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  #1  
Old 11-06-2011, 11:49 PM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Lyrics that sound like gibberish

We've had lots of mondegreen threads, but I was thinking; What about songs where not only do you not hear the right lyrics, but your brain can't even make up fake ones? The words sound garbled or otherwise unintelligible to you.

A good example is Pearl Jam's "Even Flow". Unless you hear the song a bunch of times it sounds like Eddie's mumbling the verses.

For me I'll also add The Black Crows "Hard to handle". I understand most of the lyrics, and even though I know he's singing, "Cause mama I'm sure hard to handle, now
Gets around" To me the words are blurred together and sounds like gibberish.

So what songs have lyrics that you can't make out without looking them up?
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2011, 02:11 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
We've had lots of mondegreen threads, but I was thinking; What about songs where not only do you not hear the right lyrics, but your brain can't even make up fake ones? The words sound garbled or otherwise unintelligible to you.

<snip>

So what songs have lyrics that you can't make out without looking them up?
My nominations:
"Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" by the Hollies
"Strange Brew" by Eric Clapton

Honorable mention: Portions of "Smoke Over Water" by Deep Purple.

Not to mention the infamous "Louie Louie" as recorded by the Kingsmen, already much discussed in the contemporary literature: Straight Dope column, Feb. 5, 1982 and snopes, May 24, 2007
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2011, 02:15 AM
Ashes, Ashes Ashes, Ashes is offline
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Ina Gadda Da Vida. Isn't that one where nobody knows the lyrics?
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:50 AM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Not to mention the infamous "Louie Louie" as recorded by the Kingsmen, already much discussed in the contemporary literature: Straight Dope column, Feb. 5, 1982 and snopes, May 24, 2007
Ah yes "Louie Louie" is an excellent example.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes, Ashes View Post
Ina Gadda Da Vida. Isn't that one where nobody knows the lyrics?
Off the top of my head
In a gadda da vida baby, don't you know that I love you.
In a gadda da vida honey, don't you know that I'll always be true.
Oh won't you come with me, and take my hand.
Oh won't you come with me, and walk this land.

Then again, when I think of the song, all I can think of is the Slayer heavy metal cover on the "Less than Zero" soundtrack.
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2011, 05:47 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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The Queen song "Headlong" starts with the lyrics "And you're rushing headlong...". For years, I was sure the words were "Anti-Russian hand dog", and wondered what the hell the song was about.

Also, I wanted an anti-Russian hand dog. It sounded like a cool thing to have.
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:00 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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To be honest I have this problem at some point with about 50% of all songs. One example that springs to mind is Nirvana's Lithium. For the life of me I couldn't work out what he was singing after

I'm so ugly, but that's OK, 'cause so are you

The next line sounds like

Brookham ears

I couldn't think what it was supposed to be, so I just sang that in my head for many years. I finally looked it up. It's "Broke all mirrors". That American pronunciation or "mirrors" threw me.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:01 AM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nudgenudge View Post
To be honest I have this problem at some point with about 50% of all songs. One example that springs to mind is Nirvana's Lithium. For the life of me I couldn't work out what he was singing after

I'm so ugly, but that's OK, 'cause so are you

The next line sounds like

Brookham ears

I couldn't think what it was supposed to be, so I just sang that in my head for many years. I finally looked it up. It's "Broke all mirrors". That American pronunciation or "mirrors" threw me.
Just out of curiosity what country do you live in and how do you pronounce the word?
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:08 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
Just out of curiosity what country do you live in and how do you pronounce the word?
UK (England, to be precise), and I pronounce it "mirrahs". Some Americans pronounce it in a way that sounds similar to "meers", to me. More like "meerers", but the first and second Rs almost merge.

Last edited by nudgenudge; 11-07-2011 at 06:09 AM..
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:09 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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"Broke all mirrors"? I always thought it was "Book of years."

