The other day Dusty and I were talking about Hinder and particularly their number one, chart topping, radio blanketing, super smash hit, Lips of An Angel...and why I hate it. Obvious reasons would be radio over-saturation, douche bag band members, and outright cock-rockery. Let's look past that for a moment and get to the real heart of the problem. One that plagues many top 40 radio staples...I say plague as if it's the song that suffers and not us...and makes every sucker singing along that much more of a mindless host for the Viacom parasite. I speak of *fanfare*...lyrical content.
We all know that the key to a great pop song is the hook. People want to sing along, they want something they can get into right away and feel like they know the words already after a minute and a half of the song. If there's anything that pop music has proven is that it doesn't actually matter what those words are. Forget for a moment that this is a anger spewing diatribe of hate and think about that. Regardless of what the words are, we remember that tune. We hum it in our heads, sort of half mumble it under our breath, whistle it was we walk our dogs, and often times even get the words wrong. So remember all you aspiring artists out there...if you want to make it in "the biz", write a catchy tune. You can write the words later...or never at all (read: Scatman).
Let's face it, there's only one Bob Dylan, there's only one Neil Young, there's only one Tom Waits....you are not them. If you want to make it as a musician you may just have to give up those dreams of being this profound, ground breaking voice of a generation *gasp!*. I'm not saying give up your artistic integrity and sell out, I'm just saying give a little. You're not going anywhere being a pompous, pretentious a-hole. Write a few songs people can get into, that they can relate to, and then fill the rest of your album with your heartbreak and views on politics and the economy and how much you hate the president.
Now to the real perpetrator. Maybe more than the horrible lyrics and underlying theme of the song, it's the mob of young women in every bar, and every cheerleading practice, and every sleepover that belt out every god awful word that I despise. Hordes of girls love this song, love it. And why? Because he misses this girl? This is where the whole thing really gets to me. No one takes the time to really listen to the whole song. The song is about a guy who's with a girl and gets a late night phone call from his ex. She's upset and tells him she misses him and he precedes to tell her the same. They can't be too loud because his current girl is in the next room and it could start a fight between her and her current man. Every girl thinks it's so sweet that he misses this girl and he has all these great things to say about her. News flash! - You are not the girl on the phone...you are the girl in the other room. And even if you're not...do you really want to be with this guy that can't make up his mind and really just wants to get back with you for a few steamy gropefests in the dressing room at the mall, only to have him call the other girl two weeks later and sing the same damn song to her, telling her how much he misses her "lips of an angel"? Not to mention you have a significant other as well. Soooo, you want to cheat on him...and be with a guy who will cheat on his girlfriend? Sounds like a formula for life-long happiness. "girl you make it hard to be faithful"
Alright, let's calm down...we'll move on and let you mull that over later.
Let's look at some other classic examples of pop songs that people tend to belt out without really thinking about what they're singing. We'll start with an easy obvious one:
Every Breath You Take - The Police
Before Puffy got a hold of it and numbed the minds of an entire generation it was hit single by good old Sting. The song is, at the core, a song about a stalker. The character in the song is stalking this woman..."oh can't you see...you belong to me" Creepy when you think about it...so think about it. It's not some great love song about longing and desire. It's super-creepers.
867-5309 (Jenny) - Tommy Tutone
No one will ever, ever, ever, ever forget this phone number. One of the biggest pop tunes of our time and it's a phone number. It's just that easy kids.
(see also: 25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago)
Ironic - Alanis Morrisette
Not a goddam thing in the song is ironic...wait...isn't that ironic?
Like A Virgin - Madonna
Just do yourself and favor and rent Reservoir Dogs...nuff said
Crash - Dave Matthews Band
Not only is this song about (unprotected) sex, but a little S and M action, a little voyeurism, and some nocturnal emissions. How many little college freshmen, drinking their Natty Light, playing Corn Hole do you think even know what voyeurism or nocturnal emission means? Trust me, go read the lyrics and see what I mean, too many examples to list.
(see also: Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics)
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm - Crash Test Dummies
They took all the hard work out and just made the chorus humming. Of course with as low as Brad Robert's voice gets half the time, he could be saying something and it just sounds like a bass hum.
(see also: MmmBop - Hanson)
There are so many more and I won't sit here and list them all. You're all smart kids, next time you find yourself singing along to whatever's on the radio, on the TV, secretly hidden on your iPod, or just stuck in your head from 10 years ago...pay attention. Trust me, we're all guilty, so until next time....
All I want to do is *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang*
and a *click* *ching*
take all your money