YTAH's Weblog


No, You Can’t Take the Fucking Weather With You [Part 1]

Posted in lyrics by YTAH on July 16, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,

I listen to a lot of music. I do so for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, I like to think of myself as a cultured sort, who enjoys experiencing all kinds of aural stimuli, from the screams of the innocent to the dying calls of the whales to the yodelling of the clinically insane. However, I also do so because I am forced to, because of the fact that I work in what is politely called “an open-planned office environment” but which is really just a nice way of saying “public toilet with all the doors and walls torn down and the roof lifted off and the front door open with a camera pointed at you for the duration of your stay and projected onto the large outdoor screen for the edification of the passing public”. It’s just that kind of privacy, silence, and class which one typically enjoys in such an environment and that so many of us have come to treasure.

At least these monkeys don’t sing…

Now, the advantage of listening to music at work is that often I am busy with something else while I am listening to it. This may not immediately strike you as a good thing, because, after all, part of the joy of music (“popular music”, anyway) is the combination of a decent melody with something akin to poetry. That is all well and good. However, we all know that the overwhelming majority of modern songs have lyrics more closely approaching the rantings of a botched lobotomy experiment, the snot-breathing, foetus-throwing product of a broken home, than the works of Shakespeare, Keats, or your average neighbourhood toilet stall. Because for every band that has a decent lyricist, there’s about a hundred with lyrics that seem to have been cribbed from the philosophical musings of the “Student Voted Most Likely to Die of Asphyxiation As a Result of Ingesting Their Own Bodily Fluids”. For every song with well-thought-out, carefully constructed lyrics, there are thousands – count them, thousands – of songs that mean less than the combined brain vapours of the special class in the remotest Southern backwater never featured on Starsky & Hutch. It is these songs that are infecting our brains with their nonsensical, overwrought, pretentious, ungrammatical horse faeces, and they Must. Be. Stopped.

Why, in the name of fuckery, do we allow brain-diseased fuckwits to pen their own lyrics? “Pen” in this case is a rather sophisticated term for what we’re talking about, of course. Most of these people seem unable to work anything more complicated than a coke spoon, so how they’re going to keep it together long enough to (a) pick up a pen, (b) point it in the right direction, and (c) decipher their brain farts into words through the haze of illiteracy and inborn stupidity, is now and will always remain a mystery, like the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body, the true story of the events around that grassy knoll, and the reason for Mick Jagger’s popularity. (Seriously, the guy looks like a rubber welcome mat that’s been driven over by a fully-laden 10-ton truck. Repeatedly.)

Today's menu - roadkillRoadkill, anyone?

When is this going to end? When hell freezes over. I am telling you, we will be forced to listen to Pop Idol rejects’ aborted word-doodles until the coming of the apocalypse. So, for example, we have the killer opening for a pretty decent song, entitled “I Believe”, by one of the offshoots of Fokofpolisiekar. Now, you all know I like the band. I like both the offshoots. But Beelzebub and all his little wizards take me if I’ll put up with the strained agony of “The days drag by like dead animals.” What? Grammatically this doesn’t make any kind of fucking sense. Dead animals don’t generally drag themselves around, what with being dead and all, so they’re being dragged. But days aren’t dragged by anything, apart from time, perhaps, which means the line should read “The days are dragged like dead animals”. But then this fucks up the sense of the simile, because if dead animals are getting dragged anywhere, whoever is doing the dragging is most probably a hunter or a predator, in which case the line means “We drag the days like a hunter drags his prey”, which kinda sounds like a success scenario to me, frankly. I ask you. Does that make any kind of sense to anyone?

Of course bad lyrics often go unnoticed in the excitement of a live performance, either because the sound is too shitty to make out the lyrics, or because the crowd is caught up in the moment, or because some cunt just spilt his beer over you. But at some point, once the concert is over and you’ve gone home, when you decide to give the guy the benefit of the doubt because he actually managed to put on a good show and his singing voice didn’t immediately provoke projectile vomiting, when you’re surfing the Internet and you finally get around to looking up the lyrics, and you read the product of several million years of evolution, you’re going to have to ask yourself: what the fuck were they on about?

