There’s a reason this blog is called Hooks and Harmony and not Hooks and Lyrics.
I’ve never paid much attention to lyrics, preferring to focus on the musical aspects of songs. (There was that one period when I closely examined every U2 lyric for signs of political and spiritual meaning.) As a result, I’ve tended to mutter over many parts of songs, not caring what the singer was actually trying to say.
It’s not like kissthisguy.com, where people actually get the lyrics wrong. I don’t even bother prescribing words to songs sometimes:
Jack & Diane – John Cougar
What I heard: Well deh neh hen Diane gotta run off to the city
The real words: Well you know, Diane we oughta run off to the city
Grade: B-. Not too shabby.
Sitting Still – R.E.M.
What I heard: Up to pie, Katie pie cha kitchens it what not me un
The real words: Up to par, and Katie buys a kitchen-size, but not me in
Grade: A- (Michael Stipe mumbled at this point in his career; I think mine makes more sense, too.)
Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners
What I heard: Now you’re through (no never), so breyu (no never), Now I must say more than ever
The real words: You’re grown (so grown up), so grown (so grown up), Now I must say more than ever
Our House – Madness
What I heard: I remember weather came and everything was sooner when we would have such a very good time, such a fine time
The real words: I remember way back then when everything was true and when we would have such a very good time such a fine time
Grade: C (Even knowing the lyrics now, I still can’t hear them singing that.)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
What I heard: This thing called love, geh by, leh no meh no
The real words: This thing called love, it cries in a cradle all night
Grade: F. I have no excuses.
It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – R.E.M.
What I heard: Beating up an ox read uh no snit the ladder starts to clatter with a beer fight down height
The real words: Feed it up a knock, speed, grunt, no, strength, the ladder starts to clatter with a fear of height, down, height
Grade: C (Because it’s Stipe, and the lyrics go by so quickly)
Little Red Corvette – Prince
What I heard: A body like yours ought not be in jeans, hurts on the verge of bein’ obscene
Move over baby, gimme the keys, I’m gonna try to turn you into a love machine
The real words: A body like yours oughta be in jail ’cause it’s on the verge of bein’ obscene
Move over baby, gimme the keys, I’m gonna try to tame your little red love machine
Grade: C. Mumbling would have been better.
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
What I heard: Spinning on that dizzy egg a distant fay and insta hair
The real words: Spinning on that dizzy edge I kissed her face and kissed her head
Grade: D-.I should do better with one of my favorite bands.
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
What I heard: lu duh ba ga bi strayer te come be nom an do be den
The real words: Load up on guns Bring your friends, It’s fun to lose and to pretend
Grade: F. To be fair, Kurt Cobain was the first yawper – that generation of masculine lead singers who muscled their way through a song. Even if it was unintentional, he begat…
With Arms Wide Open – Creed
What I heard:
The real words: With arms wide open, Under the sunlight, Welcome to this place, I’ll show you everything
Grade A+. I have never heard this song all the way through. I count my blessings for that.