Questions About Lyrics

sadchild

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I've seen three quotes from band members and none of it helped make the line make more sense to me

Jeff Porcaro stated in an interview, "… a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past."

David Paich explained, "At the beginning of the ‘80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do."

David Paich said, "I would see UNICEF commercials on TV, way back in the day, and I was a big reader of National Geographic. I’ve just always kind of been fascinated with Africa. I just kind of romanticized this story about a social worker that was over there, that falls in love and can’t — is having kind of a paradox, trying to tear himself away from Africa to actually have a life."
 

scotchandcigar

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I've seen three quotes from band members and none of it helped make the line make more sense to me

Jeff Porcaro stated in an interview, "… a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past."

David Paich explained, "At the beginning of the ‘80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do."

David Paich said, "I would see UNICEF commercials on TV, way back in the day, and I was a big reader of National Geographic. I’ve just always kind of been fascinated with Africa. I just kind of romanticized this story about a social worker that was over there, that falls in love and can’t — is having kind of a paradox, trying to tear himself away from Africa to actually have a life."
That's kind of comical, but it's not unusual for songwriters to create fictional, imaginary stories to make a song appealing. Juliana Hatfield had a hit with the song My Sister. She doesn't have a sister. However, she based it on her brother's girlfriend, who took her to the shows mentioned in the song.
 

sadchild

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I skimmed the article and agree with the basic concept. But I also think intrigue is another factor. Sometimes a person doesn't know what is being communicated but it intrigues them. That keeps them coming back, wondering what the words mean. I'm not talking about foreign language stuff, more like "Stairway To Heaven". Things like 'bustle in your hedgerow' and 'may queen'. Most people don't know what it means but it fascinates them, leaves the curious. And often, even the band can't explain some of the lyrics, they just sounded cool and scanned well.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

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The song needs to have either enticing lyrics (American Pie for example) or enticing melody. It doesn't need both.
 

HecticArt

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I think the article is right. If the melody, voice, rhythm, and attitude are right and hit the emotion of the song, people can connect with song. They don't even need to try to fill in the blanks and either learn or make up the words.
Take Louie Louie, Smells Like Teen Spirit, or Trololo for example. The words don't matter.
 

sadchild

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From "Bitch Betta Have My Money" - a rap song from 1991.

I slang dick, bitch, nothing more and nothing less;
You got a C-note, ho, you can take the test
And bring big fat titties and lots of back
You got the woody, and I got the axe


The entire song he talks about throwin' his thing into the ladies. But this line is odd. How does a guy so experienced not know that "woody" means a hard-on? What guy says a girl he's messing around with has a "woody"?
 

Channel98

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Warren Zevon mentioned Lee Ho Fook's in Werewolves Of London.. That was a Chinese restaurant in London. It closed in 2008. (The restaurant, not London.) There is now a Lee Ho Fook's in Melbourne and in Honolulu.


 
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scotchandcigar

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I always hear the lyric (at least since 2000):

"Well, I saw Dick Cheney walking with the Queen"

instead of:

"Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen"
The song is from the 70's, so I don't understand how Dick Cheney entering the scene in 2000 would affect your perception of the lyrics.

Channel98 said:
Warren Zevon mentioned Lee Ho Fook's in Werewolves Of London.. That was a Chinese restaurant in London. It closed in 2008. (The restaurant, not London.) There is now a Lee Ho Fook's in Melbourne and in Honolulu.
Now that's a lyric I never quite got.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbet is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
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The song is from the 70's, so I don't understand how Dick Cheney entering the scene in 2000 would affect your perception of the lyrics.
It's how I started hearing it post-2000. It was just a void before then not knowing who Lon Chaney was (until recently). Warren also could have been psychic.
 

Channel98

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When I first heard this Queen song, I thought Freddie Mercury was singing about "kicking your cat all over the place."
The line is "kicking your can all over the place." Whew! That is much nicer.

 
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sadchild

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De La Soul "Me Myself And I"

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These guys make up their own words and stuff, so it's no surprise when their lyrics often don't make sense. I've cleared up a fair amount of this song, but this last half of the last verse still makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Mirror mirror on the wall
Shovel chestnuts in my path
Just keep all nuts twistin' up
So I don't get an aftermath
But if I do I'll calmly punch them
In the 4th day of July
'Cause they tried to mess with third degree
That's me myself and I
 

HecticArt

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These guys make up their own words and stuff, so it's no surprise when their lyrics often don't make sense. I've cleared up a fair amount of this song, but this last half of the last verse still makes no sense to me whatsoever.
I'm sure I read the lyrics back in the day, but WTF???? :idk:
As I mentioned elsewhere, I was up in North Conway last weekend. It's a big tourist area, and they have a bunch of fun gift shops. I saw these, and thought of this thread. It's a set of drinking cups that have misheard lyrics on them.

View attachment 7816
Those are great!
 
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sadchild

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Heard this on my playlist today. 30 years later, still no idea what a single word means. He claims it was written about "speculating about how desperate Madonna seemed to him" at the time. That doesn't help at all.

Go on and wring my neck like when a rag gets wet
A little discipline for my pet genius
My head is like lettuce, go on, dig your thumbs in
I cannot stop givin', I'm thirty-something

Sense of security like pockets jinglin'
Midlife crisis
Suck ingenuity down through the family tree

You're perfect, yes, it's true
But without me, you're only you
Your menstruating heart
It ain't bleedin' enough for two
 
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