Well, in the past few months, I’ve noticed a few songs with lyrics that don’t quite fit, and I’ve found it such an interesting phenomena. I can’t tell if the lyrics are intentionally misaligned to be more memorable, or if it’t just an accident of fate. I’d tend to think it’s intentional as lyricists can be totally ingenious people. I’m often in awe of how succinctly and well they phrase the human condition.
But, I thought today we’d have a little fun with lyrics that made me pause, and say, Wait, what? (I must admit, I thought about this post a few months back, so these songs are not the most current).
In the song, Timber (Pitbull featuring Ke$ha), there’s this line where she sings: “Let’s make a night you won’t remember; I’ll be the one you won’t forget.”
And I get where she’s going with this, but the first time I heard it, I thought, that’s crazy. You can’t get amnesia and then selectively remember a person. That makes no logical sense. As I thought about it, I saw it was more to imply how awesome she was, that she would be the only thing he remembered on this night otherwise lost to him. However, the fact that I spent any time whatsoever mulling over these lyrics means they’re initial incongruity worked to make me focus on them, right?
Then there was that 1D song (One Direction for the unanointed), Story of my Life. This song, to this day, bothers me because I can’t figure out what is going on. Every time I hear it, I wonder, “Who is this guy? Is he good? Is he bad? What’s up with him?” And I like the song, but this set of lyrics completely baffle me as to what is going on, because they’re polar opposites.
At one point, the protagonist of our song, sings, “I take her home, I drive all night to keep her warm,” and I’m thinking, what a great guy. Then, our protagonist sings, “I give her hope. I spend her love until she’s broke inside.” And I’m like, what a creep. I like the song, and I remember the lyrics to this section because they so baffle me. How can you love this woman so much and then end up breaking her? I guess maybe you can, but it’s too hard to explain in the span of a song.
It’s a weird that because of the incongruent nature of the lyrics, I find the song lines very memorable. However, I’m also irritated by the fact that they don’t quite line up, just in the context of the song. As a writer, it’s started me to wonder if a little incongruence is good at times. I certainly don’t want readers irritated or confused by something I wrote. But, I do like the idea of the words sticking with them.
So, what are your thoughts on lyrics (or writing in general) that’s just a tad askew, so you end up stopping and thinking about it? Is it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle?