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-   -   Songs you used to like until you really listened to the lyrics (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=611324)

Ponch8 06-05-2011 10:52 PM

Songs you used to like until you really listened to the lyrics
 
I used to enjoy listening to the song "Temperature" by Sean Paul until I took a closer listen to the lyrics. The last couple lines of the chorus are "Oh lord, and gal I got the right tactics to turn you on, and girl I wanna be the Papa, you can be the Mom, oh oh!" I enjoy suggestive lyrics as much as anyone, but the talk about actually conceiving a baby just nauseates me. I don't know why; perhaps it has something to do with my dislike of babies. The complete lyrics (or an approximation thereof) are at http://www.elyrics.net/read/s/sean-p...re-lyrics.html

Electric Warrior 06-06-2011 12:41 AM

I'm not sure Sean Paul is literally talking about conceiving a baby! It seems more like he's just being cheeky, like 'let's play mommy and daddy' as a euphemism for sex.

For me that song is Los Angeles by X. I think the racial slurs and offensive language is supposed to reflect the way living in Los Angeles damaged the mindset of the character in the song, but it still kind of bothers me to listen to it.

Horatio Hellpop 06-06-2011 12:55 AM

I always kind of liked "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," not realizing that it was solely about a gay man seducing a straight man.

BigT 06-06-2011 01:00 AM

I don't dislike the song, but I stopped wanting to sing it for church when I looked up the lyrics for Hallelujah by Cohen.

Magiver 06-06-2011 01:01 AM

I was going to say "outside" by StainD but after looking at the meaning of the song it doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

Koxinga 06-06-2011 01:01 AM

More of a personal interpretation, but I used to get very teary-eyed at Elton John's "Your Song" as it made me think of my daughter: you know, "how wonderful life is now you're in the world." But it only says "now" in the first instance of the chorus. Later I realized that the later instances of the chorus said "how wonderful life is while you're in the world," as if anticipating a time that the person won't be in the world. So I don't like to think about that in conjunction with my daughter any more.

KinkiNipponTourist 06-06-2011 01:15 AM

There's this ballad by the Japanese group Southern All Stars entitled "Just a Little Bit" that I thought was so lovely I wanted it played at my wedding.

Then I studied up some Japanese, and realized that "some nights you're not even wet for me" might not be a sentiment I'd want expressed at the wedding. Oh well.

Lynn Bodoni 06-06-2011 04:15 AM

Summertime or In the Summertime, by MungoJerry. "If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal, if her daddy's poor, just do what you feel".

DivineComedienne 06-06-2011 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Krokodil (Post 13882700)
I always kind of liked "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," not realizing that it was solely about a gay man seducing a straight man.

Huh? I completely missed this one, although I admit I can't make out most of the words anyway. What part makes it about a seduction?

thirdname 06-06-2011 09:49 AM

Birthday by the Sugarcubes, the band Bjork was in before she went solo. It sounds great and I never listened to lyrics much. It turns out it's either about a five-year-old girl having a sexual relationship with an older man, or possibly just dreaming of doing so.

Quote:

Today Is A Birthday
They're Smoking Cigars
He's Got A Chain Of Flowers
And Sows A Bird In Her Knickers
Ohhh...

They're Smoking Cigars
They Lie In The Bathtub
A Chain Of ... Flowers
Here Bjork tries to explain: http://unit.bjork.com/specials/gh/FT/cubes/sykur.html

Quote:

"It's a story about a love affair between a five year old girl, a secret and a man who lives next door. The song's called Birthday because it's his fiftieth birthday, but not many people can figure that out of the lyrics 'cos it's more about the atmosphere around it and how they touch. It's a tasteless pop song - not even that. A pop song - very unusual"

"I was always changing my mind about what the lyrics should be about. I had the atmosphere right from the start but not the facts. It finally ended up concentrating on this experience I remembered having as a little girl, among many other little girls' experirnces. It's like huge men, about fifty or so, affect little girls very erotically but nothing happens... nothing is done, just this very strong feeling. I picked on this subject to show that anything can affect you erotically; material, a tree, anything." -- Björk, about Birthday

cjepson 06-06-2011 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni (Post 13882973)
Summertime or In the Summertime, by MungoJerry. "If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal, if her daddy's poor, just do what you feel".

