Thursday, January 19, 2006

You know I’m bad… I’m bad… You know it.

If you have a look at my blogger profile, and skim through these entries, you will notice that I like a lot of dodgy music. And it’s not just what some people would perceive as sonically dodgy music, generally owing to my addiction with synthesizers. Oh, no. There’s also some just plain terrible lyrics in the collective works of these bands. Sometimes when I listen to their songs, even songs I really love, I find it hard to believe that they’re actually getting paid money to come up with this stuff. Like enough to buy Lamborghinis, swimming pools full of cocaine, and Calvin Klein models to snort said cocaine off whilst driving around in said Lambourghinis. Anyway, without further ado, here are some bad lyrics from some musicians I dig.

Prince is prime example. Now, I don’t want to diss him too much, because he’s an excellent musician, great showman, plays every instrument under the sun, dances like a motherfucker, and has managed to write an amazing amount of successful songs, not only for himself but for others. But that doesn’t stop me marveling over some of his lyrics. In fact, most of his lyrics. Something like this, for instance:

If I'm workin' at my jobba,
I'm the victim, u're the robba,
No matter how much I try 2 stoppa,
I can't help thinkin' about cha
Lemon Crush
>>This song has, in my opinion, some of the worst Prince lyrics ever. But I still love it! (Listen to it and you'll see why.) I have no clue about what this part of the song is about, or how it relates to the film ‘Batman’ (it was on the soundtrack). In fact, the whole concept of the song, (a comparison between the object of his desire and a “lemon crush”), is baffling. I really have tried to understand that metaphor, but I just can’t. I can’t help thinking of a Slurpee. (Maybe she gives him brain freeze?) Also, anyone who tries to force the words “job”, “robber”, “stop”, and “you” to rhyme ought to be shot.

New Order are another strong candidate for worst lyricists among my favourite musicians. I fucking LOVE them with a passion that will not soon die. I mean, I enjoy New Order MORE THAN Joy Division, (when I tell people their faces generally contort into little grimaces of pity. Did yours?) But, dear Lord, they have written some really bad lyrics. Some examples:

I got thirsty for a beer,
That I had to go to sea.
The sea was very rough,
It made me feel sick,
But I like that kind of stuff,
It beats arithmetic

Slow Jam
>>This song is proof that their lyric writing skills didn’t improve over time, as this song was on their second most recent album. It’s embarrassingly nonsensical, isn’t it? Well, let me tell you that absurdity and inanity are the band’s specialties. Kind of endearing, really.

Your country is a wonderful place,
It pales my England into disgrace.
To buy a drink that is so much more reasonable,
I think I'll go there when it gets seasonable
Sooner Than You Think
>>How fucking trite is it to remark in a song that buying a drink in a certain country is “so much more reasonable”?? That gets my goat. Memo to NO: You can’t use the word “seasonable” in a song… EVER. I don’t care if you’re English; you just can’t. OK?

Martika is a singer who, after only having released two proper albums, managed to release not one but two greatest hits albums! Perhaps that is a sign not to take her too seriously, as the lyrics below suggest! (With that said, I’ve got to admit I love her, even if she is a Madonna wannabe…)

I wanna swing on your vine
If You’re Tarzan, I’m Jane
>>This line really comes out of nowhere in this song. Looking at it by itself, you’d expect the rest of the song to be littered with other half-baked, Tarzan-related sexual euphemisms, but that’s the only one! It sticks out like a sore thumb (or perhaps, an erect “vine”).

Wooo, here we go
The table's set baby
Wooo, ahh here we go
My oven is hot

I don't care, I've got the chair
If you think your butt'll fit it
You turn me all the way up, I admit it

Martika’s Kitchen
>>No prizes for guessing where one might find Martika’s “kitchen”. Yes, it’s meant to be a part of the female anatomy. I keep having bizarre visions of vines snaking into kitchens… I think she may have permanently ruined sex for me.

Your license to my heart has met its expiration date
Alibis
>>Yikes, that’s tacky. Looking at these examples of bad Martika lyrics, I have a little message for whoever it is who wrote them: stay the hell away from metaphors. PLEASE!

