Sunday, November 1, 2009

Aerosmith -- "Sweet Emotion"

Because cheap laughs that make us feel bad about ourselves later is what we're all about here at Awesomely Bad Lyrics, please enjoy this picture!

Ha! This funny-looking celebrity would not fit in in the Real America with us hard-working Joes! All the solid gold toilets in the world won't change the fact that he looks similar to a monkey when he makes a certain facial expression!

Little-known fact, though, and here's where I blow your mind -- this monkey got a songwriting credit for "Sweet Emotion." He was later kicked out of the band because of "creative differences" with Steven Tyler, and because he demanded 100 freshly peeled bananas each day before he would write a single word. Many critics feel that while Aerosmith's later work was more polished and enjoyed great commercial success, it didn't quite have the same spark, much like the recordings of Pink Floyd post-Syd Barrett.

OK, enough monkeying around! Ha ha! (muffled sob)

Before we start with the lyrics, please enjoy this creepy video! I like the part when it appears that Steven Tyler and one of his band-mates (I refuse to learn their names) are on the verge of making out.

Sweet emotion / Sweet emotion

Yeah, emotion sure is sweet. It really doesn't matter what emotion you're feeling -- lust, despair, surprise, angst, contempt, optimism, rage, zest -- it's always pretty sweet. Yup.

You talk about things that nobody cares / You're wearing out things that nobody wears

First line is grammatically incorrect. You don't "care" something. We need a preposition here.

Second line makes little to no sense.

So, what emotion is Steven Tyler feeling here? Contempt? Disgust? Confusion?

You're calling my name but I gotta make clear
/ I can't say, baby, where I'll be in a year

OK, up to this point the song makes at least a modicum of sense. Steven Tyler knows a girl, and the girl likes him, but he's not especially into her and wants to let her know that he doesn't see this becoming a serious relationship. He is feeling some sort of emotion, probably apprehension, I guess, and for some reason this is sweet.

When some sweat hog mama with a face like a gent / Said my get up and go musta got up and went / Well I got good news, she's a real good liar / 'Cause the backstage boogie set your pants on fire


Oh, my. So much to discuss here. First of all, what does this have to do with anything? Secondly, why are you so concerned with this seemingly casual insult from a "sweat hog mama"? You seem kind of insecure. Third, I don't think it's fair to call this woman a liar. She was just probably mistaken about your loss of sexual prowess. Fourth, if the pronoun "you" still has the same unnamed antecedent as it did in Verse 1, why are you responding to this criticism by citing your seduction of a woman that you hold in such seemingly low esteem? And fifth, oh my god, really? "The backstage boogie set your pants on fire"?

Phew. I'm calling a timeout. While you wait, maybe you'd enjoy seeing a disgusting picture of Steven Tyler with his ass hanging out? I know I was thrilled to find it! And hey! Maybe you'd like to buy an Aerosmith lottery ticket? If that article doesn't entice you, maybe this commercial in which a goldfish somehow drives a car will do the trick!

OK now. Deep breaths. Keep it together, man. Just two verses to go.

Sweet emotion / Sweet emotion

What do the words "sweet emotion" have to do with the content of this song? I really want to know. Maybe it's just a filler phrase that Steven Tyler made up, sort of along the lines of "Oh well!" or "What're you gonna do?"

So one could say something like "Hey, there's this girl who is really into me, and we did it a couple times, but I need to tell her that it's not really going to work out. I'm really in a pickle here. Sweet emotion!"

I pulled into town in a police car / Your daddy said I took it just a little too far

This whole third verse is just drunken rambling. I will give anyone who can offer a reasonable explanation of these lyrics an autographed copy of the 1975 Aerosmith album "Toys in the Attic." Or an autographed printout of that disgusting picture of Steven Tyler I linked to above. Whichever you prefer. (These would be autographed by me, not by any members of Aerosmith.)

You're telling her things but your girlfriend lied / You can't catch me 'cause the rabbit done died / Yes it did

See?

You stand in the front just a shakin' your ass / I'll take you backstage, you can drink from my glass

Eww. Gross. Haven't you heard of H1N1, Steven Tyler?

Actually, this album was released just one year before the swine-flu outbreak of 1976. Coincidence? Or perhaps this occurred because everyone was going around drinking from each other's glasses willy-nilly, throwing caution to the wind, after this song came out? I think I might've stumbled onto something important. Is anyone here an epidemiologist? Is anyone even here? Hello?

Hey, what part of the "backstage boogie" do you think that "drink(ing) from (Steven Tyler's) glass" represents? I don't think I want to know.

I'll talk about something you can sure understand / 'Cause a month on the road and I'll be eatin' from your hand

Irritation. Exasperation. Fear. Horror. Torment. Disgust. Rage. Shame. Agitation. Grumpiness. Melancholy. Dejection. Alienation.

Emotions.

Sweet.