Funny, I always thought the line was "just do what she feels", but the lyrics sites don't seem to agree. (By the way, metrolyrics.com has a laughably inaccurate version of the lyrics. This version seems a lot closer.)

cjepson 06-06-2011 12:49 PM

Sometimes when I go to learn a song so I can play it, I discover that the lyrics weren't quite as wonderful as I'd thought. One example is the Rolling Stones' "Child of the Moon". I still really like the song, but somehow it seemed that it was about more than just driving a highway at dawn in the rain.

Mr. Excellent 06-06-2011 12:59 PM

The Cure's "Killing an Arab." It's an adaptation of the first chapter of Camus' "The Stranger", and it's really well-done. I'm a sucker for a dark story set to a happy beat, and this thing evokes the tone of the novel quite well. We listened to it in high school English, for Ford's sake.

But even though I know it's not a racist song, it's really hard not to feel like an asshole whilst rocking out to it.

PoorYorick 06-06-2011 01:08 PM

The classic example for me will always be "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, where a man laments his crappy life before jumping to his death, all to a snappy beat.

ETA: Although I admit I still liked the song even after learning the lyrics. I'm sick.

SykoSkotty 06-06-2011 01:40 PM

I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen. At first it seems like a ballad about being in love with a married woman (as the video suggests) but I think the lyrics border on pedophilia:

"Hey little girl is your Daddy home? Did he go away and leave you all alone? I got a bad desire. Ohh, I'm on fire."

Scumpup 06-06-2011 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SykoSkotty (Post 13884389)
I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen. At first it seems like a ballad about being in love with a married woman (as the video suggests) but I think the lyrics border on pedophilia:

"Hey little girl is your Daddy home? Did he go away and leave you all alone? I got a bad desire. Ohh, I'm on fire."

Not only that, he's a bedwetter.

Baal Houtham 06-06-2011 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni (Post 13882973)
Summertime or In the Summertime, by MungoJerry. "If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal, if her daddy's poor, just do what you feel".

Eh? If the girl has money, do something that costs some money. If the girl has no money find something you can do that doesn't cost money.

To put an objectionable spin on it would require some odd mental contortions. IMO, or course.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PoorYorick (Post 13884230)
The classic example for me will always be "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, where a man laments his crappy life before jumping to his death, all to a snappy beat.

ETA: Although I admit I still liked the song even after learning the lyrics. I'm sick.

Nothing sick about it, unless any song about suicide is inherently sick. (Which I don't think is the case.) The lyrics are the best part of the song. Robert Christgau says, "...its tossed-off structure matches its casual, crucial equation of filial and romantic affection."

He lists the reasons for his sadness, but doesn't get bathetic. The bridge focuses on the world's problems rather than his own.
I love the casually devastating lines,
Left standing in the lurch, at a church
Where people 're saying,
"My God that's tough, she stood him up.
No point in us remaining."

Ludovic 06-06-2011 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baal Houtham (Post 13884463)
Eh? If the girl has money, do something that costs some money. If the girl has no money find something you can do that doesn't cost money.

To put an objectionable spin on it would require some odd mental contortions. IMO, or course.

MO varies, of course. To me it's pretty clear that that line refers to the idea that there are two types of girls, the type you want to court or marry (with rich daddies), and the type you just want to fool around with. You could read it another way, but like you, I feel it would require mental contortions to do so.

Lynn Bodoni 06-06-2011 02:38 PM

Yeah, if the girl's father is rich, she's worthy of being taken out and shown respect. If her daddy's poor, you can do whatever you want with her, she doesn't deserve to be taken to dinner or anything, she's just a cheap fuck.

Morgyn 06-06-2011 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Krokodil (Post 13882700)
I always kind of liked "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," not realizing that it was solely about a gay man seducing a straight man.

I'm not getting that from the lyrics at all, and I went and looked them up.

The one I really grew to dislike after really listening to the words is the Stones' Under My Thumb.

Dung Beetle 06-06-2011 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgyn (Post 13884810)
The one I really grew to dislike after really listening to the words is the Stones' Under My Thumb.

