Lyrics mean things

My musical tastes run to high-energy cheesy 70’s and 80’s pop music, primarily.  I like music that makes other people want to dance.  (Not me.  I don’t dance.  I never did, really, but now I use the stroke as my excuse.)  I don’t like music that evokes sadness, since I’m not a big fan of being sad, and I don’t like music with a message because usually the message is stupid or wrong.

That said, I’ve come to realize over the years that some songs have lyrics which lack even an internal consistency, to the point where I become completely distracted trying to, in a sense, solve them.

For example, take the song “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.  As we all know, Miss Molly works “from the early, early morning to the early, early night” at “the House of Blue Lights”.  Now supposedly, this is offered as supporting evidence for the assertion that Miss Molly is “lots of fun”.  But if you think about it, she’s working from the early, early morning (say 6AM) to the early, early night (say 6PM).  This is what most of us refer to as “day shift”.  Which begs the question, what kind of establishment is the House of Blue Lights?  From context, the implication is that it is either a nightclub or a house of ill repute.  In either case, the day shift is not going to be where all the action is, which mitigates the amout of fun Molly can be.  What I suspect is that Miss Molly works days at the local K-Mart, home of the Blue Light Special, and that the term “lots of fun” is relative to the other sales associates. 

The premise of Glenn Frye’s “All She Wants to Do is Dance” is right there in the title.  All she wants to do is dance.  That’s it.  Just dancing.  Oh, by the way, she also wants to make romance.  That’s it, just dancing and romance.  And party.  She also wants to party.  Find a nice party full of dancing and romance, and she’s completely satisfied.  Unless they prohibit getting down.  Because she wants to get down, and if she can’t get down, well, then why go to a dance party at all?  So, to reiterate, ALL she wants to do is dance.

Don’t get me started on the Electric Light Orchestra.  In the song of the same name, Jeff Lynne specifically states for the record, “I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor, ‘Don’t bring me down!'”  He then proceeds to reiterate this simple concept 19 more times (yes, I counted them).  By about halfway through, I always find myself yelling at the radio, “Jeff, get off the floor, or I’ll bring you something to be down about!”  (Disclaimer: I probably won’t.  I’m all talk that way.)

More recently, I’ve found myself considering the problems of Katy Perry as documented in the song “Hot ‘n’ Cold”, and I’m confused.  At the end of the second verse, she complains, “I should know that you’re not gonna change.”  She then claims this is because her boyfriend is alternately hot, cold, in, out, up, down, and so on.  Clearly, the lad’s problem is not that he’s too stuck in his ways.  I mean, c’mon, the guy changes minds like a girl changes clothes!  Forgive me, but I suspect that the problem lies with young Katy herself, who, in a classic case of psychological projection, complains that “You overthink, always speak critically.”  Perhaps a bit more introspection is called for here.

One of the few sad songs I really liked was “Sad Eyes” by Robert John.  It’s just a really pretty song.  And then one day, I (stupidly) started thinking about the lyrics.  “Looks like it’s over.  You knew I couldn’t stay.  She’s coming home today.”  And it dawned on me, this is not some song of regret over love lost.  He’s basically breaking up with his mistress because his wife is coming home from a business trip.  He’s a sleazeball who’s cheating on his wife, and she’s a moron who’s sad because their cheap tawdry affair is ending, an affair with a guy so uninvested in the relationship that he’s OK with her crying, as long as he doesn’t have to see it.  It changes the whole theme from pining to whining.  I have no sympathy at all for either of them.

To summarize, much like Katy Perry’s boyfriend, I overthink and speak critically.  If I have ruined a favorite song of yours, I apologize.

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