Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Not understanding song lyrics


Adamixoye

Recommended Posts

I've been around long enough to know that if this topic has come up before, it hasn't been recently (unless I was holed up somewhere). The topic is, explain your experiences with a song where either...

 

(A) ...you failed to understand the song lyrics, and for a long time you were curious what in the world they were

(B) ...you thought you understood a song's lyrics, only to find out the song's lyrics were rather different

 

My current best example of (A) is a song by The Vines. (Hey, stop throwing those tomatoes!) It's "Get Free", which you've probably heard (kind of a cool video, too). Here is my best interpretation of the chorus:

 

Come in, come in, come in

I'll take your butter for ya

Come in, come in, come in

Drive you around the corner

Come in, come in, come in

You know you really oughtta

Come in, come in, come in

Move out to California

 

And by "best interpretation", I don't mean I believe that's what the song actually says...I just can't figure out what it really says, and right now, this is what I hear every time I listen to the song. Maybe I'm close, maybe I'm not (I'm sure they're not talking about butter). I'm sure in this day of the internet it would a simple matter to look it up. However...it's kind of more fun this way. Especially since it is just The Vines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 24
  • Created
  • Last Reply
"Cool the Engines" on Bostons Third Stage. For the longest time I thought the lyrics were "Slowly dancing". After the album had been out for a year or so I finally read the song titles on the jacket at a friends house.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by bassingeorge:

It's actually "I'll take a photo for ya"

But I don't care, I didn't like the band.

That happens to me when I listen to some metal songs...cannibal corpses??? try understanding ONE word..just ONE..impossible.. :evil:

Doesn't CC usually have their lyrics printed on the CD sleeve, though? Obituary never did that; in fact, in "Cause of Death", there are only snippets of verses printed from all the songs on that album. Also, when one of their songs was transcribed by a guitar magazine, the lyrics were never printed.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a "non-deathie"...I have to chuckle at the names death-metal bands give themselves. I mean, wouldn't it be funny to have a death metal band and call 'em "Barney's happy playland"... and name a kids act "Rotting Brains"...just for a twist. :D
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as band names go, one of our heros has some suggestions:

 

Tony Levin\'s list of band names

 

As far as lyrics go, I'm always fuzzy on 'em unless I have to sing 'em. However, I think Seal has an interesting interpretation of the situation. In one of his CDs (maybe more) he explained that he doesn't include lyrics because if a listener hears something different than what he's singing, that's okay. It's part of the listener's experience and part of the listener's interpretation and relationship with the music. That said, it always sucks when what you hear doesn't make the least bit of sense to you and you wish you had the lyrics on paper!

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ironically, I was just having a discussion with a friend tonight about the nature of objectivity and subjectivity in writing (i.e., a debate about deconstructionism), which I suppose applies to lyrics as well. I best not launch fully into that, lest this turn into a variation of the discussion on absolutes or the lack thereof.

 

However, in short, if Seal intentionally does that, then I'd say the meaning is there is no meaning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the lyrics to MOST of the songs that I like. Not the complete lyrics, anyway. Unless it's a country song, the lyrics aren't that important. All of the old "standards" have lyrics. Who here knows all of the lyrics to "Satin Doll" and "Take The A Train"? Lyrics are like icing on the cake; they're nice, but they don't NEED to be there in many cases.

 

Then there's another category of problem, i.e. when you can HEAR the lyrics, but you have no idea what they're about. Some examples:

 

Come Together (Beatles)

Roundabout (Yes)

Voodoo Chile - Slight Return (Hendrix)

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Dan South:

Roundabout (Yes)

Jon Anderson was notorious for using words that "sounded good" when writing songs. So, often times, Yes songs wind up being extremely bizarre from a lyrical standpoint.

 

From what I have been told, Roundabout was written while the band was on the road; heading back home from a gig in Scotland. The "in and around a lake, mountains come out of the sky and they stand there" bit is about the lake they drove around in the mountains.

 

Now, tell me what "Close to the Edge" is about and you win something neat.

 

Close to the Edge

 

A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,

And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,

And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,

Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour.

And assessing points to nowhere, leading ev'ry single one.

A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,

And take away the plain in which we move,

And choose the course you're running.

 

Down at the edge, round by the corner,

Not right away, not right away.

Close to the edge, down by a river,

Not right away, not right away.

 

Crossed the line around the changes of the summer,

Reaching to call the color of the sky.

Passed around a moment clothed in mornings faster than we see.

Getting over all the time I had to worry,

Leaving all the changes far from far behind.

We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name.

 

Down at the end, round by the corner.

Close to the edge, just by a river.

Seasons will pass you by.

I get up, I get down.

Now that it's all over and done,

Now that you find, now that you're whole.

 

My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love.

