Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Excuse Me, Is Your Refrigerator Running?

I have always paid attention to song lyrics and, with some rap-based exceptions, am fairly adept at both deciphering and retaining them.

As an aside, it's practically criminal how the brain can hold on to some information like phone numbers and lyrics and completely void itself of useful stuff. I often wish my entire education had been set to music just so I could have a shot at remembering something actually relevant to my daily life and the questions my kids ask me-- as opposed to the year in which the Battle of Hastings was fought (1066).

My mindless focusing (oxymoron alert!) on the words I'm singing must feed into my enjoyment of those misheard lyrics roundups. You know what I'm talking about... "'scuse me while I kiss this guy" (Purple Haze); "I'm not talking 'bout the linens" (I'd Really Love to See You Tonight); "the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me" (You Oughta Know); and, of course, "Hold me closer Tony Danza...." (Tiny Dancer). I'm sure there are websites devoted to them. (Just checked. Yup.)

We may have a new entry.

Our family's song of the summer is Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks." Notwithstanding what I said about being good with words, I have practically no idea what they are saying during most of the song. The verse is sung through some kind of megaphone that distorts the sound, but then it breaks into a very catchy chorus that I love but which is still somewhat hard to decipher. Turns out that the words were being purposefully manipulated as a way of censoring them (the chorus references guns and bullets).

A second aside: The upshot of all of Tipper Gore's fist shaking all those years ago is that they garble "gun" and "bullet," meanwhile I have to keep my hand on the dial to navigate away from Rihanna singing about how she likes the smell of sex in the air and sweet little Bruno Mars' plans for after he does his p90x? It's like radio morality and censorship are in direct contradiction with what is deemed okay by the ratings boards/standards and practices for movies and tv. Can you all meet in the middle somewhere please?

On Sirius we can hear the song as written and it clearly says (in part) "all the other kids with the pumped up kicks you'd better run, better run faster than my bullet." Except my son hears-- and sings-- it a little differently: "better run, better run, faster than my oven."

He insists it makes perfect sense.

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