Thursday, June 14, 2007

And no religion, either

These have been bothering me for ages. They are, to put it whimsically, songs that sacrifice grammar or meaning at the altar of rhyme.

I’m not talking stupid or nonsensical lyrics here – these are lines that have SOLD OUT just in order to rhyme. Here are a few to be getting on with.

Imagine - John Lennon
The lyric
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too."

Why? Once voted "Britain's favourite poem", the rubbishness of Imagine's lyrics is frequently overlooked. To prove the point, one of my English professors once read the whole thing out during a lecture in a witheringly sarcastic voice. He singled out this bit - with its "there's no countries" and "no religion too" - as truly unforgivable. Rightly so.

Cats in the Cradle - Harry Chapin / Ugly Kid Joe
The lyric
"'What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?'"

Why? Because the kid says "see you later" to his father before he's even asked for the car keys. Why would he do that? (A: to make it rhyme.)

Don't Know How to Say Goodbye - The Pigeon Detectives
The lyric
"I don't know how to say goodbye
And if I did I'd surely cry
If it's a choice between you and me I'd go for I."

Why? I do expect rubbish lyrics from the PDs, but this is just terrible. What's wrong with: "I'd go for the latter"?

I Get Around
- The Beach Boys
The lyric
"We always take my car cos it's never been beat
And we've never missed yet with the girls we meet."

Why? Beaten. We always take my car cause it's never been beaten.

(What's The Story) Morning Glory - Oasis
The lyric
"Another sunny afternoon,
Walking to the sound of my favourite tune.
Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know too soon."

Why? Er... what? "Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know, you goon," would've been better. The goon in question being Noel Gallagher, the man responsible for this crime against meaning.

Regulate -
Warren G and Nate Dog
The lyric
"Chords. Strings.
We brings

Thanks for bringing melody and that Messrs G and Dog, but that won't excuse your ill piece of conjugation.

Whole Lotta Love
- Led Zeppelin
The lyric
"You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin'
I'm gonna send you back to schoolin.'"

Why? Led Zeppelin are the ones who should be sent "back to schoolin'" if they think this is grammatically correct. And I'm not foolin'.


Jamie Wilkes said...

Turn - Travis:

The lyric:
"And what's the moon?
A big balloon"

No Travis, it's a small satellite body orbiting the earth once every 27.3 days. Idiots.

Afe said...

Not only does Noel Gallagher often tie himself in knots lyrically, he usually manages to squeeze an annoying Beatles reference in there somewhere (i.e. Tomorrow Never Knows).

The rest of their catalogue are just dripping with gushing song references, something which annoys me no end.

Rant over.

* (asterisk) said...

And what about those who sacrifice a perfectly good rhyme in order to catch the would-be listener's ear -- for example:

"I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance / Looking for a little romance / Given half the chance",

wherein one of those lines (I forget which) is pronounced RP stylee, like "-arnce" rather than "ants". Now that is unforgivable, Mr Chris Rea.

Red said...

Isn't Lady in Red the immortal work of Chris "I can heal you with the power of my mind" de Burgh, rather than Chris "I am the man responsible for classics like... er.... Auberge" Rea?

* (asterisk) said...

Oh yes, it is. They're all the same, these boring MOR losers. My bad. The rhyme's still shit, though.

Huw said...

Travis also gave us the rather self-absorbed: "Why does it always rain on me? Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?"