19 comments:

  1. I am pretty sure, at least, that the line about the "rabbit done died" is referring to pregnancy. Before the little sticks a woman pees on to find out if she's pregnant, they used to inject rabbits with a woman's urine and if the rabbit died, that meant she was pregnant. http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/rabbit.asp

    Actually this makes that line even more puzzling... you would think he would say he couldn't be caught since the rabbit did -not- die, and he therefore didn't get anyone pregnant.

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  2. I thought the same thing about that line. But when they were used for pregnancy tests, the rabbit always died, not just if a woman was pregnant. They had to perform a necropsy to determine the result of the test. So saying that the "rabbit done died" really doesn't provide any useful information.

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  3. I think the "can't catch me" bit means that he's boasting about fleeing from his parental responsibilities. "Hey, look, there's that hot piece I did the backstage boogie with! Remember when she drank from my glass? You know what I'm talkin' about! Wait, she's pregnant? Shit, gotta run! Can't catch me! Sweeeeeet emotion...."

    While it's true that back in the day innocent bunnies were slaughtered no matter what the outcome of the pregnancy test, it seems that people at the time invariably used "the rabbit died" as code for "I'm pregnant," for reasons I'm not quite clear on.

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  4. Wow, I had never heard of the "rabbit test" thing. So, I guess she won't be able to catch him because she is pregnant, and therefore she is (or will be) very fat, and therefore will not be able to run as fast. Sweet emotion!

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  5. I was watching the video, and the way he threw the mic from hand to hand reminded me of something I'd seen before. Then it came to me, it's the monkey in the song First Drink of the Day...check it out on www.rathergood.com/first_drink/

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  6. The first time I saw Steven Tyler (back in '72 or so) it took me about five minutes to figure out that I wasn't looking at a bad photo of either Mick Jagger OR Carly Simon. The Steev photo with this post is equally confusing, but in a slightly different way ... crikey!

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  7. I always thought the line was "You can't catch meat 'cause the rabbit done died". I am actually somewhat relieved to find that the real lyrics make just as little sense.

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  8. I thought the first line had a conjunction in it rather than a relative pronoun: "You talk about things, [but/and -- it sounds like it could be either one] nobody cares". At least it's grammatical.

    My interpretation of the incident with the woman with masculine features is that she's being self-deprecating, saying that she's the one whose get-up-and-go is in question, but the singer was happy to find out that she's actually an enthusiastic lover.

    And am I dating myself by remembering the episode of MASH in which Radar's rabbit is needed for a pregnancy test, and he makes Hawkeye agree to give her a hysterectomy rather than kill her?

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  9. ya'll is all a bunch of damn fool ass smellers!
    - Steve

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  10. ya just don't get it....he's full of energy and whimsy,...and fun

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  11. The rabbit died means the chick was pregnant and he bailed.

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  12. Thanks for this Blog Post I laughed my self silly It was too good! Aerosmith is going back in the studio and I am going to send them some alternate lyrics ideas I have for this song. It is such a great Song but Yeah, such terrible spiritually un-evolved lyrics-except for the "sweet emotion" refrain. It was bad enough singing along to them as a teen on my dates shoulders front row at their SMU Dallas show but as someone who just turned 50 it is almost intolerable.
    I hope they understand! :) Thanks again! If you want to review my lyrics in their rough draft email me djkellyvalentine at gmail dot com

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  13. Tyler once said in an interview that the 'rabbit done died' lyric meant (only) that a pregnancy test was done (not an indication of the result) and that it is up to the listener to infer from the 'can't catch me' that the girl was not pregnant. In fact he said, the girl in question was trying to trap him by saying she was pregnant when she wasn't (back then, this happened on the road a lot).

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  14. In March 75 when this song was recorded Steven had an underage lover that he had taken legal custody of over a year before, Julia Holcomb. He got her pregnant before this song was recorded and says in Walk This Way that in August 1975 (approx 5 months later) had an abortion after she almost died in an apartment fire. In Does the Noise in My Head he calls her his Sweet Eeee... He has been lying and hiding the truth of this song for over 35 years. He takes an underage lover, gets her pregnant, proposes marriage but backs out, forces an abortion, her father complains, a girlfriend of hers knows he is sexually impaired by the drugs and he freaks - calling her names and a liar, all makes sense to me. After it was a hit he didn't want people to know what it was about cause it makes him look like a lowlife jerk. Google her name and listen to her utubes. Very interesting.

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  15. I thought I read that the lyrics in "Sweet Emotion" had some connection to Joe Perry's girlfriend/fiancé. Apparently, she and Tyler did not get along.

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  16. Standing in front shaking your ass. Take you backstage you take a drink from my glass. You're calling me things I dont sure understand. A month on the road ill be eating from your hand. Steven is talking about joes controlling gf wife feonce (cant remember what they were at thr time)

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  17. Everywhere I look on the net, it says "sweat hog mama". I'd always thought it said "sweet-hearted mama," which makes a lot more sense to me.

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  18. BLB, you asked, "What do the words 'sweet emotion' have to do with the content of this song?"

    Answer: Joe Perry's nickname during this time period was "Mr. Sweet Emotion".

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  19. Quintopia, instead of "sweet-hearted mama" for that lyric, try "sweet talkin' mama" instead.

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