I admit to listening to bad or maybe I should say indifferent music – stuff that runs along in the background – that doesn’t interfere with what I am thinking – despite this I only listen to music when I am being active or driving, and I switch channels when the text is too terrible, and when I work however I need silence. Classical music in my mind needs to be listened to, it doesn’t lend itself to easy listening – if you let yourself get swept up in it you are on an emotional roller-coaster which detracts from anything else you should be doing – if you don’t believe me listen in to Lohengrin by Wagner (if you are looking on youtube, you could do worse than listen in on the Scala version Daniel Barenboim), or the Dettingen Te Deum by G.F. Händel or the “dance of the knights” from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev – a very beautiful ballet, I once visited by myself and cried throughout it was so beautiful :).
Anyway, back to bad lyrics, does shallow music demand bad lyrics? In the olden days ( ok so they are not really shallow) the Beetles, Rolling stones, U2, Sting, the Police, Genesis, and more obscure offerings such as Kate Bush or the Cocteau twins and of course Dylan, wrote music but equally had the capability of writing lyrics that were more than words strung together in a mangled approximation of a sentence devoid of meaning. As I was growing up a friend of mine, a native German speaker, showed me some lyrics he had written – back in the time when everyone wanted to have their own band – the text “skin like silk, eyes like milk” – he is excused because 1) he later became an English teacher 2) English was not his native language and he was trying and probably ran through all words that rhymed with silk – how about skin like satin, enigmatic like latin…nope, I admit, it is also bad!
Nowadays, however, there are singers, who presumably speak English, or at least hold passports of English speaking nations, who, I must assume, voluntarily sing song texts that have zero meaning. What I would like to know is, why doesn’t it annoy them? And secondly does anyone else switch the radio channel because they cannot take it, or is it just me? Do other people just listen to the music and tap on their steering wheel and manage to ignore the painful thrumming of meaningless text on their cortex?
Some prime examples of lyrics that have me reaching for the dial of the radio:
Mambo No 5:(source lyrics) I must stay deep, Because talk is cheap, I like Angela, Pamela, Sandra and Rita, And as I continue you know, They are getting sweeter (I cannot say how much I hate this song, Chinese water torture for me would be better than being locked in a cell with Mambo No.5)
Bobby McFerrin: Heres a little song I wrote, You might want to sing it note for note, Don’t worry Be Happy, In every life we have some trouble, But when you worry you make it double (to be fair here the text makes sense, but it’s so cloyingly annoying that I cannot take it)
Some guy on youtube – I searched for lyrics: Yo, here is the story about a guy who lives in a blue world….(I am NOT making this up) another I assume guy on youtube: Dutty, Dutty, Dutty, Love, I feel like you letting go ( I kid you not!)
Britney: Oh baby, baby, Oh baby, baby, Oh baby, baby, how was I supposed to know, That something wasn’t right here, Oh baby, baby, I shouldn’t have let you go, And now you’re out of sight, yeah, Show me how you want it to be Tell me baby ’cause I need to know now, oh because