It changed as almost strained amidst clear manna from above.

I crucified my hate and held the word within my hand.

There's you, the time, the logic, or the reasons we don't understand.

 

Sad courage claimed the victims standing still for all to see,

As armoured movers took approach to overlook the sea.

There since the cord, the license, or the reasons we understood will be.

 

Down at the edge, close by a river.

Close to the edge, round by the corner.

Close to the end, down by the corner.

Down at the edge, round by the river.

 

Sudden call shouldn't take away the startled memory.

All in all, the journey takes you all the way.

As apart from any reality that you've ever seen and known.

Guessing problems only to deceive the mention,

Passing paths that climb halfway into the void.

As we cross from side to side, we hear the total mass retain.

 

Down at the edge, round by the corner.

Close to the end, down by a river.

Seasons will pass you by.

I get up, I get down.

 

In her white lace

You can clearly see the lady sadly looking.

Saying that she'd take the blame

For the crucifixion of her own domain.

 

I get up, I get down,

I get up, I get down.

Two million people barely satisfy.

Two hundred women watch one woman cry, too late.

The eyes of honesty can achieve.

How many millions do we deceive each day?

 

[Thru the duty she would coil their said

amusement of her story asking only interest

could be laid upon the children of her domain]

 

I get up, I get down.

I get up, I get down.

 

In charge of who is there in charge of me.

Do I look on blindly and say I see the way?

The truth is written all along the page.

How old will I be before I come of age for you?

I get up, I get down.

I get up, I get down.

I get up, I get down.

 

The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.

A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man, so it seems.

And space between the focus shape ascend knowledge of love.

As song and chance develop time, lost social temp'rance rules above.

Ah, ah.

 

Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space,

He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race.

I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place.

On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley,

Called to witness cycles only of the past.

And we reach all this with movements in between the said remark.

 

Close to the edge, down by the river.

Down at the end, round by the corner.

Seasons will pass you by,

Now that it's all over and done,

Called to the seed, right to the sun.

Now that you find, now that you're whole.

Seasons will pass you by,

I get up, I get down.

I get up, I get down.

I get up, I get down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Close to the Edge"--that done me good. One of my very favorite Yes songs. And it makes no sense...and yet, the lyrics definitely create a dinstinctive mood, & a sequence of vague images & feelings, don't they?

 

Later Anderson totally gave into this approach, on Tales From Topographic Oceans. The beginning of "The Revealing Science of God" (chanted):

 

Dawn of light lying between a silence and solid sources

Chased amid fusions of wonder in moments hardly seen forgotten

Coloured in pastures of chance dancing leaves cast spells of challenge

Amused but real in thought we fled from the sea whole

Dawn of thought transferred through moments of days undersearching earth

Revealing corridors of time provoking memories disjointed but with purpose

Craving penetrations offer links with the self instructors sharp and tender love as we took to the air a picture of distance

Dawn of our power we amuse redescending as fast as misused expressions as only to teach love as to reveal passion chasing late into corners and we danced from the ocean

Dawn of love sent within us colours of awakening among the many wont to follow only tunes of a different age as the links span our endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting

 

Then the song starts. :eek: But here's where he really lets go:

 

Star light movement reasons

Release forward

Tallest rainbow

Sun shower seasons

Life flower reasons...

Skyline teacher

Warland seeker

Send out poison

Cast iron leader

 

Yes sort of warped me early...now I get sort of annoyed by lyrics that are too literal or prosaic, and absolutely cannot stand preachy ones or over-emotional ones.

 

David Byrne has gone through some wild stages in his lyric-writing. My favorites are the early ones, which were effective for being almost simple-minded in their straightforwardness, which actually made them quite ironic; lyrics like:

 

Some civil servants are just like my loved ones

They work so hard and they try to be strong

I'm a lucky guy to live in my building

They own the buildings to help them along

It's over there, it's over there

My building has every convenience

It's going to make life easy for me

It's gonna be easy to get things done

I wanna relax along with my loved ones

Loved ones, loved ones, visit the building

Take the highway, park, and come up and see me

I'll be working, working but if you come visit

I'll put down what I'm doing, my friends are important

 

And my favorite from this period:

 

Damn that television!! What a bad picture! :D:freak:

 

So I'm sort of the "lyrics, schmyrics" school, too. Funny thing is I'm a very literal-minded person, so I'm pretty sure I could never write lyrics that I liked. Damn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to throw this in, this mad me laugh my ass off.

 

A drummer I know was at college in Adelaide, Australia. He and his mates were out in a bar one night and met a girl of undetermined central European origin. (I think she was Belgian.) They're chatting away and "Smoke on the water" comes on on the juke box.

 

"Aaaaaaaw man I love this song." shouts the girl, who gets up and proceeds to rock her socks off around the bar.