My first thought on reading the OP was Super Bass by Nickie Minja.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:28 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Definitely "broke our mirrors" (not "all"), according to several lyrics websites I just checked.
But I think I misread the OP, so apologies for that. I thought we were looking for lyrics for which we couldn't find plausible words.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:33 AM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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No problem. Mainly I'm looking for songs where you can't make out what they're saying just by listening. The words sound garbled, all run together, or in other ways impossible, or almost impossible to make out unless you've been told the words, read liner notes, or looked them up on-line.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:35 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Wasn't part of the movie Jumping Jack Flash something about Whoopie Goldberg trying to make out what Mick Jagger was saying in that song? He is considered pretty unintelligible when he is selling and strutting hard...
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  #13  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:41 AM
Lilacs Lilacs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
My nominations:
"Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" by the Hollies
"Strange Brew" by Eric Clapton
Yes to the first. I still have no clue what is being sung. And I love the Hollies.

Somehow, I do understand the lyrics to Strange Brew. It was Cream not just Clapton.

For years, I had no idea the title of this song was Happenings Ten Years Time Ago. It was just gibberish to me.

Last edited by Lilacs; 11-07-2011 at 06:42 AM..
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2011, 07:20 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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It's unintelligible
I just can't get it through my skull
It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss???
With all these marbles in my mouth


-Weird Al's parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:16 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is online now
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90% of the Mazzy Star catalog is semi-incoherent mumbling. So Tonight That I Might See is as good an example as any.

On the other end of the 90's chick alt-rock tempo spectrum is the "chorus" of Letter to Cleo's Here & Now.
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:23 AM
Cubsfan Cubsfan is offline
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Pretty much all Deftones and White Zombie songs. Thunderkiss 65 is unintelligible.
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:01 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is online now
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Something something something /
Born in the USA! I was born in the USA! /
Something something something yellow man

That's patriotic, right?
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  #18  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:27 AM
Barkis is Willin' Barkis is Willin' is offline
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Informer by Snow is pretty notorious for being so difficult to understand that you can't even really make up anything. It doesn't even sound like words, just badabadabadabada.
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  #19  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:05 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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"Even Flow" is perfect diction compared to "Yellow Ledbetter".
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:21 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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A current commercial emphasizes that Elton John sings "Rocket Man" -- somewhat incomprehensibly.
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  #21  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:28 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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I know I skimmed this thread quickly, but is it possible that I'm really the first to mention the WKRP in Cincinnati closing theme?

Granted, they sound like gibberish because they are, but still ...
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  #22  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:44 AM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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One of the great things about the Internet is that now we can find out what the hell those guys were singing back then. One line I could never get was from the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City": "Despite the heat it'll be all right".

"In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry was a particularly tough one. Lines like "You can stretch right up and touch the sky", "You can make it, make it good in a lay-by", and "We're no threat, people, we're not dirty, we're not mean" totally stumped me.
(By the way, in a previous thread I mentioned MetroLyrics' hilariously wrong attempt at the lyrics.)
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  #23  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:47 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
It's unintelligible
I just can't get it through my skull
It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss???
With all these marbles in my mouth


-Weird Al's parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Even after Weird Al mocked the song it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me to go online and look up the lyrics.

Wow.
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  #24  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:51 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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"3x2=6" By Vanity 6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9gZak_0KXo
"Saturday Night" by Herman Brood and His Wild Romance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mEjmWnihrc
(Links broken because some of from the Vanity vid are borderline nsfw.)
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  #25  
Old 11-07-2011, 11:31 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Shooby Taylor.
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  #26  
Old 11-07-2011, 11:42 AM
Pábitel Pábitel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
Off the top of my head
In a gadda da vida baby, don't you know that I love you.
In a gadda da vida honey, don't you know that I'll always be true.
Oh won't you come with me, and take my hand.
Oh won't you come with me, and walk this land.

Then again, when I think of the song, all I can think of is the Slayer heavy metal cover on the "Less than Zero" soundtrack.
Yes, but the point is that the original title of the song was In-the-Garden-of-Eden. Even the band went with the gibberish title that the slurred words suggested when the lead singer mouthed them.
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  #27  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:30 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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In the department of "Lyrics that sound like gibberish because they are" is "Nobody Understands Me," by Sandra Boynton, as sung by Meryl Streep (sample here), on the album Philadelphia Chickens.
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  #28  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:54 PM
banjoDavid banjoDavid is offline
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Comments from a record producer

Inna Gadda Da Vida - Was Originally In the Garden of Eden, but filtered through a gallon of cheap red wine, this was the gibberish that became the hit.