Yeah, I worry about that girl…but then I wonder if Mick’s got her quite as tight as he thinks he does. :)

Tim R. Mortiss 06-06-2011 03:28 PM

John Lennon's Imagine. At first, it sounded like a bit of idealistic optimism. Then I realized it's just a Communist Manifesto masquerading as pop music!

dolphinboy 06-06-2011 03:43 PM

[QUOTE=Morgyn;13884810]I'm not getting that from the lyrics at all, and I went and looked them up.QUOTE]

Don't forget that it was written by a straight man (Bernie Taupin) and was sung by a gay man (Elton John) who at the time hadn't come out yet... so I think you missed the boat on that one. :dubious:

Mr. Excellent 06-06-2011 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgyn (Post 13884810)
The one I really grew to dislike after really listening to the words is the Stones' Under My Thumb.

Yah, the Stones really enjoy their misogyny - fine singers, but I suspect they go there for the shock value. "Time Is On My Side" is pretty bad, too.

Superdude 06-06-2011 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgyn (Post 13884810)
I'm not getting that from the lyrics at all, and I went and looked them up.

I remember, when I was a young adult (the remake/duet was released in 1991, and I would have been all of 18), there was an immature joke making the circles that the song was actually called "Don't Let Your Son Go Down On Me."

While I'm not saying that this is true in Krokodil's case, it could certainly cause some misinterpretation of the meaning of the song.

tumbleddown 06-06-2011 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dolphinboy (Post 13884926)
Don't forget that it was written by a straight man (Bernie Taupin) and was sung by a gay man (Elton John) who at the time hadn't come out yet... so I think you missed the boat on that one. :dubious:

No, the music was written by Taupin, the lyrics were written by Elton, as with all of their songs.

It's pretty clear, to me, that it's about a man who's fallen in love with another man who was unsure, then began to return the affections, then got scared.

Swallowed My Cellphone 06-06-2011 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tumbleddown (Post 13885023)
No, the music was written by Taupin, the lyrics were written by Elton, as with all of their songs.

It's pretty clear, to me, that it's about a man who's fallen in love with another man who was unsure, then began to return the affections, then got scared.

I don't see it either. It's really ambiguous, and "in love, unsure, got scared" fits a bunch of my hetero relationships. I don't think the song is specifically gay or straight, it's just about a complicated love story, which is universal.

from_a_to_z 06-06-2011 04:26 PM

Bernie Taupin, lyricist
 
Bernie writes the words. See for example

Scarlett67 06-06-2011 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tumbleddown (Post 13885023)
No, the music was written by Taupin, the lyrics were written by Elton, as with all of their songs.

I think you've got that backward . . .

Irishman 06-06-2011 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scumpup (Post 13884411)
Not only that, he's a bedwetter.

No, the sheets are soaking wet from sweat.

Too many to list, but off the top of my head:

Spirit in the Sky

Biffy the Elephant Shrew 06-06-2011 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent (Post 13884928)
Yah, the Stones really enjoy their misogyny - fine singers, but I suspect they go there for the shock value. "Time Is On My Side" is pretty bad, too.

"Time Is on My Side" is misogynist? Especially given that the Stones' version is a cover of the Irma Thomas recording?

Lamia 06-06-2011 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ponch8 (Post 13882400)
I used to enjoy listening to the song "Temperature" by Sean Paul until I took a closer listen to the lyrics. The last couple lines of the chorus are "Oh lord, and gal I got the right tactics to turn you on, and girl I wanna be the Papa, you can be the Mom, oh oh!" I enjoy suggestive lyrics as much as anyone, but the talk about actually conceiving a baby just nauseates me.

Funny, that same line is why I like this song, despite it not being my usual style of music. The first time I heard it then I expected Sean Paul to refer to the woman as a baby or little girl, as is fairly common in popular music. SykoSkotty mentioned Springsteen's "I'm On Fire", a good example of this, and I think Sean Paul even says something about "baby girls" early in this same song. But "I wanna be the Papa, you can be the Mom" suggests that both parties are adults and equals, which struck me as a refreshing change.

I don't think there's any deep or subtle meaning to this particular choice of phrasing, though. Like Electric Warrior, I think the intended meaning of the line is basically "Let's 'play house'...by which I mean 'have sex'." It seems unlikely that a man would be talking about actually wanting to impregnate a woman in this context.

tumbleddown 06-06-2011 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scarlett67 (Post 13885217)
I think you've got that backward . . .