 

Deep Purple hit the chorus, I'm sure we all know it...

 

"Smoke on the water,

Fire in the sky."

 

But the (Belgian) girl must have misheard the lyrics for all these years as she belts out with great confidence the lines...

 

"Smoke station Walter,

The fire engine guy."

 

(Cue the bass player dropping his pint and rolling on the floor laughing his frets off.)

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoa, am I glad I never paid attention to the lyrics of Yes!

 

Many times I am asked to play songs at weddings that the bride has chosen. However it's fairly obvious that she's only heard the chorus and never listened to verse lyrics...for instance "Saving All My Love For You" is a pretty song but it's about an extra-marital affair, not exactly the song that should be played as a first dance. Sometimes we convince the bride to change songs, sometimes we re-write the lyrics.

 

But as for myself,

 

I'd rather mishear the lyrics than the changes... :D

 

So did you hear about the singer and the piano player who were working together and they received a request for a tune.

"Do you know it?" asked the pianist.

"I know the verses but I'm not sure of the bridge," replied the singer.

"Don't worry, I'll help you when we get there," said the pianist.

 

So they went through the first two verses and as they were getting to the bridge, the singer looked over expectantly at the pianist.

 

He looked at her and said, "Bbm7 Eb7 AbMa7"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't CC usually have their lyrics printed on the CD sleeve, though? Obituary never did that; in fact, in "Cause of Death", there are only snippets of verses printed from all the songs on that album. Also, when one of their songs was transcribed by a guitar magazine, the lyrics were never printed.[/QB]
I listened to some CC, and couldnt understand a F :D ing word of it. Then I looked at the lyrics as the song was playing and it became slightly clearer. I could hear that some of the words were pronounced correctly (about 1 in 15) but I could understand it.

 

Here is a funny link to this topic thats not really on topic: Death Metal Sing Along FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL!!! ;)

 

~PHIL~

http://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/blue.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/black.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/fuscia.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/grey.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/orange.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/purple.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/red.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/yellow.JPG
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How does CHRIS SQUIRE remember them as he sings them in odd harmonies, playing a whole different melody on the bass?!?

 

Seriously, it's amazing enough what the guy can sing & play at the same time, musically; but when you consider that the lyrics don't even form phrases, much less sentences...ouch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by phil6006:

Doesn't CC usually have their lyrics printed on the CD sleeve, though? Obituary never did that; in fact, in "Cause of Death", there are only snippets of verses printed from all the songs on that album. Also, when one of their songs was transcribed by a guitar magazine, the lyrics were never printed.
I listened to some CC, and couldnt understand a F :D ing word of it. Then I looked at the lyrics as the song was playing and it became slightly clearer. I could hear that some of the words were pronounced correctly (about 1 in 15) but I could understand it.

 

Here is a funny link to this topic thats not really on topic: Death Metal Sing Along FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL!!! ;)

 

~PHIL~[/QB]

I saved the Flash movie for that...fukeng hilarious, man! LOL :D
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A great big THANKS to everyone! :wave:

 

I thought I was the only one with this problem (except maybe my wife to a much lesser degree).

 

Actually I "missed" a lot less than some of you and the sites posted. I actually knew the "Smoke On The Water" lyrics!

 

Maybe I really am meant to be a bassist!

 

Here's an oldie and a moldie. In "The Bristol Stomp", is it Bristol, CT or Bristol, PA or ?

 

Dave

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's Bristol PA.

 

The Dovells went to Overbrook High School in Philadelphia.

 

That's the same high school as Wilt Chamberlain, the greatest basketball player in history. It's actually possible that they were in high school at the same time. Wilt graduated in 1955. The song was a hit in 1961.

 

The Orlons and Dee Dee Sharp also went to Overbrook H.S. So did Will Smith.

 

Other basketball player alumni include Walt Hazzard and Malik Rose.

 

And my dad went to Overbrook H.S. as well, that's why I know all this stuff. Oh yeah, and I looked up the Bristol Stomp with Google.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew it was PA because I have (somewhere) a "dance party" album from the early 60s. It's got two from the Dovells, from the Orlons, from Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell, etc. All are PA products....

 

Great song, especially the yodell.

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

jeremyc,

It's Bristol, PA.

The Dovells went to Overbrook High School in Philadelphia.

DARN :mad:

 

I've been trying to razz my wife about that for 30 years now (she was raised north of Philli). I do KNOW it's Bristol, PA, but I thought if I could get ONE person to agree with me (I was raised in Connecticut) I could start the razzing again. :P

 

Oh well. :cry: You guys are just too sharp! :D

 

Interesting about "Wilt the Stilt" though. :cool:

 

Thanks, Dave

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...