Louie Louie
by the Kingsmen - was recorded in a studio with ONE mic hanging from the ceiling, the lead singer had to stretch up and shout to be heard above the cymbal crashes.

English accents to American ears made Cream, Stones, Beatles and other band's syntax not very clear.

I read an interview in a recording trade publication, (Mix Magazine?), and a rock engineer confessed that he treated the vocals as just another element in the mix, thus mixing them too low in my opinion.

I produce mostly American folk, Irish folk, and bluegrass. I mix the vocals so even listening at low volumes, you can hear the singer's poetry.

It's a DELIBERATE choice.

David
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  #29  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:56 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Even after Weird Al mocked the song it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me to go online and look up the lyrics.

Wow.
Kurt Cobain wrote the song as a joke - he even stole the famous riff from Boston's "More Than a Feeling". I think he was more suprised than anyone that it became a monster hit.
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  #30  
Old 11-07-2011, 01:22 PM
JXJohns JXJohns is offline
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John Mellencamp Small town. Pretty understandable lyrics until this part in bold:

But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town???
Now she's small town just like me

Until I looked up the lyrics for this thread I had no idea that is what was being sung.

Last edited by JXJohns; 11-07-2011 at 01:23 PM..
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  #31  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:32 PM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
"Even Flow" is perfect diction compared to "Yellow Ledbetter".
Wow, he sings slowly and he's still difficult to understand. I think he needs to work on his enunciation.
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  #32  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:44 PM
Greg Charles Greg Charles is offline
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Mares eat oats
And does eat oats
And little lambs eat ivy
A kid'll eat ivy too,
Wouldn't you?
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  #33  
Old 11-07-2011, 04:09 PM
FordTaurusSHO94 FordTaurusSHO94 is offline
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Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid, hu-blah-blah-blah

-Green Day
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  #34  
Old 11-07-2011, 04:18 PM
Superdude Superdude is offline
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Most things by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
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  #35  
Old 11-07-2011, 04:19 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is online now
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Quote:
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid, hu-blah-blah-blah
The next line is "Am I just stoned?" Which isn't garbled at all.

Last edited by Justin_Bailey; 11-07-2011 at 04:20 PM..
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  #36  
Old 11-07-2011, 05:29 PM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
Quote:
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid, hu-blah-blah-blah
The next line is "Am I just stoned?" Which isn't garbled at all.
I have to go with FordTaurusSHO94 on this one. That's what it sounds like to me also.
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  #37  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:06 PM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Anything by the Cocteau Twins.

Beautiful but barmy. I just googled for a link and it threw up this beauty. I think I just fell in love all over again.
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  #38  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:10 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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The group Yes had a penchant for impenetrable lyrics. From Siberian Khatru:
Quote:
Sing, bird of prey;
Beauty begins at the foot of you. Do you believe the manner?
Gold stainless nail,
Torn through the distance of man
As they regard the summit.
It gets more opaque from there, IMHO.
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  #39  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:48 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Pretty much anything by The Mars Volta. I love them, but they are nearly incomprehensible, and even when you do figure out what word is being said, it rarely makes sense in context with the words that came before and those that came after!

The song I first fell in love with is Eriatarkas...here's the chorus...I think.
Quote:
Trackmarked amoeba lands craft
Cartwheel of scratches
Dress the tapeworm as pet
Tentacles smirk please
Flinched the cocooned meat
Infra-recon forgets

Last edited by mnemosyne; 11-07-2011 at 10:49 PM..
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  #40  
Old 11-07-2011, 11:13 PM
BaneSidhe BaneSidhe is offline
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How about "It's The End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]"?
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  #41  
Old 11-08-2011, 12:24 AM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaneSidhe View Post
How about "It's The End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]"?
That's an excellent example.
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  #42  
Old 11-08-2011, 12:39 AM
Superdude Superdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaneSidhe View Post
How about "It's The End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]"?
Good one. What's the Frequency, Kenneth? is another REM example.
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  #43  
Old 11-08-2011, 01:46 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaneSidhe View Post
How about "It's The End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]"?
LEO! NARD! BERN! STEIN!

