Senseless Pop Song Lyrics-How Do They Write This Stuff?

“If you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” --Louis Armstrong

I took it to be that the woman in question was some sort of know-it-all hyper-intellectual – so convinced of her own supremacy that she could recreate the uncreated. It seems to have been a running theme in this song, and other Doobie Brothers songs. And something to do with the times – in the 60’s you wouldn’t scoff at such a person, they were just too “far out, man” for your limited mind.

At any rate, I have one. Drives me to distraction, bordering on anger. See, they piped in the oldies station at work, and I’d heard these golden oldies all my life (Dad’s car only got AM radio), and I didn’t like them then:

“sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much”

What does that mean? How is that even a lyric? How does that appropriately describe a normal human sentiment? How do people find the soulful, mournful expression of such a sentiment appealing? As entertainment?

“I want to hold you, 'til the fear in me subsides”

Wait, touching is a problem to be solved by holding? What? How?

Go ahead, explain all that.

I took at as the man "trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created’; he wants to say they had a meaningful past when it was really more meaningful to him.

It’s often just poetic license – the idea of being evocative without necessarily having a real meaning. There is a long history of it, both in poetry and song lyrics, but for some reason, people nowadays can’t grasp the concept that not everything is meant to be taken literally.

There’s a fine line between clever and stupid.

The line I typically cite as a favorite rock lyric is “She was just seventeen, you know what I mean.” Paul wrote it but thought it was stupid; John heard it, knew it was clever and had Paul keep it in…

Sometimes we don’t have John around to help us know the difference :wink:

Doubtful that I can, but here goes:

Person1 and person2 are sharing an extremely intimate, trusting moment. By wordless touch, person1 feels that s/he is letting person2 know just how much person1 absolutely needs person2, and is afraid that person2 will be frightened by this message, to the point of possibly withdrawing. Cloying lyrics? Way overblown? Possibly, but then this is a love song.

At the same time, love often being paradoxical, person1 feels absolutely safe with person2, and wishes person2 to stay close, physically and emotionally, while person1 regains enough courage to face the world again. Repeat, this is a love song.

As for “What a Fool Believes”, I think this documentary on the song explains it best. It’s about Kenny Loggins trying and failing to revive his friendship with Jim Messina.

Here are the lyrics.

The meaning seems pretty simple to me. It’s about a man who meets a woman he was in love with, but who never loved him. He’s a fool who thinks there is a lost relationship to be rekindled, and no amount of logic will make him see the truth.

One of my favorite song lyrics makes absolutely no sense:

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo, Figaro! Magnifico-o-o-o-o-o!

Nothing at all. I was just citing it as perhaps the first major pop hit to have lyrics that were really impressionistic rather than straightforward.

This is why I’ve mostly given up on trying to be a lyricist. I’ve discovered that I simply can’t write deliberately bad grammar/syntax, and my finished products always feel kind of stilted, leaving me unsatisfied and frustrated with them as “songs”. I do much better composing music for other people’s lyrics.

She’s chopping broccoli!
She’s chopping broccoli"
She chopping brocca-lay!!
She chopping brocca-lay!!

the classic that I like is the Thin Lizzy line

“tonight there’s gonna be a jail break…somewhere in this town”

probably the jail. :slight_smile:

that reminds me of something I heard a while back of an investigation into the most played pop songs in history of broadcast media. turns out the top 2 were Bohemian Rhapsody, and Procul Harum - Whiter Shade Of Pale. both songs contain the word ‘Fandango’…thought that was quite weird.


It always seemed clear to me. Although I’m sure it helped that I heard Kenny Loggins sing it first and the Doobies later. Kenny has better enunciation, so it’s easier to make out the words.

Another example that comes to mind was Bob Seger being unhappy with the memorable line from Against the Wind of: “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” because he thought it was bad grammar… fortunately his band and his manager convinced him that it was a great line.

“What a Fool Believes” is just more prattle by the guy who ruined the Doobies-

(somebody had to say it!)

“Yesterday” was originally entitled “Scrambled Eggs” if that helps shed any light on the creative process (or lack thereof).

I gave up on having sensible rock lyrics sometime in my teenage years. I was raised on musical theater, so this whole “gee, they have to fit the words into the melody” stuff is just so much BS to me. Musicals have lovely melodies that also have lyrics that make sense (in context, of course, but usually even out of context). IMO, I think it’s just rock musicians being high or otherwise impaired or just not bothering. Or perhaps they don’t own a thesaurus? :stuck_out_tongue:

“…wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door…”
Couldn’t resist with your username. :slight_smile:

This is pretty much what I’ve always thought of the Doors

This is what I’ve always thought of Soul Kitchen. I love that song!

But that’s a neat way of saying the she has a public face that is quite different from her private persona. That lyric makes sense to me–as do the rest of the lyrics in that song. :slight_smile: