TNT’s Top 5
5. “Eyeball” by Meat Puppets – “Since I hurt myself, I feel so much better/Suck my eyeball.” What a chorus! Seriously, no idea what this song means.
4. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits – Is the line “Money for nothing, chicks for free” referring to someone who works at MTV? It sounds like a list of things to move and install, then goes into a random conversation with no one in particular. If you want your MTV, do you really need to install microwave ovens and/or move refrigerators? I can’t believe this song won a Grammy in 1985.
3. “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba – This can barely qualify as a song, it sounds more like a drink order. Do not think about picking this one to karaoke, it just repeats the lyric ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down’. In England, a tubthumper is a politician, so I’m going to assume it’s a protest song. Any thoughts?
2. “Loser” by Beck – Everyone knows the chorus and some of the verse, but can anyone make sense of the song besides the obvious fact of being a loser and asking to be killed? I love Beck because his lyrics don’t have to make sense. This song is the result of not making sense…on purpose. We’re listening now Beck, you have our attention.
1. “Lisztomania” by Phoenix – What? Lisztomania, like when women went crazy for classical pianist Franz Liszt? Or that movie by Ken Russel about Franz Liszt’s life, played by Rodger Daltrey? If you try to look up the lyrics online, each site has something different. Why is this love for gentlemen only? Correction, the wealthiest gentlemen only. I could go on and on, but why don’t you just read the lyrics and get back to me if you can make any sense out of them.
Hoverbee’s Top 5
5. “Modern Love” by David Bowie – There’s no sign of this song making sense. I understand that Mr. Bowie is never going to fall for modern love, but what’s that have to do with the paper boy, standing in the wind, and never waving bye-bye? I try to understand this song, I try.
4. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by The Police – It is true that every lyric in this song makes sense except for the chorus. Still, the chorus is the most repeated line in the song! I do love it, but feel especially strange when singing along. All of a sudden, I’m a toddler and I want my binky.
3. “Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel – According to Mr. Gabriel, this song is about the jealousy brought out by a lover in a relationship. It took several readings of the lyrics for this explanation to make sense to me. Still, a great tune! Fox the fox. Rat on the rat. You can ape the ape; I know about that.
2. “Levon” by Elton John – This song is about a guy named Levon who names his son Jesus and has a father named Alvin Tostig. They count money, blow up balloons, and think about going to Venus. Fantastic.
1. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield – It is true that I dislike this song and wish to never hear it again, but it got ridiculous play and so I was forced to listen. I understand that the end is not yet written, but what’s that got to do with opening a dirty window and feeling the rain on your skin? It seems that this song is a sad attempt to be deep or have some special message. She really should have left this song unwritten.
Mark’s Top 5
5. “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora– Probably one of the greatest 80s novelty songs, but to this day makes ZERO sense. I know what the song is about and I can understand the lyrics, but it still confuses the hell out of me. I guess the biggest question is why is Tarzan Boy so alone? He’s friends with the animals for Christ’s sake.
4. “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads – Psycho Killer…Qu’est Que C’est…what? It probably means “what are you trying to say”? It seems to be about a killer, but why the french add-ons? So David Byrne can sing nonsense in a different language, that’s why…he’s so worldly.
3. “Chop Suey” by System of a Down – Ahh, good ol’ Serj…such profound and hard-hitting lyrics, offering heavy-handed criticisms of the government and societal travesties and faux pas…if only you weren’t speaking complete fuck-tard. Here’s what I hear: something about makeup, leaving keys on tables, suicides and angels. You are supposed to sing into the microphone, not try to eat it mid-chorus.
2. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes – Seriously, what the fuck is Busta Bust saying? All I could ever make out is his repeating of the song title. Thank god the video was cool.
1. “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam – Eddie Vedder + Lyrics – Message / Douche factor = Lost. Resting your head on concrete? Thoughts like butterflies? He doesn’t know so he chases them away? Fuck, I don’t know either, so I’m out. But you have to admire Eddie’s persistence, as not many people have made a career out of singing with oatmeal constantly in their mouths. It seems like such a high level of self-importance comes with a price…and a flannel shirt.
