Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poison -- "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"

Thanks to faithful readers Steveo and Amy for this recommendation. Here's a link to the video -- it's rather benign save for a few gratuitous girl-lying-in-bed-in-her-underwear shots and a too-scantily-clad Bret Michaels.

Fun fact! Poison's Web site is, which in addition to sounding like a fan site for black widow spiders, answers the age-old question of what one gets at a Poison concert. The answer? "Passion! Fun! Fury! Intensity! All in all, you get what you get at a Poison concert!" That last sentence earns this post the coveted "logical fallacies" tag. And, I don't know why anyone would ever ask what they do not get at a Poison concert, but the band unhelpfully explains that "(y)ou get no predictability and Poison likes it that way!" I can make one prediction: You will get some awesomely bad lyrics if the band plays "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," although there is, of course, no way to predict if they will (hint: they will).

We both lie silently still / In the dead of the night / Although we both lie close together / We feel miles apart inside

I like the ominous ticking clock and rolling thunder that lead into this opening verse. Very dramatic.

Was it something I said or something I did / Did my words not come out right? / Though I tried not to hurt you / Though I tried

I'm sure you tried really hard, Bret. Your track record with relationships is pretty stellar, after all. *cough*rock of love*cough* Who said that?

But I guess that’s why they say / Every rose has its thorn / Just like every night has its dawn / Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song / Every rose has its thorn

So let me get this analogy straight. Rose:night::thorn:dawn? Sooo ... the rose is supposed to be the good thing and the thorn the bad thing. I feel fairly confident in that. So, by that logic, the night is good and the dawn is ... bad? So you're telling me I spent all that time on your stupid black widow spider Web site trying to find a logical fallacy when it was right here in the lyrics all along?!?! Arrrgh.

Also, does every cowboy sing a sad, sad song? Really? Every single cowboy? What about this guy?He wrote "Here Comes Santa Claus" AND "Frosty the Snowman" AND "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," for Jeff's sake. If those are sad, sad songs, then you are clearly not Bret Michaels, but in fact the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. He is also quite clearly a cowboy ... apparently, "Public Cowboy #1," even.

Yeah it does

It does?!

I listen to our favorite song / Playing on the radio / Hear the DJ say love’s a game of easy come and easy go / But I wonder does he know / Has he ever felt like this

Yeah, he probably has. Unless he is like 8 years old or something. Hey, Bret Michaels, I have an idea. You should talk to my good pal Lou Gramm. He told me that in his life, he has had heartache and pain. Or maybe my BFF Steve Perry. He's kinda caught between confusion and pain right now. They can sympathize with you. And when you're ready to move on, give my longtime fuck-buddy Richard Page a call. He can help you get on with your life. See? Isn't this easy? Maybe one day you will even go on to host a TV show in which 20 skanky women debase themselves for your unique affections. (Disclaimer: I have not actually ever seen "Rock of Love," so this may not be an accurate representation.)

And I know that you’d be here right now / If I could have let you know somehow

If there was only some way for men to let women know how they feel, other than writing cheesy, overwrought power ballads. It's like that Simpsons episode in which a team of polar expeditionaries march into the Kwik-E-Mart with bags of ice and tell Apu that they lost four more men on that particular journey, to which Apu replies, "If you can think of a better way to get ice, I'd like to hear it!"

Though it’s been a while now / I can still feel so much pain / Like the knife that cuts you, the wound heals / But the scar, that scar remains

Bret Michaels: Guys, guys, let's get serious! Stop making those endangered pandas take shots of Jagermeister and help me with these lyrics. I need a simile for something that, like, cuts you.
C.C. Deville: Uhhh ... a balloon?
Ricki Rockett: A candy bar!
Bret Michaels: No, no, no, come on, guys. Well, I guess this is why I'm the lyricist. Better put on my thinking cap.
(Fade out to a shot of large clocks with hands turning rapidly, indicating the passage of time. Fade back in to Bret Michaels, surrounded by empty cups of coffee, crumpled scraps of paper, and an ashtray full of cigarette butts, sporting a two-day beard.)
Bret Michaels: I've got it! A knife!
Endangered Panda: (in a British accent) Good show, old chap!!

Also, the wound heals like the knife that cuts you? How does that make sense?

I know I could have saved our love that night / If I’d known what to say / Instead of making love / We both made our separate ways

I see you beat me to the punch on that whole talking-to-Steve-Perry thing.

