Hello friends, I’d like to talk today about annoying lyrics. You know, those lyrical flubs that stick in your craw and you wish you had a magic marker that you could just write on the CD and change. As the frontman and lyricist in a failed New Jersey bar band, I, Jim Teacher, am overqualified to speak on this egregious subject.
For example, Iggy must have thought he hit a home run with “Search & Destroy,” right? Wrong. “I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb.” Not bad, I guess–if you’re a three-year-old raised without language. Iggy could’ve reached a little and made it “I’m a runaway son from the nuclear playground.” Whoa, I just blew my own mind.
See? One wrong lyrical turn can ruin Jim Teacher’s entire high school experience. So why do they (the guys who write lyrics) do it again, and again…and again?
I’m not going to even attempt to answer that philosophical quandary. Instead, I’ll focus my efforts on bitching about specific cases of lyrical neglect.
First up: The Killers in that song where they sing about the guy’s uncle who does cocaine. To start off with, this guy, Brandon Flowers or whatever his name is, isn’t half-bad in terms of lyrics. Now I was predisposed to hate this band because…well, look, they look like a bunch of pussies, but even Jim Teacher isn’t impervious to the impeccable pop hooks. These fucks wore me down, especially since my wife wouldn’t remove the CD from the car and, as we all know, that’s not the man’s job. So I listened and listened.
Anywhoo, this guy writes some all right lyrics. Except for this one line in that cocaine song that literally keeps me up at night with its ravening stupidity. “He’s convinced himself right in his brain.” No fucking shit? Where else do you convince yourself, dude? On your ankle?
In terms of writing lyrics, this is a fallacy Jim Teacher likes to call the “Fill the Space.” Dude is writing a song, and has a pretty good idea of what he’s trying to say. Except one line is just too damn short. “He’s convinced himself that it helps to take away the pain.” Hmmm, but the way the music goes, that shit just isn’t long enough…needs to break to two lines…let’s (that’s right) FILL THE SPACE. With something benign but redundant. Hence, “in his brain” comes into play. Bonus, it rhymes with “pain.”
With good lyricists, you aren’t kept up writhing at night wondering how come they’re making millions and you’re just writhing around at night. This is an example of why this guy’s only half-good. This is like that one tailor in the neighborhood who is okay with putting on buttons and most of the shit, but when you get your suit back the front pocket you wanted repaired is stapled on. You can wear the thing if you’re going to hang out in places with dim lights, but you’re not gonna take it out for a spin to that afternoon tea party. And even though you have to walk past that tailor’s shop every day on your way to work, and you see him doing generally good stuff for other people, you’re still going to remember that stapled-on pocket.
So yeah, lazy move, Flowers. If that is your real name.
NEXT TIME: Some shit about townies.