Anyone else out there have some favourite bad lyrics they’d like to share with the class?

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An old piece of information occured to me regarding Martika's song writing so I looked up the writing credits. While Alibis and If You're Tarzan, I'm Jane are the responsibility of Michael Kay, Greg Smith, Mitchell Kaplan and Martika herself; Martika's Kitchen is the sole responsibility of bad lyric-writer extraordinare...

...Prince.

And New Order are better than Joy Division. But then, I don't listen to lyrics so I would say that.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

I'm a fan of the classics. You can't go past Procol Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale:

She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast


Wha?
As for bizarre sexual allegories, Ms. Amos's Raspberry Swirl gets an honourable mention:

I am not your senorita
I am not from your tribe
If you want inside her, well,
Boy you better make her raspberry swirl


...a flavour of icecream I have not since been able to order with a straight face.

10:02 AM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

Sadly enough, I am getting to be such a Prince fan that I already knew he'd written songs for Martika's second album BEFORE I actually started listening to her! I reckon 'Martika's Kitchen' was like the Martika equivalent of 'Sugar Walls' (that's another baaaad sexual euphemism... "Come inside my sugar walls", anybody?), which he wrote for Sheena Easton to up her cred a bit. At any rate, if 'Martika's Kitchen' did up Martika's cred, she didn't take advantage of it, seeing as she didn't release anything else for years afterwards. Poor, bubble.

Thanks for the contribution, Jon!

Why's everyone else so quiet??

5:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Well, I don't really like Joy Division or New Order very much so I'm afraid I can't swing either way.

Uh, and this talk about vines ruining sex . . . you've obviously never been fortunate enough to see Japanese tenticle rape porn, right? Or is that just me?

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take your time to decide
And keep thought far from your eyes
Too many have failed to get this far
but don't let it get you down
We're doing all we can
We truly believe you're lovely when you're here

just that last line makes it all worthwhile. intriguing and thought-provoking stuff from SImian there.

weighing in on the Joy Division/New Order verbiage, Joy Division are easily superior - mainly because Ian Curtis danced like no other vertebrate before or since.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Martie said...

I think you've just ruined Martika's Kitchen for me!

I never, never, ever, thought of it that way at all!

9:35 PM  
Blogger TimT said...

You know I’m bad… I’m bad… You know it.

No, I didn't know it. Are you? Goodness me! Would you like me to send a Bible around? If that doesn't make you a good person, nothing will!

5:16 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:28 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

Martie; I'm so sorry! I was just talking to a friend about this phenomenon today; there are songs from your childhood that you listened to without really understanding the adult content, and continue in your ignorance until you're grown-up. My example was Warrant's 'Cherry Pie'; I had no clue what it was about when I was an adorable 5-year-old, but I loved it. I even sang along! Creepy.

Some lyrics in the song:
"Well, swinging on the front porch
Swinging on the lawn
Swinging where we want
'Cause there ain't nobody home
Swingin' to the left and
Swingin' to the right
I think about baseball
I'll swing all night, yeah
Yeah, yeah - huh!"
...
Swingin' in the living room
Swingin' in the kitchen
Most folks don't
'Cause they're too busy bitchin'
Swingin' in there
'Cause she wanted me to feed her
So I mixed up the batter
And she licked the beater
...
CHORUS
She's my cherry pie
Cool drink of water
Such a sweet surprise
Tastes so good make a grown man cry
Sweet cherry pie
Oh yeah
"

I'm sure you can figure out what he means when he says "swinging". Urgh.

I want more comments!!

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now after reading so many "interesting" lyrics I have a newfound confidence for when I start uni in a month and sit down to my new subject "Songs Of Protest", where your essays are lyrics! Ha HA!!
"oh it doesn't make grammatical sense? It has holes does it? You find that word offensive? The syllablle count and line structure is really unbalanced?
Well it's avante Garde baby, its art... so deal!"

-Svet (yeah my net is so slow it wont even load my login as Maniclovely would u believe?)