I had such an experience at the CokeFest this year. I was only there to see Van Coke Kartel, and I didn’t really know any of the other bands who were going to play, but I figured: what the hell? There’s gotta be at least one band that can put on a good show. And there were. They all did. Even Good Charlotte, which tells you something. The surprise of the day, of course, turned out to be Jared Leto’s vanity project, I mean band, which actually sounded more like a band than a vanity product. (At least he didn’t come off like Bruce Willis’s blues band, or Steven Seagal’s, for that matter.) Say what you like about him, the guy starred in Requiem for a Dream, one of the most perfect films ever captured on celluloid, and it turns out he has a pretty decent voice. What a pity he’s using it to sing such utter, utter shit. “Run away, run away, I’ll attack, run away, run away, go change yourself, run away, run away, now I’ll attack, I’ll aa-WHOOOAAAAAAAAA” WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK does THAT mean? Why would you change yourself if someone was attacking you? Why is Jared assaulting someone who obviously needs adult diapers? And why does he keep singing this, over and over again? Once would have been enough to make me doubt the man’s sanity, but this is the chorus, for the gods’ sakes, and he doesn’t really write verses for this. “Are you listening? Can you hear what I am saying?” Yes, Jared, thank you, I can. Thank you for ruining my fucking day. But wait, I get it now: they’re warning the crowd. “Run away! Run away! The lead singer’s gone off his fucking nut! Get out while you can! Save yourselves!” But it was too late. His miserable emo wankery has now infected my mind, and it will take years of Turbonegro to wash it out again.

Of course, insulting only 30 Seconds to Oblivion would be too easy, and there are more esteemed candidates who are equally worthy. Take The Smiths, for example, the now-moribund proto-Britpop band fronted by His Royal Morrisseyness, or as I like to think of him, The Wet One. Does anybody understand how any of his lines follows on from the other? DocBenway described his lyrics as follows: “he whines and blubbers about, managing to sound pompous while making absolutely no sense at all”. I would like to go one step further, and blame him for all the bad lyrics of Britpop. Now that is a serious accusation, if only for the simple fact that this incorporates every single last lyric ever committed to lyric sheet by the esteemed Noel Gallagher.

Einstein vs Gallagher

“I’m feeling supersonic/ Give me gin and tonic/ You can have it all but how much do you want it? … I know a girl called Elsa, she’s into Alka Seltzer; she sniffs it through a cane on a supersonic train.” Very nice, Noel, now go play with your faeces somewhere else, there’s a nice boy. “You need to find out ‘cos no one’s gonna tell you what I’m on about. You need to find a way for what you want to say.” What’s that, Noel? “D’you know what I mean?” No, Noel. Nobody knows what you mean. Nobody gives a flying Manchester anus what you’re on about. That’s because when you wrote that piece of shit song you were so high out of your mind that you probably soiled yourself several times before plummeting back down to earth long enough to fix this fucking drivel down on paper for posterity. The only posterior here is you, fuckhead. Asses to asses, dust to dust; you write shitty lyrics cause the cocaine’s a bust. Here’s a little hint to all aspiring lyricists: STAY OFF THE GODDAMN COKE. Nobody will ever know what you were on about, because it’s not “what you were on about” that matters. I’m not even going to bother finishing that sentence, because really you should know where I’m going with this. Fuck knows, you lot seldom bother to finish a single thought when you’re penning the title of your next album, nevermind the name of the next single you intend to inflict on the general populace, so why the hell should I bother explaining myself. Don’t Believe the Truth. WTF? “Supersonic”, Noel? I fucking wish. If we were going faster than the speed of sound, perhaps I wouldn’t have to listen to your poorly written drivel.

I can keep on ad nauseum, really. But right now I gotta go outside and breathe a little. The fumes from these shitty lyrics are getting to my head. Tune in again next time, boys and girls, when we continue to savage other crappy lyrics, offer some useful suggestions to any retards who insist on writing their own songs, and spread some well-deserved blame around.

[Originally posted on africans.co.za on Tuesday, April 22, 2008.]

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