You're right. Taupin = lyrics, Elton = music. I typed faster than my brain worked.

Another song I can't get behind: Brown Sugar by the Stones. I mean, wow.

Khadaji 06-06-2011 08:11 PM

I kind of still like it, because it is catchy, but until I really listened I didn't realize that Unkle Kracker's Follow Me was about adultery.

PoorYorick 06-07-2011 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni (Post 13884647)
Yeah, if the girl's father is rich, she's worthy of being taken out and shown respect. If her daddy's poor, you can do whatever you want with her, she doesn't deserve to be taken to dinner or anything, she's just a cheap fuck.

Maybe I'm just an innocent, but I think it's interesting that everyone apparently thinks that "do what you feel" means "fuck like jaded monkeys." To me, it meant that since you didn't have any money, you'd have to do something that didn't, you know, cost money. Didn't any of you guys ever go on a date when you were broke?

Lynn Bodoni 06-07-2011 08:04 AM

Yes, I went on plenty of dates that didn't involve spending a lot of money. Or any money. The man I almost married was chronically broke. He was an orphan, and working his way through college. We went to a lot of free events that the college offered, lectures and movies and whatever. The man I DID marry was also basically broke when we were dating, so we did things like visit the Water Gardens in the evening (back then the Gardens were well-maintained), which cost nothing but were a lot of fun.

The thing is, though, that when the song was written and sung, it was almost always the boy or man who paid for the date. If the girl's father was rich, then the guy would spend money on her. If her father wasn't rich, then he didn't need to spend money. He'd court the rich girl and have fun with the poor girl, in other words. Back when I was dating, it was pretty well known that a guy could drive over to the poor part of town and be able to pick a girl who'd probably fuck with no strings attached. Oh, not all the girls in the bad neighborhoods would do it, but a lot of them would, especially if there was alcohol or drugs involved. The song says it's OK to treat women differently based on whether or not they come from a rich or poor family.

Mean Mr. Mustard 06-07-2011 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni (Post 13884647)
Yeah, if the girl's father is rich, she's worthy of being taken out and shown respect. If her daddy's poor, you can do whatever you want with her, she doesn't deserve to be taken to dinner or anything, she's just a cheap fuck.

Wow, that is quite a stretch. I think you've over-thought that one a bit there, Lynn. :)

What is interesting to me is that I actually like almost all the songs mentioned in this thread, and the lyrics do not change that.


mmm

mattwan 06-07-2011 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PoorYorick (Post 13887432)
Maybe I'm just an innocent, but I think it's interesting that everyone apparently thinks that "do what you feel" means "fuck like jaded monkeys." To me, it meant that since you didn't have any money, you'd have to do something that didn't, you know, cost money. Didn't any of you guys ever go on a date when you were broke?

I think a lot of the implications lie in "take her out for a meal", which suggests the singer will be picking up the tab himself--generally if you are taking someone else out, you are going to be paying, yeah? So the singer could afford to buy the poor girl a meal if he wanted to, but he doesn't feel the need to do that. And if he could buy her a meal but instead just wants to do what he feels...well.

Looking at the rest of the lyrics, though, I think the more innocent interpretation might be preferred. Since they're pretty much unintelligible, though, it's not surprising that many people (including myself) assumed he'd fuck his date like a jaded monkey if he didn't need to impress her daddy.

Edit: Ninja'ed by Lynn. Should've previewed, but I'm new to posting. Be gentle? But I don't think she's stretching or overreading at all; what she describes is a pretty well-known cultural convention, I'd thought, and is exactly what I'd always assumed whenever I heard the song. It can hardly be a stretch if it's the first thing that comes to mind. :)

Lynn Bodoni 06-07-2011 08:41 AM

Quote:

But I don't think she's stretching or overreading at all; what she describes is a pretty well-known cultural convention, I'd thought, and is exactly what I'd always assumed whenever I heard the song. It can hardly be a stretch if it's the first thing that comes to mind.
It MIGHT be a generational thing. This song came out in 1970, and that's when I heard it. And just about all the kids in my age group assumed that a girl with a poor father would be an easy, cheap screw, and that's how they interpreted the song. The guy always chose what sort of date it would be, unless the girl requested something special, and girls were cautioned to be considerate of their dates' wallets. So, a guy could choose to take his date to a fancy restaurant (and going out to eat was a much bigger thing then) or he could choose to just go riding around (and gas was much cheaper then, and cruising was pretty common among teens).