But now I hear you found somebody new / And that I never meant that much to you / To hear that tears me up inside / And to see you cuts me like a knife

Really? Going back to the old "cuts like a knife" simile again? You just used it two verses ago, and it was bad the first time. For shame, Bret Michaels. I hope your piles of money and thousands of women willing to have sex with you at the drop of a hat help you sleep at night. What's that? They do? Oh. OK then.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bonnie Tyler -- "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

Nothing I can write here will be as funny as this video, so perhaps y'all should just click on that link, watch and enjoy, and then move on with your lives.

Fun facts! Bonnie Tyler is Welsh, her given name is Gaynor Hopkins (?!), and she is literally a coal miner's daughter.

And, oh my god, is this true? This song was written by Jim Steinman, along with "Making Love (Out of Nothing At All)," for Meat Loaf, but Mr. Loaf's record company refused to pay for them, so they were given to Tyler and Air Supply. Wow. Can you imagine the alternate universe in which Meat Loaf's record company had sacked up and coughed up the cash for those babies? Meat Loaf would be worshipped as a god and probably would have served three or four terms as president in the '80s and '90s, nobody would have ever heard of Bill Clinton (but oddly enough, they would have heard of Monica Lewinsky), Bonnie Tyler would be relegated to performing in casinos (oh wait, that happened anyway), and killer robots would terrorize the human population (this is speculation).

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round

Good start here, rhyming the word "around" with the abbreviated version, "round."

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears

Bonnie Tyler's tears sound like Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" played by 1,000 garbage disposals and sung by Gilbert Gottfried.

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by

You should be more nervous about the fact that I haven't turned around yet.

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes

Now that I've got you lonely, nervous, and terrified, it shouldn't be too hard to make you fall apart, right?

Turn around, bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

There we go. Also, if you keep telling me to turn around, it is only going to perversely make me not want to turn around, and then we get into what psychologicians call a "vicious cycle."

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild

Hey, now we're getting somewhere. Your titillating insinuation that we could be engaging in some kind of fun activity, rather than wallowing in your own self-pity, is intriguing. Maybe I'll just turn around now and then we can ...

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit helpless and I'm lying like a child in your arms


Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit angry and I know I've got to get out and cry

But then ... wouldn't you have to listen to the sound of your tears?

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes / Turn around, bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

I think you're confusing me with Conor Oberst. Happens all the time.

And I need you now tonight / And I need you more than ever / And if you only hold me tight / We'll be holding on forever

Uh yeah, that sounds great ... hold on a minute, I just have to get something out of my car ... (sound of car door slamming, engine starting, tires on rubber)

And we'll only be making it right / Cause we'll never be wrong

Well, this is just circular reasoning.

Bonnie Tyler: We'll only be making it right!"
Unnamed Paramour: "Why is that?"
BT: "Because we'll never be wrong!"
UP: "But why will we never be wrong?"
BT: "I just told you, because we'll be making it right."
UP: "Yeah, but you're just using two related conclusions, without a premise to support them."
BT: "Turn around!"
UP: (suffers self-inflicted gunshot wound)

Together we can take it to the end of the line / Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time

Now here's the part about the eclipse. I guess it makes sense, sort of. She's saying this guy's love kind of overshadows any other feelings she might have, to the point where he is all she can think about. Right? All other aspects of her heart have been "eclipsed" by this feeling. I mean, technically, she should be entirely unable to feel if her entire heart is eclipsed, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

I dont know what to do and I'm always in the dark / We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

OK, I was with you up until the part about the powder keg, which seems to totally nullify the decent metaphor that you were building. You just said in the previous line that you were always in the dark, and now you're giving off sparks? Come on! I was trying to work with you here, but you're making it very difficult. Are you listening, Bonnie Tyler??? TURN AROUND!!! I'm talking to you!

(Also, I don't really want to drag this post out for the like 37 minutes of this song that remain, but near the end she says "Once upon a time there was light in my life / Now there's only love in the dark," which, again, doesn't quite seem to fit within the metaphorical structure.)

I really need you tonight / Forever's gonna start tonight

Yeah, that sounds really swell, Bonnie. Unfortunately, I just got a text saying I've been drafted to fight in Killer Robot War III and I'm really gonna have to leave right now for boot camp and stuff ... oh, crap, wrong alternate reality. What I meant was that President Loaf has asked me to serve as his Secretary of Whipped Cream in the upcoming administration and .... dammit!!!! Oh well, time for Plan B ... (swallows cyanide pill)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Scorpions -- "Wind of Change"

If you'll indulge me, I'd like to offer you an abbreviated Scorpions discography.

