Bad lyrics: Oooh baby, oh girl, hit me. Please. Hit me.
A few weeks back, Adam Baidawi took to the online newsstands with a statement befitting most thirteen year old girls: “Back off, haters. Justin Bieber’s Got Talent.”*
Baidawi’s main statement was that the world of social media perpetuates unfounded assumptions, especially those related to taste, and I’m inclined to agree: We jump on the bandwagon.
But there’s more to it than that – Adam’s argument ends up here: “For those curious, the sample principle should be applied to poor old Rebecca Black … who has endured a lifetime of ridicule … despite bands like the Black Eyed Peas pumping out lyrics that, frankly, read like OUTTAKES from ’Friday.’”
If we leave it here, we’ve dropped the proverbial (bouncing karaoke) ball. You can’t use the Black Eyed Peas as an excuse for Friday’s ham-fisted calendar propaganda. No, let’s not back off from the Haterade™, as Adam suggests.
Let’s unscrew the top and pour it liberally upon every sub-standard musical “poet” until they are fully drenched in the complete extension of a liquid/emotion based metaphor.
Putting aside the Black Eyed Peas obvious part within this western-calendar conspiracy -they’ve been doing it for years and scoring hit after number one hit. In fact, it’s almost to the point where musical success is defined by its nonsense to sentiment ratio.
Britney Spears was clever to hide her opulent promiscuity beneath the words “If You Seek Amy” but she forgot the number one rule to espionage – you have to blend in. Poor Amy has sat around for months now, confused about why she is namedropped and then left for dead in the middle of bubblegum audacity.
Though she may have made her bread and butter off the back of Hit Me Baby (One More Time) - sitting vaguely between a passionate cry for sadomasochism and the linguistic morphing of the “hit song” from noun to verb - Britney is not the pioneer of such crimes against lyricism. Let’s follow the trend of number ones backwards:
2010 – Ke$ha’s Tik Tok:
When I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back.
Ignoring Ke$ha’s obvious misunderstanding of finite and infinite states of presence, she also advocates poor dental hygiene and teenage crushes on Mick Jagger look-alikes (gross).
2009 – Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling:
Fill up my cup, mazel tov. Look at her dancing, just take it off.
The direct translation of the song title, “I got to feeling” is more interesting than its slang equivalent AND the song somehow manages to go from Bat Mitzvah to strip club in a mere five words.
2008 – Flo-Rida’s Low:
Shawty was hot like a toaster, sorry but I had to fold her like a pornography poster.
Nuff said? Nuff said.
2000 – Destiny’s Child’s Independent Woman:
Girl I didn’t know you could get down like that. Charlie, how your angels get down like that?
The song starts with a list of the stars in the latest movie franchise, people!
1990 – Stevie B’s Because I Love You (The Postman’s Song):
I got your letter from the postman just the other day, and so I decided to write you this song.
There’s nothing I like more than being told what’s going on every single step of the way.
1980 – Kenny Roger’s Lady:
We belong together, won’t you believe in my song?
Maybe this is where Stevie B picked up his literalism.
You get the picture. We’ve been nonsense-nellies and blunt Baudelaires since pop began, but with social media we get to feel better than an entire industry in REAL-TIME (I’m tweeting right now: @ads_b “Eat that, Baidawi.”)
I’m not saying every pop song needs to have a rose to the value of Shakespeare’s floristry, but when was the last time a number one song inspired something beyond an elephant-thumping romp in the club bathroom? Perhaps we do need a little more “Ob-la-di” and a little less “zig-a-zig-ah” in our drive-time radio. Even The Beatles’ Come Together makes more sense than the lyrical tragedy of Nickelback’s “and what the hell is on Johnny’s head” as some sort of nostalgia.
Okay, okay, maybe I’m being hypocritical with my abnormally high standards. I admit I’ve often thought, “Yes, we ARE the Walrus and we DO want to ride our bicycles!” And in the green age, perhaps we should all research into the hypothesis that fat-bottomed girls might contribute some unknown form of rotational energy. It’s just a little disheartening that the next generation’s heartbreakers might be won over by men with perpetually windswept hair, and the pick-up line of the year: Baby, Baby, Baby, Ooh.
Oh, swoon they will, those stunning young women with their Jack-stained teeth and Jaggered heartbeats.
Here, I must confess: my generation missed out on quality time, sitting on the dock of the bay; we didn’t get to give peace a chance or wonder what the world needs now; our love affairs were with girls on film, Barbie anthems and the conjunction of disjointed words like rap and rock. So perhaps it’s time for me to step back from the keyboard, sigh and leave my puritan sensibilities in an old book of Shakespearean sonnets and be done with it.
* Just so you all know, Adam Baidawi did not come up with this phrase - it was a headline concocted by the Punch crew.
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