Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bad Lyrics, Part I

Longtime readers here know that misheard lyrics haunt me, as I’ve written about here, here, here, and here. But now I’m going an extra step and addressing something much more sinister than misheard lyrics: bad lyrics.

We hear many awful lyrics, many words that should never have been put to paper, much less set to music. Today, I’m calling out just a few especially horrid lyrics I’ve heard in the past few days:

Artist and song: KISS, “Burn Bitch Burn”
Bad lyric: I wanna put my log in your fireplace.

Even for sex addict and notorious bad lyricist Gene Simmons, this one’s pathetic.

Think about it. He’s telling us that he wants to put his “log” into her “fireplace,” which will not only make his thing burn but also morph it into a pile of smoldering cinders. Not so good for future performance; even Viagra can’t help you get a pile of ashes up.

You must want to get in that particular “fireplace” really, really badly if you’re willing to exclude any chance for future coitus.

Now THAT is horny.

Artist and song: Bon Jovi, “I’ll Be There For You”
Bad lyric: When you breathe, I want to be the air for you.

Ugh. Apart from the inherent cheesiness of this line, closer examination reveals it is far from a tender, loving proposal.

Jon Bon is telling you, lucky lady, that he wants to become a non-sentient gas so that he can provide your body the oxygen it needs to survive.

In essence, he wants to be so embedded in every cell of your body that you can’t escape him. You literally can’t live without him. You’ll die within minutes if you don’t inhale him.

Now THAT sounds like obsession.

Artist and song: The Beatles, “The End”
Bad lyric: And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Go ahead, accuse me of blasphemy. I’m criticizing the classic end to a classic suite on a classic album by a classic group. Fine. But this is an awful lyric.

First, love cannot be taken like a buffet item. It’s not a measurable quantity, something you only have so much to give or receive. Attention, sure … but not love.

Second, there’s that whole supposed equality thing. Even if you could “take” love, why would it end up equal to the love you “make?”

Third, I wonder what “the love you make” means. If it refers to the love you give, then it’s stupid for the same reason as “the love you take.” If it refers to intimate physical contact (lovemaking), then it’s even more stupid. The amount of sex you get has minimal correlation with any measure of the amount of love you receive.

The Beatles had the chance here to knock us out. Instead they gave us this schlock.

Now THAT was a wasted opportunity.

Artist and song: Artist (thankfully) unknown, “Awesome God”
Bad lyric: Our God is an awesome God.

I heard this one on a TV commercial last night, an excruciatingly annoying ad for some Christian rock compilation CD. And it spurred a couple of thoughts right away:

Holy Anthropomorphism, Batman!. This song sure implies that the singer’s God is a rather needy and insecure idol.

What kind of an all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe would invent creatures so inferior to him that they cannot even understand his fundamental nature—and then enjoys that they sing constant reminders of how tremendous he is?

This sounds more like a petty medieval autocrat than anything “awesome.”

From the “no shit” file … Why did someone feel the need to express this idea at all? Does the singer really need to remind the faithful about the remarkable nature of divinity?

I’d be much more impressed if these believers worshipped their deity of choice while declaring “Our God is a mediocre God” or maybe “Our God is a crappy God.”

Now THAT would be faith.


At April 22, 2008 5:59 PM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

Those "Kiss" lyrics make me want to hurl. Blech!!!

You have mail...

At April 22, 2008 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

My favourite bad lyric is from T.Rex's Children of the Revolution.
"I drive a Rolls Royce
'cause its good for my voice."

My 2nd fave is Bon Jovi's I'll Be There For You.
"I'll be there for you,
These five words I swear to you."

PS. Bon Jovi is from New Jersey.

At April 22, 2008 7:31 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

OMG! These are great. I must say the KISS one is my favorite because I think the world would be a better place if Gene Simmon's penis did disintegrate into a pile of ashes. He's so gross.

At April 22, 2008 7:38 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Lisa: Right on--I throw up a bit in my mouth while typing this today.

WIGSF: Technically, "I'll be there for you" is a five-word phrase, although with the contraction it might be more like five and a half. Either way, not a good line.

Barbara: I can't argue with you there.

At April 22, 2008 11:21 PM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

Good choices of bad lyrics!
Can't wait to see the next round.
Have a great week David.
Lee Ann

At April 23, 2008 2:12 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Bon Jovi: "I want to lay you down on a bed of roses". Ouch. In so many ways.

At April 23, 2008 9:14 AM, Blogger bob_vinyl replied to my musings ...

At least the Beatles tagged the poetic "Her Majesty" on to the end of Abbey Road.

I actually always kinda liked "The End," but I see where you're coming from. I think we ask a lot when we expect rock lyricists to be poets, but asking them to be philosophers is an even bigger stretch. The trouble is that millions of fans the world over can't seem to see what poor poets and philosophers rock musicians generally are.

