At the bus stop this morning, one of my mom friends and I were talking and I’m not sure exactly the evolution of the conversation but we got on the subject of misheard lyrics that reminded me of my favorite misheard lyric ever.
To set the stage, we have never censored much music, we have had lots of discussions about when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to use certain words (in some case, that is never) but we do give a lot of leeway where music is concerned. Also, music is very nearly always on when we are in the car.
My oldest son was about three and we were driving around. It happened that we were listening to a little Cypress Hill. Suddenly, we realize that the boy is singing. I was a little concerned for about half a second. The words he was singing were not exactly the words of the song. I turned down the volume just a little bit so my husband could hear the rousing rendition of “Kids in the Barn.”
I’m pretty sure it was more than a few years before he realized he’d been singing it wrong. It’s one of those moments where I really wish we’d had a video camera. That would be one for the highlight reels.
What are your favorite misheard lyrics?
I was sixteen when I first heard Leonard Cohen. My mom had just died and I was a bitter, angry, broken girl (I am still those things some days). His words had no sugar coating, no false happy notes. His work was honest and imperfect and beautiful. His work has inspired my own time and time again. When I was in the darkest parts of my life, he, and the poets he led me to, were a solace of sorts. He showed me that poetry wasn’t just the dry imagery and metaphor we were taught in school, that music was poetry and poetry was music. It is possible that his music was the first to feel like poetry to me but I don’t know if that was Cohen himself, my own maturation, or the low pit I was crawling out of. I do know this: I am really tired of losing my idols.
Realistically, I do understand that it feels bigger because superstars weren’t really a thing before this great generation of artists. At least now these people know that they have touched people, brought comfort or inspiration or joy when it was needed. I know it really isn’t anything about this year but after so many losses, it’s hard not to feel like this year is just determined to break hearts.
Like Bowie, it feels like he got a chance to say goodbye with his last album. I’m so tired of goodbye right now. Cohen was the poet I wanted, still want, to grow up to be.
I had to scrap the story I was working on because it was really awful. Eh, it happens but it’s irksome when it does. I’ve got a band (Twenty One Pilots) and a singer (Elle King) in my head. I’m really impressed with them both – especially lyrically. As someone with anxiety, Car Radio becomes quite profound and true for me. His lyrics would be great spoken word. And then my brain goes off on a tangent because what is the difference between a rapper and a spoken word artist? Waits is found in spoken word but he has music and even sometimes puts that gravelly voice to real music. Is it just the background feel of a song that makes the difference? It would depress me greatly if the only difference is the origin of the artist.
Anyway, listening to them makes me think of Waits and Kerouac and then I want to write poetry but my work just does not compare so I do other things. Like make clothes. Certainly, I can’t do something useful like housework because that would be too logical.
Today ended up being another lost day as I got sucked into the music (and the fact that I have some really beautiful red fabric that needed to be made into something). I’ve got some edits I should be doing, some submissions I should be sending out but some of those include poetry and I’m feeling woefully inadequate today! Fortunately, the only deadlines I have right now are those I’m imposing on myself so a few lost days here and there don’t make much difference.
I forgot – technically, not a total lost day as I did get my Face Off recap posted!
Filed under music, Poetry