Friday, September 14, 2007

The Small Intestine of Rock 'n' Roll

Note: This post is about misheard lyrics, not bad lyrics. I, um, intended it to be that way all along...

After a hard work week and a plethora of serious posts, I thought it was time for something more participatory that also allows me to just get negative. The idea hit after I was somewhere this week and heard "The Heart of Rock 'n' Roll" being pumped through the sound system. I've hated this song from the hour it came out, but until that day, I never realized how mystifyingly awful this particular lyric is:

"Now the oboe may be barely breathin'."

Think about that. You're writing a song in a bald attempt to get radio play--a song that isn't really a rock song but is dedicated to rock songs, that mentions lots of different cities to elicit applause from those locales during the inevitable tour to support the album--and to really hammer home your point, you write, "Now the oboe may be barely breathin'."

Did the writer first pen "French horn" and then cross it out? Did he try "bassoon" and then slap his forehead and say, "I need a two-syllable classical instrument with the emphasis on the FIRST syllable!" Granted, and oboe is a very pinched-sounding instrument. It's also a very difficult instrument to play, with its two (count 'em, two) reeds, and one could say that the quality of its sound is strained. And if one were to anthropomorphize an oboe, one might say it sounds as though it is having trouble breathing. I get that. But it still sucks.

Now, I turn it over to you. Not whole songs, but just individual lyrics, that top your Awful list. I have to throw in one more, and then I'll shut up. My top two are:

1. "Now the oboe may be barely breathin'" (Huey Lewis & The News)
2. "It's time to bring this ship into the SHORE, and throw away the OARS, FORever." (REO Speedwagon--note: ships don't have oars)

15 comments:

Stephen Dashboard said...

Funny, I always called Huey Lewis' song "This is shit! This time it's shit..."

Here's one, and I know it'll crease you, Conk, given your overall reaction to its composer:

"And no one heard, not even the chair."

Of course, Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." Why a chair? Why not the walls, if we're going for inanimate objects now listening to us humans. This is somewhat disturbing if you follow the line of reasoning. Do sofas, chairs and ottoman's have opinions about our conversations?

Sofa: "You know, I think the dude should just take a weeklong cruise in the Carribbean."

Chair: "It would be leavin' him lonely, still."

Stephen Dashboard said...

Plus, this just in from the "Am I right" site:

Huey Lewis & The News', "Heart Of Rock 'N' Roll"

Misheard Lyrics:
Now the oboe may be barely breeding.

Original Lyrics:
Now the old boy may be barely breathin'.

Marc Conklin said...

There's nothing better than talking about how stupid someone else is and making yourself look way more stupid in the process. I could have sworn it was "oboe." I still think it is.

Marc Conklin said...

I meant to say, I knew all along that it was really "the old boy." I was just being really, really ironic.

Stephen Dashboard said...

Hey I had you covered in the heavy irony corner...it had me going: "Is he so arch that I'm doubting my doubt?!"

Seriously, I'd love to heard other lyrics, misheard, misinterpreted or otherwise.

Vegas Gopher said...

So which is this, a post about misinterpreted lyrics or a post about horrible lyrics?

How about the entire Alanis Morissette song "Ironic"? "It's like raaaaaa-iii-aaaain on your wedding day..." That's not ironic. It's unfortunate, but not ironic. Plus it's just a lame lyric.

Marc Conklin said...

My best misheard lyric is The Motels:

"Only the Lonely Get Laid."

I also had a friend in grade school who thought the J. Geils band was singing, "Angel Dust in Cellophane."

Stephen Dashboard said...

If we're talking lame lyrics, Jon Anderson of Yes cornered the market:

"Shining, flying, purple wolfhound, show me where you are."

Huh. Purple wolfhound. Must locate purple wolfhound.

How stoned do you have to be?

Anonymous said...

Lamest lyric consideration has to be given to America:

"The heat was hot."

And they couldn't even think up a name for the damn horse.

Anonymous said...

Perfect! Every time I heard that America line it was like "what the hell? Heat IS hot." Why couldn't they have written "The day was hot/and the ground was dry/But the air was full of sound..." Easy enough fix.

Anonymous said...

Another gem of wisdom:

"Sometimes I wake up
and I can only count to three"

Wow. Scary deep.

kimberlyoh said...

I second Vegas Gopher about worst lyrics. Isn't it ironic? Alanis doesn't know the meaning of ironic.

Anonymous said...

re: "Isn't It Ironic," the commentary on the song is more ironic than the song itself. Which means...oh, forget it. It's past 5 on a Friday, I need a drink.

Marc Conklin said...

"Sometimes I wake up and I can only count to three." I like that for some reason.

fab4fan said...

Worst lyrics:

"Da doo doo, da da da da, that's all I want to say to you."

"Abacab, he's in anywhere, abacab."

But "I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob" -- that's brilliant.