1976: "Virgin Killer," which has a cover that appears to be child pornography. (This link takes you to a picture of the cover, not to a child-pornography site.)
1978: "Taken by Force," the cover of which features two guys pointing guns at each other in a cemetery.
1980: "Animal Magnetism"'s cover shows a woman kneeling next to a dog, in front of a man holding a beer. (They appear to be in the desert for some reason.) Featured track: "Don't Make No Promises (Your Body Can't Keep)."
1984: "Love at First Sting"

I offer you this little snapshot because "Wind of Change" is a classic example of a band with a clear track record of objectifying women and just generally being kind of dick-ish and weird deciding to get all sensitive and shit. Songs of this ilk also tend to have awesomely bad lyrics, and this one is no exception.

Hey, remember the Cold War? I sure don't!

I follow the Moskva / Down to Gorky Park

Lead singer Klaus Meine (the Scorpions are German) clearly mispronounces the "v" in Moskva as a "w" here. Also, why Gorky Park? Are you just naming a random place in Moscow? Why not Red Square or Lenin's Tomb or something? Lenin's Tomb even has the right number of syllables, and is probably more recognizable to your Western listeners, and it's kind of maybe like symbolic of the death of Communism and stuff ... no? You're gonna stick with Gorky Park? Cool.

Listening to the wind of change / An August summer night

As opposed to what? An August winter night? Maybe he means the night is "august" with a small "a"-- a majestic, venerable night. (Actually, that would kind of make sense. Accidentally decent lyric!)

Soldiers passing by / Listening to the wind of change / (whistling solo)

Oh, but I love that whistling solo. Best ever? Any other nominees? "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John? "Patience" by Guns 'n' Roses? "Jealous Guy"?

The world is closing in / And did you ever think / That we could be so close, like brothers

I think this is what Gorbachev said to Reagan when they were drunk one night at the Kremlin.

The future's in the air / I can feel it everywhere / Blowing with the wind of change

Uh .... hey, aren't you the Scorpions? Dude! Bro! I love "Virgin Killer" and "Taken by Force" ... those albums are the shit! I was totally listening to "Taken by Force" in college this one time when I was playing beer pong with these chicks, and my buddy Z-Dub slipped some roofies into their cups and .... hey, is this your new jam? (Listens for a minute.) Woah, bro, this is so gay! (Passes out drunk)

Take me to the magic of the moment / On a glory night

I'm sure this lyric is much better when translated from the original Russian.

Where the children of tomorrow dream away / In the wind of change / Walking down the street / Distant memories / Are buried in the past forever

Future in the air? Check. Children of tomorrow dreaming away? Check. Wind of change blowing? Roger that. Distant memories buried in the past forever? Looks that way. Well, boys, looks like old mother Russia has got this whole democracy thing figured out, and nothing can possibly go wrong for at least the next 20 years. (Brushes his hands together briskly, strolls away whistling a happy tune.)

The wind of change blows straight / Into the face of time / Like a storm wind that will ring / The freedom bell for peace of mind

Wasn't this part of one of G.W. Bush's inaugural addresses? I could've sworn he said that in 2005. (Actually, go back and read those lyrics in the Jon Stewart Bush voice. Much funnier that way.)

Let your balalaika sing / What my guitar wants to say

What does your guitar want to say? Hmm? Something about how on some level, we're all the same, and that humankind needs to live in peace and harmony, and MR. GORBACHEV TEAR DOWN THIS WALL and all that good stuff? No? Just wants to play us out with a sweet solo, followed by the chorus and some more whistling? OK. Fine by me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Corey Hart -- "Sunglasses at Night"

According to Wikipedia, this song was originally supposed to be about "a totalitarian society that made everyone wear their sunglasses at night." (Those bastards!) However, Hart altered the lyrics to be "more romantic" when the record company asked for something more marketable. In my opinion, a good way to make the song more romantic would've been to remove all reference to wearing one's sunglasses at night, but nobody asked me, did they? DID THEY?!?!

The reference for that part of the article is actually the very same Wikipedia page, so ... not sure how reliable that information is. However, the video does seem to corroborate the whole totalitarianism thing. Luckily, the lyrics don't make much sense either way, so each of us can feel happy and secure with our own personal reading of "Sunglasses at Night" -- and I know we all have one.

