Lyrical Blunders

listening-to-bad-music Music has a way of drawing emotions out of a person in a way that few other arts can. The combination of pensive lyrics and a deliberately arranged melody can induce a sense of belonging, sadness, peace, clarity. Other times, the only response a person can have to a song is “WTF?” All too often, a pop song comes on the radio that causes people to cock their head in confusion during their otherwise peaceful morning commute and wonder how a songwriter could write something so utterly stupid. Music is a beautiful thing, but one can’t fully appreciate the genius that is Kiesza’s “Hideaway” and at the same time be aware that Pitbull rhymed Kodak with Kodak in his 2011 hit “Everything.” It’s been three years and I am still haunted by it. Pitbull is not the only artist to try to create a rhyme out of only one word. 2 Chainz famously rapped, “She got a big booty so I call her Big Booty.” While I give him credit for being direct and concise, his word choice lacked profundity.

Rhyming a word with itself is not the only offense these songwriters have haphazardly committed. Taylor Swift thought it was a good idea to connect The Scarlet Letter to Romeo and Juliet with her lyrics “You were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter, and my daddy said stay away from Juliet,” completely ignoring the fact that these stories took place at least one hundred years apart and had nothing to do with each other. It is possible that Swift was not aware that literature from the Romantic Era isn’t necessarily love-romantic. “Love Story” might have been better received by the literary community had Taylor Swift somehow incorporated Hester Prynne’s name into the song.

While we are on the subject of artists who did not bother to ever open a text book, there is also Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic,” the song without a single ironic situation. Alanis, I am terribly sorry about your knife deficit/obscene spoon surplus, but having “10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife” is simply not ironic. And though “Ironic” was bad, it is not on the level of disaster that “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo is. Much like the booties of the women he talks about in that song, the stupidity of the lyrics needs no explaining.

Sometimes the only explanation for terrible song lyrics is negligence. For example:

“I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful. Damn, you’se a sexy bitch.” David Guetta and Akon obviously neglected to re-read their lyrics for consistency. Calling a woman a “sexy bitch” is, in fact, disrespectful.

Other times, laziness is the only explanation:

“Cake, cake, cake, cake / cake, cake, cake cake / cake, cake, cake, cake / cake, cake, cake, cake” from Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake.”

“Ass, ass, ass, ass / ass, ass, ass, ass / ass, ass, ass, ass / ass, ass, ass, ass” from Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$).”

“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday / Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday” from Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

The good news is that music seems to be getting better. 2012 through 2014 have been good years for music, but it wouldn’t hurt for some of these artists to sit in on a creative writing class of some sort, or at least invest in a rhyming dictionary. Someone please save these songwriters from themselves.

If you’re in the mood for a good mix of songs, check out this week’s Hump Day Playlist.

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