Music: where sanity is sacrificed for the sake of rhyme. Artistic liberties can be the spice of life, but sometimes they’re just plain crazy. Or just stupid. Here are the lyrics that left us at LD confused and maybe a little pissed off.
“Bang Bang” by Jessie J/Nicki Minaj/Ariana Grande
“Bang bang into the room (I know you want it)/Bang bang all over you (I’ll let you have it)”
Trying to figure out what they’re talking about here actually keeps us up at night. What bang bangs all over you?
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
“Before you came into my life/I missed you so bad”
We fundamentally do not understand how you can miss someone before they come into your life. We vaguely get what Carly’s going for here with the idea of missing the presence of a significant other… but you can’t miss a stranger before you’ve even seen them, regardless of how many times you throw a wish into a well for them.
“Come Back to Bed” by John Mayer
“I survive on the breath you are finished with.”
Is this supposed to be romantic? Are we leagues under the sea sharing a re-breather, because that’s about the only situation where this makes sense and isn’t creepy. At least he’s waiting until we’re done with the breath, “OK, I think I’m done with this air, you can have it now, sorry for the smell of my lungs.” And cheers to the poor bastard who go this line tattooed.
“I Am The Walrus” by the Beatles
“Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower/Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna/Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe/I am the eggman, they are the eggmen/I am the walrus, goo goo g’ joob goo goo g’ joob”
Admittedly the entirety of the Magical Mystery tour albums begs the question, “WTF were they smoking?” and perhaps picking on lyrics from The Beatles’ drug years is a bit unfair, but a penguin singing Hare Krishna? “Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come?” If there was ever a reason to put down the drugs before writing, this song is proof positive.
“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
“Come on skinny love, what happened here?/Suckle on the hope in lite brassieres/My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my/Sullen load is full, so slow on the split”
First of all Bonnie Bear, let’s rewind to why you’d tell anyone to be balanced? Is their yoga game that important to you in the breakup? Next why are you suckling hope in a bra? Is this some kink we’re not aware of? Sometimes you can be too abstract in your metaphors.
“Little Yellow Spider” by Devandra Banhart
“Well, I came upon a dancing crab, and I stopped to watch it shake/I said, “Dance for me just one more time/Before you hibernate and you come out a crab cake”
Devandra Banhart lyrics are what magic is made out of but trying to understand them is like trying to solve the mysteries of the universe.
“Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana
“I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black”
Kurt I know you’re revered as the hero of the 90s grunge scene, but I have never once understood a GD word you’ve said. Also, ew.
“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls
“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends/(Gotta get with my friends)/Make it last forever, friendship never ends”
Yes, we know the point is that if you’re going to be my man, you have to get along with my friends, but this phrasing DOES NOT SAY THAT AT ALL. “If you want to be my lover you gotta get with my friends?” This sounds like a surefire way to end a friendship. “Hey BF, before you’re my lover, I want my BFFs to take you for a test drive first.” It may be a guy’s wet dream, but this is one girl power lyric that missed its mark. And don’t even get us started on WTF “really wanna zigazig ah” means.
“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna
“Now I’m Four Five Seconds from wildin’/And we got three more days ’til Friday/I’m just tryna make it back home by Monday mornin’/I swear I wish somebody would tell me/Ooh, that’s all I want”
OK what the hell is “wildin”? Before I looked up these lyrics I’d just let my voice fizzle out at the end of this line whenever I sang along to the song because I had no idea what Ri-Ri was trying to say. I’m also incredibly confused by her concept of time. I might understand if she said “four or five seconds,” but as it is, it seems as if she has either 4-5 seconds as in 45 seconds or, instead of running out of time, she’s gaining it—hence the extra second tacked on there. I realize there’s an artistic quality to the lack of logic accompanying most pop songs, but if I’m going to belt out a song as I cruise down the highway, I’d like to know what the words mean.
“Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners
“Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye/Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye/Now you’re full grown/Now you have shown/Oh, Eileen”
Despite ranking this tune on my top five favorite songs of all time and dancing uncontrollably every time I hear it, I can’t for the life of me decipher these lyrics. I get that this guy is hitting on sweet Eileen, but if “too-loo-rye-aye” is intended to be anything close to a successful pickup line, this guy will be singing for a long time before she consents.
“Every Other Freckle” by alt-J
“I want to share your mouthful/I want to do all the things your lungs do so well/I’m gonna bed into you like a cat beds into a beanbag/Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.”
Any time that I hear this song on the radio or on Spotify I listen to it—I NEVER skip it. But, even after scrutinizing the song’s lyrics, I still have no idea what they’re crooning about and I’m slightly disturbed. But it sounds awesome so I keep listening to it and muttering along with the lyrics. One of their other songs (“Hunger of the Pines”) is also super weird, but they’re an English indie rock band, so what were you expecting?
“Red Rabbits” by The Shins
“Out of a gunnysack for red rabbits/Into the crucible to be rendered an emulsion/And we can’t allow a chance they’d restore themselves/So we can’t make it easy on you
Undaunted, you bathed in hollow cries/The boils were swollen, sunburned eyes/A reward for letting nothing under their skin/So help me, I don’t know, I might/Just give the old dark side a try”
Oh The Shins, the music group of my angsty teenage years. I listened to all of their albums on one giant repeat loop when I was studying, hanging out at the library (because I was so cool), or at lunch. I know all the words to their songs, and essentially know nothing about what they truly mean. The song, “red rabbits” was always a particularly bizarre one, because seriously, who hates rabbits? Nevertheless, I’m filled with nostalgia whenever I hear one of their bizarre songs randomly in my earpiece.
“Summer Girls” by LFO
“You’re the best girl that I ever did see,/The great Larry Bird Jersey 33/When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet/Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets”
“Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets” might honestly be my favorite lyric ever to grace a pop song, and a pretty amazing slant rhyme, but that doesn’t change the fact that not one of these things has anything at all to do with any other one of these things. What is she sipping on? Are hornets supposed to be sexy? Why are we talking about basketball? Are you really on a nickname basis with Shakespeare? I will grant you, LFO, that 154 is “a whole bunch” of sonnets.
“MacArthur Park” by Jimmy Webb
“MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark/All the sweet, green icing flowing down/Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don’t think that I can take it/‘Cause it took so long to bake it/And I’ll never have that recipe again/Oh, no!”
This is one of those weird classics that I do not get. I had to read a book by Jimmy Webb on songwriting for a class and I felt like a monkey was condescending me. This song gives me a mental image of a post-apocalyptic bake sale—I am not sure what other than the apocalypse could make a park melt. Also, it’s just a cake, man. It is not that hard to find a recipe.
“E.T.” by Katy Perry ft. Kanye West
“Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me/Infect me with your love and/Fill me with your poison”
I’m all for the non-cliché romantic lyrics but this is just weird and creepy. There’s something very wrong and so anti-seductive with having “kiss”, “infect” and “fill with poison” in the same sentence.
“Dark Horse” by Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
“She’s sweet as pie but if you break her heart/She’ll turn cold as a freezer”
In a song that mentions Sleeping Beauty and Aphrodite, I’d expect it to be something more classy like “cold as Ice Queen”, not “cold as a freezer”.
Which songs confuse you the most? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @litdarling!