Last week I went to the pub (a shocking turn of events) and at some point, the night dissolved into my very talented friend Jamie doing impersonations of Creed. Creed impersonations are not, strictly speaking, Jamie’s main talent, although if the whole art thing doesn’t work out he could always make a living pretending to be Scott Stapp. But I digress. Eventually we got to talking about how lyrics that are really awful or make no sense what-so-ever often end up being hugely successful because the singer puts a bunch of unnecessary but allegedly meaningful emotion into their vocal stylings. Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me present you with some examples.
- Train – Drops of Jupiter – Remember Train? They released Drops of Jupiter and then did nothing for a while. Then a couple of years ago (last year? who knows?) came screaming out of nowhere with a comeback album that people bought and listened to for some reason. Anyway, mostly I just want to talk about Drops of Jupiter though.
From what I gather, the lead singer has fallen in possibly unrequited love with a girl who might be an astronaut. Featuring such meaningful lyricism as “checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo, reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey hey”, “can you imagine no love, pride, deep fried chicken, best friend always stickin’ up for you, even when I know you’re wrong?” and “naa naa naa nanana”, a quick search on Google reveals that people inexplicably have a really intense emoitonal connection to the song. It can’t be the actual lyrics. Because they mention soy lattes and space travel in the same verse. Apparently, the girl the song is dedicated to also “listens like spring and talks like June” since she’s returned from a little jaunt living on the moon… which I have thought about over and over and still can’t make sense of. So the only conclusion that I can reach is the fact that there is something about the way that he’s singing the song. To me, it seems ridiculous but he does look like he’s having a really good time in that video. Arms thrown back, eyes closed – the man is singing like he’s on mission. The fact that he is singing absolute nonsense seems to do nothing dissuade the music-buying public who sent this to number one in a bunch of places. On a side note, if more of the men in my life could get around in flowing paisley shirts and leather pants that would make me really happy.
- Seal – Kiss from a Rose – I tried really hard to decipher this one because I feel like it means SOMETHING. Google tells me it’s about drugs. Which seems plausible I guess. This is, of course, me operating under my “General Theory of Lyrical Relevance in Contemporary Pop Music” which states “if it isnt about drugs then it is about blow jobs”. Take it away, Seal
Seal wails this song like it holds the key to the universe, which is probably why people often dedicate it as a love song, but the more I look at the lyrics, it really just looks like it’s about cocaine. “But did you know, that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can’t be seen.” To me, that just sounds like a fancy way of saying “I put a small mountain of coke up my nose and I’m chewing my damn face off. Also my vision has gone slightly blurry. Send help.” As for being “kissed by a rose on the grey”, I still have no idea what that means, but from the facial expressions Seal pulls while singing that line I’m gonna assume it’s deep.
- Filter – Take a Picture – I like this song. I do. But it should really be re-titled Drunk Stream of Consciousness ft. Daddy Issues. Take a look.
Before we get to the lyrical content, let’s just acknowledge that the 90s/00s were a time of really poorly fitted suits. A sad time for tailors the world over. Anyway, since this song is essentially just repetition I can probably just recount everything for you. Basically “awake on my airplane/ awake on my airplane/ my skin is bare/ my skin is theirs” x2, followed by “I feel like a newborn” x2, then “awake on my airplane/ I feel so reeeeaaaal”. Then “can you take my picture?/ cause I won’t remember” x4. It’s all reasonably pleasant and sentimental, kind of like talking to that drunk in the back of the bar who just keeps repeating the same phrase over and over again whilst affectionately slapping you on the back and threatening to nod off. However, much like the drunk guy when you suddenly mention who you voted for in the last election, things take a turn for the shouty. Suddenly “I don’t believe in/ I don’t believe in your sanctity/ Your prophecy/ I don’t believe in sanctity or hipocrisy” then some garbled stuff about not wanting anyone to be left alone and feeling like a newborn again. My favourite bit, however has to be the section where he just starts screaming “Hey dad, what do you think about your son now?” It’s the lyrical equivalent of saying “Dad. DAD. I’ve joined a rock band, dad. Remember when you said I wouldn’t amount to anything? WELL LOOK AT ME NOW DAD. I have a goatee and a nipple peircing and a number one single and women love me AND WHY DIDN’T YOU HUG ME MORE WHEN I WAS GROWING UP!? WERE YOU ASHAMED?” I don’t really know what this song is about. I’m not sure that Filter do either. But the lead singer once again has his head thrown back and his eye closed, so it’s gotta mean something right?
Anyway, there are loads more examples of stupid lyrics out there but it’s getting late and I have to work tomorrow and this post is about to crack 1000 words. However, before I sign off, you may recall I mentioned my friend Jamie at the beginning of the blog. He is lovely and very talented and you should go and look at things he does over here because they are wonderful. I own two of his things. They live on my walls and make my room more habitable. Please feel free to leave more dumb lyrics in the comments. You guys know how much I love stupidity.