Maybe it's time I had some time alone.

Last edited by Derleth; 11-08-2011 at 01:47 AM..
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  #44  
Old 11-08-2011, 01:49 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Killer Queen by Queen, for the win. I just found this lyrics page, and what I always thought was "Morgatron" (whatever the fuck that is) seems to be "Wanna Try?".

It was a HUGE hit and nobody understood half of it.
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  #45  
Old 11-08-2011, 02:18 AM
Pixiesnix Pixiesnix is offline
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It's for songs like those that videos
like
these were made.


*second link is possible NSFW
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  #46  
Old 11-08-2011, 02:45 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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"Song 2" by the aptly named Blur.

I got my head shaved
By a jamochey (?)
It wasn't easy
But nothing is

And I always thought "Well, I don't think I've ever had a jamochey shave my head so I guess I can't call him on this."

But I suspecting I might have the lyrics wrong, I looked them up:

I got my head checked
By a jumbo jet
It wasn't easy
But nothing is

Really? Because that doesn't make much more sense than what I thought I was hearing.
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  #47  
Old 11-08-2011, 02:54 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Another one would be "Everything Zen" by Bush.

I always though the chorus was "I don't believe in Hell since Daniel". It's actually "I don't believe Elvis is dead, yeah".

But in a song whose actual lyrics include the lines "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Dave's on sale again" and "Raindogs howl for the century/A million dollars a steak" I think my lyrics make just as much sense as Gavin Rossdale's.
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  #48  
Old 11-08-2011, 03:49 AM
Batsinma Belfry Batsinma Belfry is offline
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This thread is hilarious!

I nominate Safety Dance. After the first couple of lines, I can only make out the last word of each sentence.
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  #49  
Old 11-08-2011, 04:11 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Then there's Captain Beefheart. The man who wrote the following lyrics in various songs:

Men let your wallets flop out,
and women open your purses,
Cause a man or a woman without a big eyed bean from Venus
Is suffering with the worstest of curses

Well I used to go to school
With a little red box
And I used to have my pig go with me
We walked for blocks
I don't wanna kill my china pig
His tail curled five times in a circle round
It's glazed

I feel like a glass shrimp in a pink panty
With a saccharine chaperone
Make invalids out of supermen
Call in a shrink
And pick you up in a girdle

I wanna find me a woman who'll hold my big toe till I have to go
I wanna find a blue swirl plastic ocarina
About five miles long
And play with them sweet potatoes all night long

Making love to a vampire with a monkey on my knee
The pond shined dry like a lady's compact
Lilies leaped like flat green hearts with white hearts
Squirting yellow pollen cocks

A jack rabbit raised his folded ears
A beautiful sagebrush jack rabbit
And an oriole sang like an orange
His breast full of worms
And his tail clawed the evening like a hammer
His wings took to air like a bomber
And my rain can caught me a cup of water

Well my cigarette died when I washed my face
Dropped some drops in an ashtray hit a wrong place
Woman at my blinds to see spiders spinning lines
It's as safe as milk it's as safe as milk

Now she's the Sheriff of Hong Kong gone
I bite the end of her sash
And she's off in a flash
And we're long gone gone
To Hong Kong Kong

Momma still knew she was the one
She was the one who stole the pie from old Momma Eye
Window bare rocking chair groaning like a grizzly bear
And the ice cream man searching high and low
For his a la modes for his a la modes

Maybe not gibberish. But you get the feeling that Don Van Vliet was hearing things the rest of us weren't.
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  #50  
Old 11-08-2011, 09:31 AM
Sunshine and Smiles Sunshine and Smiles is offline
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How to Dress Well - You Won't Need Me Where I'm Goin'. He kind of does a lo-fi take on R&B, so by the time he really gets going in this song you've got no idea what he's saying.

Crystal Castles - Alice Practice. Video game sounds and the distorted, shouty vocals of Alice Glass. Sounds like gibberish.
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FICTION - Creative Prose with Rhythm. Something to tug on everyone's heartstrings.
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