12:03 PM  
Blogger Martie said...

Yeah, totally with you on the Cherry Pie thing. I used to watch the video clip, and think it was 'rude' (but peversely, couldn't never look away), but never understood the lyrics until years later - when it finally clicked with the film clip. Disturbing.

Also, not really a lyrics thing, but I remember back in primary school, when we used to play tag & stuff, and to determine who was it - you'd play 'eenie meenie miney mo'. For some reason this was triggered in brain today - the next line was: "catch a nigger by the toe". It was all very innocent at the time - I had no clue what it meant - but thinking about it now, I'm ashamed.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I present to you the complete masterpiece that is 'Jeffrey' by Lazaro's Dog:

My dog jeffrey wants a scooter
Cause we took away his doona

Then one day I went to school - yeah
I turned around and he was not there

Ba da blah blah blah blah bump

The day you left me standing there
My life was incomplete
I could not even concentrate
I could not even sleep

My dog jeffrey wants a scooter
My dog jeffrey wants a scooter
My dog jeffrey wants a scooter
My dog jeffrey wants a scooter

Bah da blah blah blah blah bump


Brilliant, no?

10:39 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

More bad sexual lyrics, this time from the Spin Doctor's highly unsuccessful album 'Turn It Upside Down' (they tried to get too funky... The end result being complete crap, as you'd expect). The album has a song called 'Cleopatra's Cat', and it's actually about Cleopatra's cat. Yeech. But the song I would like to draw upon is 'Big Fat Funky Booty'.

"She bakin' up a little bit of my rising, rising dough.
...
Her booty fine, and it's trimmed so tidy.
...
Spend a whole lotta time peekin' into her big old kitchen fridge.
...
'Cause it's about as wide as my big old garage door.
"

Note to anyone reading this: don't write a song about your girlfriend's genitalia. If you must, don't write a song like this.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Alex, writing lyrics about a woman's body has such a fine and venerable tradition.

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes,
O prince's daughter!
the joints of thy thighs are like jewels,
the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Thy navel is like a round goblet,
which wanteth not liquor:
thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.

Thy neck is as a tower of ivory;
thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bathrabbim:
thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.

[...]

This thy stature is like to a palm tree,
and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

I said, I will go up to the palm tree,
I will take hold of the boughs thereof:
now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine,
and the smell of thy nose like apples;


Some people even consider these lyrics the foundation of Western civilisation itself.

8:02 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

I guess I should be thankful that 'Cleopatra's Cat' is about her cat and not her pussy... Hmmm, that was unnecessary.

And Martie, you may be interested to know that when I was in primary school the 'Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo' rhyme had the line "catch a tigger by the toe"... But then again, I went to quite a liberal (with a little 'l') primary school.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Martie said...

See, I know at some point in time it was 'tigger'. Can't quite remember how/when it was changed. The use of the word, however innocent, still disturbs me.

10:37 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

Yeah, true dat. I never realised the origins of 'tigger', so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

1:04 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

In an interesting only half related note, I have always sung "catch a nigger by the toe". And for the longest time I thought a "nigger" was some kind of yabby. That's why I was so confused when I sung it in my early high school to make some kind of decision and my friends looked at me flabbergasted when I got to that line.

Unfortunately my brain is barren of any bad lyrics for the moment, although I'm sure my band have some that could be added to the list...

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martika's in Ohio now, a friend of mine here in MI is auditioning for her current band (as drummer). I could really care less about rock geekism these days and feel embarassment and scorn each time I now encounter rock obsessives.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't actually like Bon Jovi, but that doesn't mean their lyrics shouldn't joining the likes of Prince and Spin Doctor. And the fact that I know them seems recommendation enough. These particular lyrics are not only badly written (who would have known?) but seem to suggest that no woman is capable of refusing these ol' rockers and their abundant charm.

They are as follows:

I'm gonna see those Senoritas
Lying under the sun
They're greasing it up
You know I want to be their blanket
Gonna tell every girl
"Hey, baby... You're the one..."

I mean, how could any girl resist that line?

3:14 AM  

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