Also, this song is the subject of very serious plagiarism charges.

Take it away, Corey!

I wear my sunglasses at night / so I can, so I can / Watch you weave then breathe your story lines

This is rather poetic. Initial reading: Corey Hart is wearing sunglasses as a disguise so he can stalk someone. Good clean fun.

And I wear my sunglasses at night / so I can, so I can / Keep track of the visions in my eyes

Corey Hart is *also* wearing his sunglasses at night so he can ... keep track of ... the visions ... in his eyes? So, OK, maybe if we go back to the totalitarian-society thing, he wants to maintain his identity in a world full of Ray-Ban-wearing automatons. But in that case, wouldn't he want to *not* wear his sunglasses? As usual, I'm confused.

While she's deceiving me, it cuts my security / Has she got control of me?

OK, most plausible reading so far: Corey Hart is playing a game of poker against a female adversary and is wearing sunglasses so she can't figure out what his "tell" is.

I turn to her and say: Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh no / Don't masquerade with the guy in shades, oh no / I can't believe it

OK, I give up. I must say, though, I love the line "Don't masquerade with the guy in shades." It tickles me right ... there. No, not there. Safety word!

You got it made with the guy in shades, oh no

I'm imagining a young Corey Hart out on the town, sowing his wild oats or whatever, and blithely referring to himself in the third person as "the guy in shades." Also, he talks like Fonzie for some reason. "Hey, you can't give a parking ticket to the guy in shades! Aaaayyyyy!" "Hey, who wants to dance with the guy in shades? Aaaayyyy! Aaaayyyy??"

And, fun facts: Corey Hart has a daughter named River, a son named Rain, lives in the Bahamas and writes songs for Celine Dion, among others. If that doesn't qualify as living the dream, I don't know what does.

And I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can / Forget my name while you collect your claim

Yes, that seems like a good reason to wear your sunglasses at night. Makes a lot of sense. Are you done yet, Corey? Because I, um, have a really important appointment with some really important people this afternoon and ...

And I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can / See the light that's right before my eyes

Ohhh, hey you guys, I totally just figured out what this song is about. It's really going to blow your minds. So, in reality, Corey Hart --

(A single shot rings out. I slump to the floor, slain before revealing the awful truth. The unknown assassins drive off into the night, their sunglasses reflecting no light and betraying no emotion. Totalitarianism wins again!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Journey -- "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"

I kind of wish the lyrics to this song were worse, because I don't feel it's quite suitable for the full treatment, yet I still feel the need to share this masterpiece.

If you made a game of bingo out of this video, some of the squares might ask for:

Awesome black muscle shirt
Entire band playing air instruments
Jean jacket
Keyboard glued to a wall
Aloof-looking girl with big hair and dangly earrings
Lead singer overemoting while leaning against a bright yellow wall
Drummer wearing a cutoff maroon T-shirt that says "FOOSBALL"
Synchronized head swivels
Porn 'stache
Slow motion jam session
Lead singer calling a holding penalty (also the internationally recognized symbol for "those chains that bind you")
Shocking final twist that makes no sense

And now, take it away, Robocop!

Here we stand / Worlds apart, hearts broken in two, two, two / Sleepless nights / Losing ground, I'm reachin’ for you, you, you

I don't quite understand the need for the parenthetical "Worlds Apart" in the title of this song. "Separate Ways" is a fine title. Although, I like to think that this was the inspiration for that Radiohead album where every song had two different names.

Feelin' that it's gone / Could change your mind / If we can't go on / To survive the tide, love divides

Not sure I quite get this part. Is he saying that experiencing the feelin' that it's gone could change her mind? Or is he feelin' that it's gone, but also thinks he could possibly change her mind? Steve Perry? Little help over here? Oops, looks like he's too busy fighting crime in dystopian Old Detroit.

By the way, the foray onto the Robocop Wikipedia page necessitated by that last paragraph revealed this little gem: "RoboCop was written by Edward Neuemeier and Michael Miner. Edward Neumeier stated that he first got the idea of Robocop when he walked past a poster for Blade Runner. He asked his friend what the film was about and he replied saying, 'It's about a cop hunting robots'. This then sparked the idea for him about a Robot Cop."

The movie was also inspired by the Judge Dredd comic book and the Marvel superhero Iron Man. And people say Hollywood lacks for original ideas ... sheesh.

