat Now by Celine Dion --- I would think it would still be in your chest.)  Or they make you scratch head and say "Huh?" ("Every time I look at you I go blind..." I Go Blind by Hootie and the Blowfish --- Look at her once, you're blinded; there can't be an 'every time.')

Well-known former Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry wrote several times about bad songs, including some really stupid lyrics in his analyses.  The topic proved so popular that thousands of readers wrote to him, offering their choice(s) of bad songs, stupid lyrics and the like.  Dave knew a good thing when he saw it, and he compiled many of his columns and reader feedback into a book which he cleverly titled Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs.  I am happy to report that his #1 Bad Song is included in my list of examples above.  I chose it because of some really stupid lyrics, but Dave feels (as do most of his readers) that it is simply the worst song ever written, recorded, and played on the radio: MacArthur Park.

Today's Top 40 throws me a bit, because there is a genre of music included in it that I just don't get (read that "I just don't like"), and I know that the lyrics are usually stupid, often suggestive or downright dirty, and WAY below my pay grade.  I'll discuss very few of them: they're all so much alike and they're written to shock or titillate.  I'd love to know how some of you handle the situation when your little ones sing some of those lyrics -- is it cute or are you horrified?  I'll bet I already know the majority of answers that I'll get.

I'm not planning to write a book, a la Dave Barry, but I know that you'll want to let me (and the blogosphere) know what you think are stupid lyrics.  I've got a million of them, and I'm sure you'll have some of the same ones I have.  But I'm also sure that you'll have plenty that I don't have, and all of us will enjoy reading them.  Hit that comment key!

"Midnight at the oasis, send your camel to bed..." (Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldar) -- What?  "Muskrat Suzie, Muskrat Sam/Do the jitterbug at a Muskrat Land/And they shimmy, Sam is so skinny..." (Muskrat Love by the Captain and Tennille) -- A metaphor, perhaps? Oh, please.

Stop me! Stop me now!  (But comment with your personal best...worst...whatever.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John McMillan July 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Yep, agreed. There is so much total CRAP music on the radio these days. I'm especially turned off at all the sexual references and songs about violence. Turn OFF the radio on buses...we never had it on when we were kids, and we grew up ok (I think).
Debbie S. August 01, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Yes, I can! When I asked them where they heard that music and lyrics, which they had not previously known, they told me they heard it on the bus. (And my oldest knew enough - at age 11 - to TELL me the songs were inappropriate.). I'm not blaming the school for anything. As Mitchell attested below, I was just stating a fact.
Tom Stephan August 01, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Hey! No sniping at each other! Let's focus: you're supposed to be chiming in with song lyrics that you find utterly stupid, or how you'd react if your little one was singing songs with suggestive, etc. lyrics. Debbie responded to that second part, which is fine. We're supposed to be having fun here!
Amanda Harnocz August 01, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Thanks Tom
Elyse August 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I must admit I rarely listen to the radio because I rather enjoy classic rock, punk, grunge, underground, etc. When I do hear some of the Top 40, I cringe. "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga... The whole entire song is filled with nonsense laughable lyrics. "Wish I could shut my playboy mouth, oh oh oh-oh/How'd I turn my shirt inside out? Inside outright/Control your poison babe, roses have thorns they say/And we're all getting hosed tonight, oh oh oh-oh" What's a playboy mouth? And as for the roses... She must have listened to Poison in '88: "That's why they say/Every rose its thorn.... Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song/Every rose has its thorn/Yeah it does". Thank you both, I was unsure whether or not roses had thorns... I suppose I understand the analogy. And "Ohio" by CSNY... I don't think it was their intention but: "Gotta get down to it/Soldiers are gunnin' us down/Shoulda been done long ago". I believe the "gotta get down to it" was the part they were suggesting "shoulda been done long ago" but the message seems to infer that soldiers should have been gunning us down long ago.

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