At April 23, 2008 9:17 AM, Blogger bob_vinyl replied to my musings ...

A friend of mine has tried to respond to everyone as if he's writing Bon Jovi lyrics for a whole day. I don't think he ever made it, but he's more success doing the same thing as Morrissey.

At April 23, 2008 10:23 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Lee Ann: I'm sure there will be more parts to this series, too.

Mike: You may be on to something here. Mr. Bongiovi may be a particularly bad lyricist overall.

Bob: Good point. There are some good rock writers, but most are just passable. On "Her Majesty," I'd heard from my Beatlemaniac friend that the boys (especially Paul) decided it didn't fit where they'd put it--between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam"--so they told the engineer to kill it. But instead, he kept it and tagged it on the end of the album, and the rest is history.

A good story, whether true or not.

At April 23, 2008 11:31 AM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

Two words.

Dan Hill.

"At times I'd like to break you and drive you to your knees."

A terrible song and a REALLY scary line.

At April 23, 2008 11:41 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

This is a slippery slope. I mean, not only are rockers expected to be poets, but philosophers by many. What's funny to me is that most people couldn't comprehend mediocre philosophy. So maybe Bon Jovi is actually a better lyricist, as he addreses the intellectual level of the masses. Or we can always go with the example set forth by someone like say, Toby Keith. I can't recall any lyrics to quote, but it's better that way.

At April 25, 2008 12:16 PM, Blogger Malcolm replied to my musings ...

Someone mentioned T. Rex and it made me think of their tune "New York City". It has the classic bad lyric, " Did you ever see a woman coming out of New York City
with a frog in her hand". WTF?! I actually like this and many of their other tunes, but I sometimes wonder exactly what Marc Bolan & Co. were smoking.

At April 25, 2008 12:42 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Tai: Dan Hill never go the warm/cuddly award, did he?

Mike: Slippery indeed. Although some light pop philosophy a la Rush is enjoyable, the artists that try to do more often get boring fast. BTW, I don't know anyone named Toby, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Malcolm: I suspect they were licking frogs.

At April 25, 2008 1:45 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I definitely think I've seen that Christian Rock ad... Wow that line is classic!

It's probably a good thing you didn't put any country music in there. This post could be one thousand pages long.

At April 25, 2008 1:56 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jeff: If I knew any country lyrics (other than old Johnny Cash, Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and Eddie Rabbitt songs I was exposed to growing up, they'd be here.

Actually, don't be surprised if some of those show up in the next round in a month or two.

At April 25, 2008 4:06 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

The Kiss lyric made me laugh. Put a log in someone's fire?

At April 26, 2008 4:21 AM, Blogger BeckEye replied to my musings ...

Beatles Blasphemer!!

What's wrong with putting a log in a fireplace? That's so sweet that Gene wants to keep his girlfriend warm. ;)

Kiss had a lot of pathetic lyrics. Like, pretty much all of "Lick it Up" and "Let's Put the X in Sex." Love's like a muscle and you make me wanna flex?? Eegads.

It's funny that you mentioned "I'll Be There For You." My dad found the lyrics to that once when I had the CD (in my huge Bon Jovi phase) and about laughed himself sick. I think he really enjoyed And Baby you know my hands are dirty/But I wanted to be your valentine.

Someone pointed out how bad the words to Train's "Drops of Jupiter" were and I have to concur that this is one of the dumbest lines ever:
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance, five-hour phone conversation, the best soy latte that you ever had, and me? UGH.

At April 27, 2008 6:58 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

Christian Rock sounds like Air Supply. I don't think that I could stand to be in Heaven if I had to listen to the Heavenly Host sing Air Supply.

At April 28, 2008 1:00 AM, Blogger tworabbitshow replied to my musings ...

"I am," I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair

Thank you, Neil Diamond. The chair is probably just as appalled by the crappiness of these lyrics as I am.

At April 28, 2008 6:12 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Angel: I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Beckeye: Thanks for defending Gene. The man gets no warm cuddlies ... I wonder why? And, yes, that Train song is particularly bad. I'd probably have included that in my next bad lyrics post if I was more familiar with that one!

Fuzz: I"m not sure what would be a more disappointing heaven: one with Christian rock or one with Warrant's "Heaven."

TRS: Not to mention his horribly insensitive line from America: "On the boats and on the planes/They're coming to America."

What about all the walkers and swimmers?!?

At April 29, 2008 3:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

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At April 30, 2008 1:56 PM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...

lol...I'm enjoying your blog! You are very funny! :) That Bon Jovi thing really cracked me up! I can't believe I hadn't seen your blog before. I'll be back.

At May 05, 2008 3:38 PM, Blogger rock_of_ages replied to my musings ...

I dunno... I can see where your coming from with "The End", but on an album that also offers "Octopus's Garden" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" surely any shortcomings on "The End" can be overlooked whilst venom is aimed at those two monstrosities?



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