Misheard lyrics: Conversation Starters

This is the first in a new occasional feature called Conversation Starters, a lifeline for introverts who hate small talk. It will be a compilation of fun topics that will get others to share their own stories and take the heat off you. Hopefully you find this useful!:) Much love

 

Misheard lyrics are always a fun thing to talk about, especially when that certain song comes on the radio. It’s a go to for me, as an introvert. Conversation dies down, but the radio’s on? Perfect time to mention how you once thought “Burnin’ love” was actually “Monkey love.”

Sometimes, the misheard lyrics are better than the real ones! Some that I’ve heard and then was disappointed when I discovered they weren’t true:

 

“From head to toe-kyo. I’m so fancy. Can’t you taste this scone?”

“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. First of all, “Head to toe-kyo” is a great pun on Tokyo/head to toe, and I think it would have been a great, if slightly nonsensical addition to the song. On the other end of the spectrum, “Can’t you taste this scone?” makes more sense than “Taste this gold,” and is a nod to the fact that only fancy people eat scones.

 

“The happiest back-stabber in the world.”

“This Girl” by The Punch Brothers. It works better because “back-slider” is confusing and it’s much more interesting to imagine the speaker telling God he’s going to backstab him.

 

“Showin’ a funky, strong Michelle Pfieffer.”

“Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Hey, Michelle Pfieffer is funky and strong, I’d take her over a fighter anyday.

 

“I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your life, I’d tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife off of me. That debtless death, good God!”

“Take me to Church” by Hozier. This is so much more dramatic than the real lyrics! Shrine of your life instead of lies. Sharpening a knife off his sinning body to achieve debtless death…I love it!

 

The two best misheard terms come from my five year old cousin Anthony. They’re not lyrics, but they’re adorable.

First is the common “Lifesaver” rather than “lightsaber.” Hey, they save lives! I think it’s awesome.

The second takes a bit of explanation. It was Christmas, and we’re over our grandmother’s house, who we call Nonny. Anthony is explaining to me all the knick knacks in her room, from the ornaments on the tree to the snowflake decorations he made in preschool. We get to an Annalee doll of Santa making a list.

“You have to be nice,” Anthony tells me. “Or she’ll put you on her list.”

“He, you mean,” I say. “Santa.”

“No, Nonny will put you on her list.”

I paused for a minute. What? …then it hit me. The naught list. Nonny’s list.

I couldn’t help myself from bursting out laughing, so hard Anthony was confused and asked what was funny. The Nonny list!

It was so cute—of course he would assume our Boston accent-laden family was saying Nonny’s list, not naughty list. But then I wondered the implications that Anthony had in his head—did he think Nonny worked for Santa? Did he think she was the one who went around the world with coal for all the bad children on her list? What kind of monster did he think our grandmother was?!

 

Mishearings are an amazing conversation starter, as everyone has a story to share. Use it next time you need to small talk, or the next time you’re on a date. Who knows? You might find out he wasn’t singing “Ate my mom” after all.

“Hold on, beautiful”

“This time be my only girl/We could undress all the world.” —Undress the World,” The Milk Carton Kids

If writing is the love of my life than music is my mistress. I suppose it makes sense that lyrics have always been the most important part of music for me. Of course, not just lyrics—that would be not much else but poetry—but the way the lyrics are sung, the crescendos and voice cracks, the harmonies and vibratos and emotions. Music is sound, which writing can never be.

When I am caught in the throes of a musical love affair I often only want to write the lyrics of already existing songs.  I have notebooks full of songs already written, recorded word for word. I would rewind the song until I knew every syllable, until I transcribed it totally, and then would listen to it again, my eyes following the guide I had made. It was time filler, but made my soul feel light.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s an expression of obsession, or a desire to recreate what they have done. Perhaps it’s my own way of honoring their work.

Whenever I don’t know what to blog, writing lyrics comes to mind. For split seconds it always seems like a great idea, to share songs I love with the world, but then again, copyright laws, and then again, why would someone read the lyrics when they can hear the song in full with half a dozen keystrokes? I could do song reviews, I suppose, but who am I to say what lyrics mean to anyone but myself?

Lyrics alone do not do a song justice, anyhow. While I love them best, they lose their luster without a singer and a band.

Well, I’m a writer, after all. I shall write my own songs!…but how could I write something more perfect, more capturing of my situation than these songs that already exist? I would get more fulfillment from writing down what they sing, from hearing their cadence until it’s impressed on my mind. And even then, even if I were to write the lyrics of a song and comment on it, I would probably only gush about its greatness. Or, quite the opposite, I would ignore the rest of the song for my favorite line, the one that gets stuck in my head.

Perhaps this is partly why I like quotes so much. Snippets that capture a situation, an emotion, the song they are plucked from in so many words. If only there were a quote to sum up everything in the world. It would certainly make it easier to sing about:

 

“Witness what I listen. There’s a world here you’re missin’ to behold

A fiery night under the skies could warm your heart and hide away the cold

Venture out a little further and somehow you might find the courage to go

‘Cuz if you stand there long enough, you will realize you’re really on your own

Go on hold me

Go on hold me

Hold on, beautiful.”

“Undress the World,” The Milk Carton Kids