Wheelz 06-07-2011 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 13885640)
Too many to list, but off the top of my head:

Spirit in the Sky

I love Spirit in the Sky! I sing along, loudly, every time I hear it: "I never been a sinner, I never sinned... I got a friend in Jesuuuus!!"
Even though, you know, I have and I don't. :D It's still a kick-ass song.


Speaking of In the Summertime, which I also love, how about telling everybody to "Have a drink, have a drive"? Nice.

John DiFool 06-07-2011 09:10 AM

It took me lo 20 years or so (yes I can be slow on the uptake on some things), but REM's "Man on the Moon" apparently implies that a faked moon landing would be more "cool" than the real one (which was indeed the coolest event of my lifetime). Now perhaps I am taking the lyrics too literally (this is Michael Stipe we're talking about, after all), but I can no longer listen to it without it seriously bugging me.

Mean Mr. Mustard 06-07-2011 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wheelz (Post 13887578)
I love Spirit in the Sky

Me too, probably my favorite song mentioned in this thread. I remember buying it on 45 the week it came out in 1969 (:eek:), and I still have it somewhere.

Pretty funny that it was written and recorded by a Jewish dude.


mmm

Peremensoe 06-07-2011 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 13885640)
Too many to list, but off the top of my head:

Spirit in the Sky

How do you possibly miss the lyrics to that? What did you think it was about?

Marley23 06-07-2011 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John DiFool (Post 13887636)
It took me lo 20 years or so (yes I can be slow on the uptake on some things), but REM's "Man on the Moon" apparently implies that a faked moon landing would be more "cool" than the real one (which was indeed the coolest event of my lifetime). Now perhaps I am taking the lyrics too literally (this is Michael Stipe we're talking about, after all), but I can no longer listen to it without it seriously bugging me.

He also makes some uncited claims about Mott the Hoople playing the board game Life. Seriously, it's a mistake to read his lyrics that literally and he definitely does not say a faked moon landing would be cooler than the real one.

No umlaut for U 06-07-2011 09:49 AM

Brown Sugar. Ugh. And ditto on Under my Thumb.

Pliny the younger 06-07-2011 10:26 AM

My entry is The Seed 2.0 by the Roots. Love the beat but what is up with the lyrics?

I only wanna fertilize another behind my lover's back
I sit and watch it grow standin' where I'm at
Fertilize another behind my lover's back
And I'm keepin' my secrets mine

Annie-Xmas 06-07-2011 10:43 AM

Box Tops Sweet Cream Ladies Forward March.

Did ANYONE look at the lyrics before giving it so much airplay in the innocent 1960's? They are not implying or infering anything. This song is about prostitutes.

BubbaDog 06-07-2011 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 13887935)
Box Tops Sweet Cream Ladies Forward March.

Did ANYONE look at the lyrics before giving it so much airplay in the innocent 1960's? They are not implying or infering anything. This song is about prostitutes.

That's pretty much why it got the airplay it did.

The funny thing is using that song years later to sell cream pies.

Crafter_Man 06-07-2011 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss (Post 13884847)
John Lennon's Imagine. At first, it sounded like a bit of idealistic optimism. Then I realized it's just a Communist Manifesto masquerading as pop music!

Same here. I used to like the song until I started paying attention to the lyrics. It's pretty obvious the song is an ode to communism. :(

Hampshire 06-07-2011 02:47 PM

Happy Boy by the Beat Farmers.

A local radio station always plays just the first verse and my 5 year-old son liked it:

I was walkin' down the street on a sunny day
hubba hubba hubba hubba hubba
Feelin' in my bones that I'll have my way
hubba hubba hubba hubba hubba
Chorus:
Well, I'm a happy boy (happy boy)

So I downloaded the full version. The rest of the song is about how the guys dog got hit by a car, he put the dead dog in a drawer, forgot about it for a month, then when he found it again laughed about it.


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