by Lisa Cordaro As evidenced by the recent international freakshow that is Eurovision, lyrics appear to have reached a nadir of mindlessness. However, some of the lexical offerings from popular songwriters over the years have also shown wordsmithing of such questionable merit, Bernie Taupin or Neil Finn would blush.
Here is my top 10:
10. No Limit – 2Unlimited
No no, no no no no, there’s no lyrics. Not quite true, but the few that do exist hang onto the coat-tails of kudos by referencing Ike and Tina Turner. However, this techno-twaddle for ‘aceed’ casualties really makes a limp attempt to justify its existence by asserting: ‘We do what we want and we do it with pride.’ Fine, if you say so. I say: a no limit to a ban on the song is in order – in perpetuity.
9. I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Yes, it’s a surrealist classic, but can we completely absolve Lennon/McCartney for ingesting one too many tabs and foisting this weirdness on us? I like the idea of an elementary penguin singing ‘Hari Krishna’ (when does it graduate to intermediate level?) – but I can’t forgive the semolina pilchards, whether they’re scaling a famous Parisian landmark or not.
8. Baby – Justin Bieber feat. Ludacris
Ah, the trials and tribulations of a teenager. Justin is keen on a girl and can’t work out whether she likes him back or just wants to be friends. Ludacris chimes in, rapping that his love gets him going more efficiently than a leading worldwide coffee chain: a romantic comparison indeed. Oh, and ‘baby’ is repeated about a million times. Anne Frank wrote better than this at a younger age. Somehow, I doubt she’d have been a Belieber.
7. Scream and Shout – Will.I.Am feat. Britney Spears
We’re all in the club. We’re rocking. We’re going to turn the music up. We’re going to shake the ground. We’re going to burn the house down. We’re going to scream and shout and let it all out. Oh, do make up your mind – and turn that racket down. I’m off for a nice cup of tea.
6. Save the Best For Last – Vanessa Williams
Unless, by some extraordinary astrophysical happening, the Earth has fallen out of orbit and its polarities have been reversed, the lyricists responsible for this aberration need to know that the sun does not go round the moon, and that snow does not come down in June – not in the northern hemisphere, anyway. The concepts are plainly unscientific and should never have been committed to paper, let alone tape.
5. Mmmbop – Hanson
I hadn’t expected this song to be an existential treatise on a dark night of the soul – well, more a bad case of geriatric alopecia – but surprisingly enough, it manages to give Sartre a run for his money. I learned another thing: if you plant various seeds, you have no idea which one will grow. I no longer need my copy of Being and Nothingness; for I have the complete works of the Hanson brothers for my ontological enlightenment, and strongly recommend you acquire the same.
4. Classic – Adrian Gurvitz
Poor Adrian. He’s lost his girl and is so cut up about it, he’s decided to become an ‘artist’ in order to outpour his woe. He’s going to write a classic. Moreover, he’s going to write it in an attic. Because he’s an addict now, an addict for her love. I admire his stab at authenticity, but there’s no excuse for doggerel in any song lyric. Gurvitz! Go to the back of the class, open your songbook at page 4 and study Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ – now there’s a man who knows exquisite agony. Read and learn!
3. Life – Des’ree
I agree with Des’ree that seeing a ghost could be traumatic. Equally, walking alone in a park at night is not a sensible course of action, and likely to attract unwanted attention. However, staying in and having a piece of toast is not a viable alternative. I suggest a health and safety course and getting out more.
2. Closest Thing To Crazy – Katie Melua
Clearly, Justin Bieber took a leaf out of Ms Melua’s book in expressing the pain of a dysfunctional relationship. By 22 you’ve so got to grips with life, yet being in love makes you act so immature, you know? I mean, 17 is five whole years younger. I do hope she’s over it now.
1. I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) – Sandi Thom
First, this lyric is by someone who wasn’t even a twinkle in her father’s eye at the time of the Sex Pistols, let alone Jefferson Airplane. Second, it promotes the frankly appalling notion that anyone sporting a mohican would stick foliage in their barnet. Third, it has absolutely no idea what it is talking about. Someone put Thom in a time machine and drop her at a Damned gig circa 1977, and tell her to take a raincoat. She’ll find out what punk was really like soon enough.
Lisa Cordaro – May 2013