Someday love will find you / Break those chains that bind you / One night will remind you / How we touched and went our separate ways

Umm ... what? Love will find her, thereby breaking whatever chains are binding her, and only *then* will she remember how the two of you were also once in love? Guh-wha?

If he ever hurts you / True love won't desert you / You know I still love you / Though we touched and went our separate ways

But on the other hand, if "he" ever hurts her, she will *also* remember this love affair with Steve Perry and then ... who knows? Hmm. I'm starting to think Steve Perry might be kind of self-centered.

Troubled times / Caught between confusion and pain, pain, pain

"Confusion" and "Pain" are the names of Steve Perry's two Bengal tigers.

Distant eyes / Promises we made were in vain, in vain, in vain

I think this song should've been called "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart (Distant Eyes))."

If you must go, I wish you love / You'll never walk alone / Take care my love / Miss you, love

The last two lines are sort of funny if you imagine Steve Perry saying them in a British accent.

I still love you, girl / I really love you, girl / And if he ever hurts you / True love won't desert you /

Hey, girl! Even though we're (apparently) breaking up and are, in my own words, "worlds apart," you can take comfort in the fact that if you later find yourself in an abusive relationship, you can always look fondly back on our "true love" that is for some reason ending. Silver lining, am I right? OK then! Wow, being a robot is easy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Elton John -- "Rocket Man"

As far as I'm concerned, there is only one version of this song, and it's this one. If that's not awesomely bad, I don't know what is.

She packed my bags last night pre-flight / Zero hour, nine a.m. / And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then

Oh, for the halcyon days of the Cold War, when the "space race" or whatever they called it allowed us to compete with the hated Russkies without blowing each other to smithereens. The moon had been conquered, its moon-men subdued and enslaved, and Mars was just around the corner. America's brave "rocket men" were hailed as heroes, showered with meats and cheeses (not literally), and probably, I don't know, had their pictures on stamps and things of that nature. Today our space program is in shambles, and astronauts are reviled and cannot walk down the street without being spit upon by small children.

Oh, right, the lyrics. They're kind of pretty but don't really make sense. I'm thinking the "zero hour" is when his space rocket is supposed to take off, but why is he going to already be high as a kite when that time arrives? Is he going to take hallucinogenic drugs? That seems like a questionable idea. Does NASA drug astronauts to make the launch more bearable? Unlikely.

I miss the earth so much I miss my wife / It's lonely out in space / On such a timeless flight

Switching tenses within the verse? Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. would be spinning in his grave if he were dead. Actually, I only mention Aldrin so I can link to this video of him punching a guy in the face. The lesson here is, of course, don't fuck with a guy who walked on the fucking moon.

Actually, Sir Elton and co-writer Bernie Taupin switch tenses twice during this verse, giving us the rare and delicious trifecta of past, present, and future all wrapped up in a few short lines. Is this a commentary on the "timelessness" of the rocket man's flight, meant to give us a window into the effects on the psyche of isolation in the inky blackness of space? My guess is no, but what do I know? I'm not a filthy, pathetic astronaut.

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time / Till touchdown brings me round again to find / I'm not the man they think I am at home / Oh no no no, I'm a rocket man / Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

What kind of man do they think he is at home? I mean, this song was written before the profession of astronaut reached sub-janitorial levels of respect, and once-proud men like Buzz Aldrin had to resort to vicious physical attacks to protect their dignity, so there's no reason he would've had to lie about his job.

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids / In fact, it's cold as hell / And there's no one there to raise them if you did

I was kind of on the fence as to whether these lyrics were really that bad until I got to this little chestnut. "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids"? Why not? Substandard school systems? High crime rates? Exorbitant bus fees? Afraid your kids would have trouble making friends with the little Martian children? Oh, no, I'm sorry, it's because it's "cold as hell" (this is true) and because "there's no one there to raise them if you did" (also technically true, I guess, but what?). Also, there's the small matter of the atmosphere being 95 percent carbon dioxide. But I guess "they would rapidly asphyxiate if you did" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

And all this science I don't understand / It's just my job five days a week / A rocket man, a rocket man

This line kind of makes me laugh because it sounds like something the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer would say. Also, again, I am no astronaut, but I have to think the people manning space missions have at least some basic understanding of how their craft works, and know a little bit about astronomy. Otherwise, something like this might happen:

Mission Control: Space Shuttle Eltonia, one of your oxygen tanks is failing. You're going to have to shut down your command module and use the lunar module as a lifeboat.

