Six Song Lyrics That I Persistently Mishear
Author's introductory note: I've discovered, while researching this week's Six, that one often assumes that song lyrics must be something other than what they sound like, because what they sound like makes no sense. And then one frequently finds out the real lyrics and realizes that actually they ARE what you thought they were, and no, they DON'T make sense. Which is both a relief (because you're saner than you thought) and an annoyance (because of the bilge that gets passed off as popular music for the yoof of today, rant rant rant).
Anyway, anyone looking for clarification for their own misheard lyrics (or mondegreens, as they are linguistically known), or for a giggle at other people's, is encouraged to visit KissThisGuy or Am I Right in search of further enlightenment.
Barry White – The First, The Last, My Everything
What's causing the trouble here? There's one line in the middle that always stumps me; it sounds like "you're like a football in June, or a brand new day". Or possibly "You're like a footballing glue", which makes even less sense, although it does seem like the kind of thing John Motson might come out with on an off-day (e.g. "Sol Campbell on the wing, sticking to the side of the powerful Spaniard like some kind of footballing glue..." – all right, maybe not).
So what are they really singing? Apparently, it's "you're like a first morning dew on a brand new day". Ah. Now I see.
What do we learn from this? That is surprisingly easy to imagine the late Bazza intoning the line "you're like a football in June". Let's face it, if anyone could have made it work as a synonym for "hot and bouncy", he was the man.
Elton John – Rocket Man
What's causing the trouble here? The line in the chorus that immediately follows the title. If I was looking for a facetious comedy interpretation, I'd say it sounds like "Rocket man, burning all his pubic hair alone". But I hasten to add that I just thought of that a minute ago and have emphatically not been blithely singing it for years. (I bet someone out there has, though.)
So what are they really singing? "Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone", apparently. Okay, that makes sense in context, or as much sense as any of the Dwight/Taupin canon of the early 1970s does at any rate.
What do we learn from this? That there are always worse things than sloppy diction, and that William Shatner covering your song is chief amongst these.
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
What's causing the trouble here? Can I just lay my cards on the table and say that I love this song and believe it to be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius (or at the very least, the best song for singing while you're drunk, like, EVAR). Nonetheless, it raises many interesting questions, and not all of them are "What is Jim Steinman on, and where can we get some?" The word that always flummoxed me was "we're living in a *SOMETHING* and giving off sparks". As a youngster, I thought it was something like "photogag". Which wouldn't be right, of course, because that's a totally made-up word and a particularly stupid one to boot.
So what are they really singing? "We're living in a powderkeg and giving off sparks". I was genuinely jubilant to find this out, I can tell you.
What do we learn from this? That I am a sad act and no mistake. Nonetheless, I thought I'd take this opportunity to air my new DW theory, which is that the ending of "The Parting of the Ways" with the glowy-eyed floaty-haired universe-saving Goddess!Rose is CLEARLY meant to be a homage to the Total Eclipse of the Heart video. "Turn around, bright eyes", do you see? And Rose Tyler – OBVIOUSLY a reference to Bonnie Tyler! You may mock me now, but only because you wish you'd noticed it first. Philistines.
Blondie – Heart of Glass
What's causing the trouble here? There are several incomprehensible lines, actually. The very first one, which sounds like "Wassatlove... and it was a gas". Then there's what sounds like "pudgy mistrust, love's gone behind". And to cap it all, there's the line later that I can't even approximate: it just sounds like "It's just no good, you *blether blether blether*".
So what are they really singing? Well, apparently the first line is "Once I had a love, and it was a gas". Then the "pudgy" bit is actually "Mucho mistrust" (there was no way I was going to work that one out at the age of eight, Debs), and the later line is "It's just no good, you teasing like you do". Riiiight.
What do we learn from this? That Debbie Harry was always too busy gazing moodily into the middle distance and pouting to bother enunciating properly. Then again, I suppose that correct diction was never the stuff of which rock icons were made.
The Clash – Rock the Casbah
What's causing the trouble here? Continuing with the theme of "I'm such a rebel that no one understands me....quite literally", here we're talking the line in the chorus that immediately precedes "Rock the Casbah". When I was a youngster, I thought it sounded like "Harry don't like it". More recently, it's come to resemble "Cherie don't like it", but that's what eight years of Blairism does for your eardrums.
So what are they really singing? "The Shareef don't like it". Not a reference to Omar either, I assume. It's part of the overall Casbah theme, innit.
What do we learn from this? That it's a good thing that I was much too young to be a punk, because I would have been rubbish at it.
Wamdue Project – King of My Castle
What's causing the trouble here? This is a very tedious and repetitive dance track that was popular about five years ago (I think). It's only got about four lines repeated throughout the song, so its one duff line does constitute 25 percent of the lyrics. It sounds suspiciously like "must be a reason why I'm free on my trestle". But it can't be that, because that would make absolutely no sense. Then again, in the peculiar realm of Euro DJ Ibiza anthems, what is sense if not the thing you've just drunk seventeen White Lightnings to avoid?
So what are they really singing? Well, here's a thing. I've tried to look up this song on several lyrics websites, and have come up with NO conclusive answer. Some claim it's "must be a reason why I'm free in my threshold" (whatever that means). Others affirm that it's "must be a reason why I'm queen of my treasure". And a third contigent says that it's "must be a reason why I'm freeing my trapped soul". If forced to choose, I'd say that the last one of these makes marginally more sense in context... or perhaps that's just after those seventeen White Lightnings from earlier.
What do we learn from this? That it's no crime to feel clueless occasionally, because sometimes everyone else is clueless too. Isn't that reassuring?
On a completely different topic, you may or may not have noticed the slightly unpleasant red brocade background that my journal has recently gained. I've been trying it out to see if I'd grow to like it, but on reflection, I've decided that I don't. What I would really like is a tiled background of red devoré velvet, giving my journal the air of the bohemian den of iniquity and decadence that it aspires rather hopelessly to acquire. I realize there is a risk that it will look like the flock wallpaper in a cheap curry house, but it's a risk I'm willing to run. But I've searched and searched and cannot find anything even remotely resembling the image in my mind (plus ça change...). I don't suppose any of you have an idea as to where such a picture might be found? I'm willing to fiddle with PhotoDeluxe to adapt an existing image, but I'm a bit too lazy to produce one from scratch, y'see...
EDITED TO ADD: Right, I've changed the background, because it was horrid. This one is more what I was thinking of, but I'm not sure whether it's quite there yet. Then again, maybe I'll sleep on it before I make any hasty judgements...