Thursday, March 18, 2010

I speak of the pompitus of song lyrics

I was listening to the radio today, when the new Black Eyed Peas song came on. It was a pretty cool song, except that the lyrics seemed to consist mostly of the words "Imma be." (A Google search just informed me that that is actually the name of the song, as well. And I don't think "imma" is a word, Kanye West's use of it notwithstanding.) That got me started thinking about songs with decent melodies and dumb words, which is something that has annoyed me for a long time. I have some kind of crazy Rain Man memory for song lyrics, so bad ones stay with me for a looooong time. Here are some of the ones I find the most ridiculous.

the "it will all make sense if you take another hit off the bong" lyrics - Oasis

slowly walking down the hall
faster than a cannonball
- "Champagne Supernova"
These fellows had some big hits in the 90s, and earned a bit of notoriety for their outlandish behavior. If I remember correctly, they also had a reputation for being potheads, which is the only possible explanation I can come up with for those lyrics. They probably seemed reeeeeeaaaally deep, man. Oh, and the next line in the song? "Where were you while we were getting high?" Uh-huh. I thought so.

The "we need a thesaurus" lyrics - Van Halen
hey only fools rush in and only time will tell
If we stand the test of time
- "Why Can't This Be Love?"

I know the guys in Van Halen did about a metric ton of drugs back in the day. I refuse to believe, however, that they killed so many of their brain cells that they couldn't come up with something better than "only time will tell if we stand the test of time." Geez, d'ya think? Sorry, fellas. You have some really good rockin' songs, but that's just lame.

the "who cares if it doesn't make sense-it rhymes!" lyrics - Elvis
well, bless my soul what's wrong with me?
I'm itchin' like a man on a fuzzy tree
- "All Shook Up"

Okay, I know this might result in hate comments, but I don't think Elvis was a very good songwriter. He had tons of charisma, charm, good looks (at least when he was young), a nice voice-absolutely. But some of the lyrics were pretty trite, and some were just bad. A fuzzy tree? Also, if you think you're in love, and one of the symptoms is itchin', you might want to have a doctor look at that. And maybe pick up an antibiotic. I'm just sayin'.

The "I can't think of any more real words, so I'll just sing nonsense" lyrics - Miley Cyrus
Noddin' my head like, yeah
Movin' my hips like, yeah
- "Party in the USA"

Actually, it's not fair to crack on Miley Cyrus for this, when there are millions of artists who have resorted to filling in a space with either a nonsense word, or something like "yeah" or "alright." (It's still an annoying--albeit catchy--song, though.) Let's not forget Steve Miller, the king of the nonsense word, who came up with "pompitus" to fill a three-syllable gap in his song "The Joker." But at least he was upfront about it...he needed a word, so he just invented one. And you know you like the song anyway. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to start using "pompitus" as a multi-purpose word, kind of like "aloha." I like it.

That's just a small sampling of the dumb lyrics that bug me. There may be a sequel to this post someday. Are there any lyrics that just drive you crazy? Let me know in the comments.

headphone guy came from here


JD at I Do Things said...

I really admire a songwriter who makes up his own words -- words that SOUND like they could really be words. I, too, shall start saying "pompitus" whenever I feel like it.

I know I've got tons of lyrics I could add here, but I can only think of a song that has some of my favorite lyrics in the world: Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" --

"I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect."


"Little old lady got mutilated late last night."

Van Halen and Elvis, take note.

Anonymous said...

My all time favorite, useless, stupid song, and yes, I know these words by heart:

"Porcupine pie, porcupine pie, porcupine pie
Vanilla soup, a double scoop please
No, maybe I won't, maybe I won't, maybe I will
The tutti fruit with fruity blue cheese

Ah, but porcupine pie, porcupine pie, porcupine pie
Don't let it get on your jeans
And though it sounds a little strange
Well, you gotta eat it with gloves
Or your hands will turn green

Ah, but porcupine pie, porcupine pie, porcupine pie
It weaves it's way through my dreams
And I do believe I'm gonna get one
Leave enough room for dessert: chicken ripple ice cream."

Neil Diamond, early 1970s, I believe. While Neil never did hard drugs, I believe he might have had the munchies while composing this song. Ask me, and I'll sing it for you!
-Karen R.

suzicate said...

I got so caught up in the comments before me I forgot what I was going to say...porcupine pie, vanilla soup? I usually make up stupid lyrics if I can't understand them, but didn't realize so many artists really sing stupid lyrics (and make money from it!).

absepa said...

JD: I agree--"Werewolves of London" is a fine example of good songwriting. Funny, clever, AND catchy. Ah-oooo!

Karen: Why have I never heard this porcupine song? You must sing it for me!

suzicate: Have you ever heard "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"? The lyrics are completely hilarious. My husband and I make up silly song lyrics, too.

suzicate said...

I had forgotten about that's crazy and the voice that sings it sounds kind of hyped up and zoned out on something! I can't remember who its by...I'll have to google it.

cardiogirl said...

(Slowly rises from her chair and commences a one-woman standing O)

This, by far, was the best line of this post:

The "it will all make sense if you take another hit off the bong" lyrics - Oasis

slowly walking down the hall
faster than a cannonball - "Champagne Supernova"

We seem destined to meet as I see you left a comment right after mine at I Do Things. And again (your comment right after mine) at The Junk Drawer.

Groovy to make your acquaintance.

cardiogirl said...

p.s. Just read JD's comment and that truly is one of my favorite lyrics from Werewolves of London:

"I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect."

I love the delivery of the word perfect.

absepa said...

suzicate: It was Steve Miller, and he may very well have been zoned out. Some of the best music was made by zoned-out folks, though. :)

Cardiogirl: Thanks, and welcome! I have checked out your blog, but never commented before. It is kind of oddly coincidental that we left neighboring comments on two different blogs. :) And I love everything about "Werewolves of London." It's just a great song.