Rocket Man: What is this, science? I don't understand science! I'm just a rocket man! It's just my job five days a week. My real passion is rock gardens. Man, I tell you, when you get that feng shui just right it's really --

Space Shuttle: (explodes)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boston -- "Amanda"

So I was all set to write a post on a different song, but then Pandora in all its genius decided to play this tune, and inspiration struck. I have to admit I had only heard this song once or twice before, but I love it, and I hate the lyrics, and isn't that what this blog is all about?* (Fyi, the following song on Pandora was "Care of Cell 44" by the Zombies, and is awesome and not at all bad, and you should all listen to it, and also listen to the whole Odessey and Oracle [sic] album. I may or may not provide Pandora updates throughout this post as events warrant.)


So, Boston. Great city, great band, terrible lyrics.

Babe, tomorrow’s so far away / There’s something I just have to say / I don’t think I can hide what I’m feeling inside /Another day, knowing I love you

Blurgh. Seriously, can lyrics be any more cliched than this? "I don't think I can hide what I'm feeling inside?" Tom Scholz was nearly 40 when this song was released. These lyrics sound like they were written by a shy 13-year-old who is wondering whether he should ask Amanda to dance at the junior high after-school mixer.

Note: Tom Scholz sounds like a really great guy. According to Wikipedia, he is a vegetarian, supports organizations such as PETA and Greenpeace, and started his own charitable foundation in order to support such causes as animal protection, homeless shelters, food banks, children's rights, and stopping world hunger. Also, he lives in Boston, the greatest city in the world.

Note: Lead singer Brad Delp was also a vegetarian and owns 7 of the 10 top links from a Google search for "nicest guy in rock n roll." (Two of the other three are about Ozzy Osbourne.) Delp committed suicide in 2007 (apparently on Tom Scholz's birthday?)

I continue this post with a heavy heart.

And I, I’m getting too close again / I don’t want to see it end / If I tell you tonight, would you turn out the lights? / Walk away knowing I love you?

PANDORA UPDATE! "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley. Awesomely bad or just awesome? That's for the courts to decide.

Fair warning: Tom Scholz is going to pose a lot of questions to Amanda in this song. They are mostly the kind of questions you would imagine asking a person that you are in love with, but you are such an incredible pussy that you would never do so. That's right, Tom Scholz, you heard me.

I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone

Oops, sorry.

I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize, Amanda

Tom Scholz: "Surprise, I love you!"
Amanda: "Oh, that's so sweet, Tom, but I value our friendship so much that I would never want to ruin it."
Tom Scholz: (breaking into a cold sweat) "Oh yeah, that's totally cool! I ... er ... yeah ... I mean ... what I meant was ... I love ... your new sweater! Really nice. Where'd you get it? I think I need to go home."

I’m gonna tell you right away, I can’t wait another day, Amanda / I’m gonna say it like a man and make you understand, Amanda / I love you

Pussy. Why can't you be more like Lou Gramm, lasciviously attempting to force yourself on any underage girl who happens to glance in your direction? What is so special about this "Amanda" person? She sounds like a real cooze to me.

And I feel like today’s the day / Looking for the words to say

I probably would've really liked these lyrics when I was in the 8th grade and really had a crush on this girl but couldn't tell her about it (because I was incredibly socially awkward and 12 years old and had pretty much NO CHANCE anyway, but I still fantasized about telling her, of course). There were probably a lot of days that I felt like were "the day," but it still took FIVE YEARS to tell her anything, and even then it was in the most awkward way possible, and didn't lead to anything, and ... uh ... what was my point going to be here?

Do you wanna be free, are you ready for me?

Another question.

(Fun fact! This song was Boston's only #1 hit. "More Than a Feeling" only reached #2. This may be the greatest injustice in American history. Sorry, Martin Luther King Jr.! Better luck next time.)

To feel this way / I don’t wanna lose ya / So, it may be too soon, I know / The feeling takes so long to grow

Not sure what is going on here. My best guess is that Amanda is dating someone else, and Tom Scholz thinks he is no good for her, and that he would be so much better because really Appreciates Her For Who She Is and would always Show Her Respect and never Talk To Her The Way He Does and she could totally Do Better Than Him, all of which are really boring.

If I tell you today, will you turn me away? / And let me go? / I don't wanna lose you

More questions.

PANDORA UPDATE! "Pink Bullets," by the Shins, a good band to check out if you are interested in good lyrics and generally just overall goodness. (Also, in between Don Henley and the Shins, Pandora played not one by TWO Depeche Mode songs ... nothing against Depeche Mode, but I don't think I've ever given Pandora reason to believe that I would like them to be in such heavy rotation.)

And one other thing while I'm on the topic of Pandora -- I have derived a very simple equation: "Journey Radio" Pandora station + alcohol + a good group of people = an instantly awesome party. Just try it. You will thank me. I promise.

Was I commenting on a song here? Tom Scholz? What's going on?

(awesome guitar solo)

(rocking out)

I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize, Amanda / I’m gonna tell you right away, I can’t wait another day, Amanda

If a less milquetoast person was writing these lyrics, I would be tempted to use the "creepiness" tag in re: the "take you by surprise" line.

I’m gonna say it like a man and make you understand, Amanda

Possible ways to "say it like a man":

1) With your dick hanging out
2) In a really deep voice
3) Hire Sam Elliott to hide in the closet and say it while you move your lips

Oh, girl / You and I / I know that we can’t wait / And I swear, I swear it’s not a lie, girl/ Tomorrow may be too late


You, you and I girl / We can share a life together / It’s now or never / And tomorrow may be too late


And, feeling the way I do / I don’t wanna wait my whole life through / To say I’m in love with you

I think Boston was actually a Backstreet Boys ripoff from the late '90s. Also, Tom Scholz is a big fan of world hunger, hates the poor, assassinated President James A. Garfield, and was instrumental in the development of the TV show "Blossom." There. Now I feel better.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Men at Work -- "Who Can It Be Now?"

Who can it be knocking at my door? / Go away, don't come 'round here no more

Don't you even want to see who it is, Colin Hay? What if it's the ghost of Ed McMahon with a giant spectral check good for one thousand ghost-dollars? THEN WHAT?!?!

Can't you see that it's late at night? I'm very tired, and I'm not feeling right

Eminently reasonable argument for not wanting company. I'm sure if you just get the door and explain to your mystery visitor that you are a little under the weather they will gladly --

All I wish is to be alone / Stay away, don't you invade my home

Oh, I see. You're not just in a solitary mood, but are actually suffering from some kind of mental illness. My mistake.

Best off if you hang outside / Don't come in - I'll only run and hide

I'm having trouble deciding whether Colin Hay is trying to present a serious depiction of paranoid schizophrenia, or whether he is just trying to write a goofy song (remember, this is also the man who penned the eminently goofy "Down Under") that turns out more creepy than goofy.

More evidence for the "goofy" theory:
On the other hand, in the video, Colin seems to be doing his best to look insane, so I guess score one for "serious depiction of paranoid schizophrenia," although his insane face is kind of more clownish than actually mentally disturbed.

I actually searched around on the Internet a little for some kind of canonical interpretation of this song, and the closest thing I could find was a random message board post claiming that Colin Hay once said this song was about trying to avoid bill collectors who would come to his door. The other two predominant theories were "mental illness" and "excessive masturbation," which is probably just a subcategory of mental illness anyway.

Who can it be now?

People whom it could be:

The mailman
A friendly neighbor
"The man," come to take Colin Hay away (see lyric below)
Tony Danza
The friendly ghost of Ed McMahon
Colin Hay's mother
A kangaroo
The vengeful ghost of Ed McMahon, hungry for human flesh and/or great deals on quality publications such as "Boys' Life" and "Reader's Digest"*

* Apparently "Boys' Life" is meant for all boys, yet "Reader's Digest" is targeted at a specific reader, most likely Bob Burns of Windham, Conn.

Who can it be knocking at my door? / Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor

I'm bored.

If he hears, he'll knock all day / I'll be trapped, and here I'll have to stay

I thought it was late at night. Or did we skip ahead to a new visitor when we started the second verse? JUST ANSWER THE DOOR COLIN HAY, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND --

I've done no harm, I keep to myself / There's nothing wrong with my state of mental health

I and this team of psychiatrists that I keep on call here at Awesomely Bad Lyrics (mostly for Lou Gramm-related purposes, but I find they are coming in handy more than I'd expected) would like to respectfully disagree.

I like it here with my childhood friend / Here they come, those feelings again!


Who can it be now?

In the one minute and thirty-two seconds since you started singing about this, whomever it was has almost certainly departed.

Is it the man come to take me away? / Why do they follow me? / It's not the future that I can see / It's just my fantasy

I think these lines combined with the whole "childhood friend" creep-xtravaganza offer fairly strong evidence that Colin Hay is (awkwardly and poorly) trying to write a song about someone who is suffering from serious mental illness.

On the other hand,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Foreigner -- "I Want To Know What Love Is"

EDIT 9/5/09: As has been pointed out in the comments section, this song was actually written by Mick Jones, not Lou Gramm. So, I'm an idiot, and we can add this to the growing list of things for which I will need to apologize to Lou Gramm when we finally meet in the fiery depths of hell.

So as much as I've been enjoying this hypercritical but hopefully not mean-spirited analysis of lyrics that were written in good faith, I thought today we could try something a little different. I would like to "get real" with you, set aside this silliness for a while, and talk about something that affects us all: health care. Specifically, the reform bill currently being debated in Congress. Now bear with me, because this gets a little complicated. As I see it, the crux of the issue is --

Gotta take a little time / A little time to think things over

What the .... hold on a second.

(Muffled): Lou? Lou Gramm? What are you doing here? I see ... Well, I'm sorry it hurt your feelings but ... I mean, sure, I'd love to give you a chance to redeem yourself, but right now I'm in the middle of talking to these nice people about health care ... Can you come back tomorrow? ... OK. OK. See you then.

Hey, everyone! Sorry about that. So, as I was saying, the first thing we have to do in order to fix the health-care system is --

Better read between the lines / In case I need it when I’m older

Christ. Sorry, everyone. Just a minute. I'm really sorry about this.

(Muffled): Lou? What's going on? I thought we agreed that ... (sigh) ... OK, if I let you do this one song, you promise to go home? OK. C'mon over here.

Me: OK, everyone, I'm back, and we have a special surprise for you ... a personal visit from an Awesomely Bad Lyrics favorite, Mr. Lou Gramm himself!
Lou Gramm (talking like Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street for some reason): Hi, everybody.
Me: Lou wanted to come by and give us an example of some of the *good* lyrics he's written, so he'll be favoring us with a very special performance of "I Want To Know What Love Is"! Take it away!
Lou Gramm: O-kay. Here I go.

Now this mountain I must climb / Feels like the world upon my shoulders / Through the clouds I see love shine / It keeps me warm as life grows colder

(Gritting teeth, smiling politely)

In my life there’s been heartache and pain / I don’t know if I can face it again / Can't stop now, I’ve traveled so far / To change this lonely life

OK, OK, hold on a second. Lou? Don't take this the wrong way, but can I give you just a little friendly advice? See, there's this concept in writing of *showing* the reader something rather than *telling* him. You started out OK there, some good images of a mountain, a weight on your shoulders, a bright warm light. (You were mixing your metaphors and similes, but we'll just leave that alone for now.) But then, Lou ... Lou, Lou, Lou ... the little pre-chorus here is basically the equivalent of climbing to the top of this mountain that you have built out of words and jumping up and down and yelling "HEY! LOOK AT ME! I'M SAD! I HAVE HEARTACHE AND PAIN! LOOK AT ME!!"

Oh no ... Lou, I'm sorry! Come back, Lou ... oh dear. He's hiding under the refrigerator again.

I wanna know what love is / I want you to show me / I wanna feel what love is / I know you can show me

Yay! Go Lou! Huzzah! Three cheers!

I’m gonna take a little time / A little time to look around me / I’ve got nowhere left to hide / It looks like love has finally found me

Ahem. Listen. Louie boy. Old buddy, old pal. I really like this song. I even sort of the like the first half of the video because it seems like a nice portrayal of quiet desperation and yearning, and I am willing to ignore the fact that about halfway through it becomes totally bizarre and corny and includes more black people than have probably ever attended an actual Foreigner concert.

On the other hand, what are you talking about?

Here are the CliffsNotes for this song thus far: "I'm climbing a mountain to find love, which makes me warm. But I don't know if I can face it because I was sad once. But I've traveled so far to find love. Now I'm going to try to hide. But I can't. Looks like love has finally found me!"

Fun fact! Lou Gramm (and his female backup singer) say the word "love" 18 times during this five-minute opus.

Me: OK, Lou, sorry to interrupt again. Go ahead and finish up for us.
Lou Gramm: (has long since fled in tears)