Stigz’s Top 5
I want to preface this list with the assertion that many songs are amazing, but many a time don’t make sense. On this list are some of these- tracks that I love and understand on my own level, but lyrically at times make absolutely no sense.
5. “Gylcerine” by Bush – Like many songs you can groove to and like without knowing why, this song makes no sense if you read the lyrics. But again, if you connect with it, you tend to ignore that.
4. “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix – One of my all time favorites, sometimes the lyrics take a foray into nonsense akin to the acid trip they were written on (fact…look it up). And to quote White Men Can’t Jump “You might be listening, but you don’t hear Jimi.” If you hear him, the song makes perfect sense.
3. “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” by Outkast – The lyrics make sense if you read them, but if you listen to the words you can catch, they still don’t make any. Da da da stop the train bum bum drop the brain. You get it…
2. “By The Way” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – Specifically the part in the song when the lyrics are comprised of such random words as “Steak Knife /Caro Shark /Con Job /Boot Cut.” All of the songs make sense if you know their music and their backgrounds, but if I heard this for the first time, I’d think it was the soundtrack for Tourette’s Syndrome.
1. Anything by Lady Gaga…Specifically “Pokerface.” I don’t think I need to justify this.
Klone’s Top 5
It would be incredibly simple to just fill this list with Lady Gaga and Ke$ha, but at the same time that just seems too easy. Songs with odd or awkward lyrics are nothing new, even though it seems to be the “hip” new thing to do. I think for some of the more current acts, it’s a bit of a cop-out to quickly go to the gibberish lyrics. Whatever happened to establishing song writer/lyricist as poet? Guess that’s what happens when more artists than not are having their songs written for them…
5. “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots – So, I along with everyone else who was alive and into the newly growing ‘Alternative’ rock genre in the early 90s thought that the singer of this new band was actually Eddie Vedder sporting a new hair color and style. Imagine our surprise to find out it was a new player on the scene, speaking in equally puzzling, riddle-like lyrics. This isn’t a negative criticism, as I think STP has always been poetic with their lyrics, but these really don’t make much sense without some explanation by the song writers: “Where ya going for tomorrow? Where ya going with the mask I found? And I feel, and I feel…When the dogs begin to smell her…Will she smell alone?”
4. “Hey Soul Sister” by Train – Besides being poppy and fun, the song kinda sounds like a drunken, desperate guy trying to find romantic metaphors in a high school biology textbook. “Your lipstick stains / on the front-lobe of my left-side brains / I knew I wouldn’t forget you / and so I went and let you blow my mind” then “Hey, Soul Sister / ain’t that Mister Mister / on the radio, stereo / the way you move ain’t fair you know”…so, I get that the left side of the brain is associated with memory, and suddenly the Soul Sister is the person to consult if you think you’re hearing Mister Mister on the radio and/or stereo, but I’m still somewhat lost as to whether these are real lyrics or mostly filler around the longing for the girl he’s watching dance? Unless your band is called Tool, the song shouldn’t be this much work to comprehend.
3. “Alejandro” by Lady GaGa – So, from this one all I’m getting is that Lady GaGa is a huge ho-bag and her boyfriend’s like a dad (just like a dad). The song begins with some spoken lyrics about knowing that “we are young and that he loves me” but that “I just can’t be with you like this anymore…Alejandro” all spoken with a faux-European accent that serves more as mockery than homage. What follows is a mix between an Ace of Bass rip-off and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach”, all directed at these supposed Latin lovers whose names all end in “o”. So I guess Pablo, Angelo and Constantino are all next…yet the song will still be called “Alejandro”.
2. “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha – So, tell me, what the fuck does it mean to wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy? Is there a Sean P. Diddy Combs manual for waking up and starting your day by brushing your teeth with Jack Daniels? Didn’t see it on Barnes & Noble’s “New Release” shelf. There’s more to clever lyrics than name dropping, both celebs and booze, like some semblance of an actual thought maybe? A metaphor or two in order to demonstrate the depth of you as an artist? We know she’s busy “occasionally” coking it up, just like our #3 artist, so I’m sure none of this makes any sense to her, the way her lyrics make no sense to us.
1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana – I know we all know the words, but I still defy anyone to tell us what the words have to do with what the song is supposed to be about. I think this is the first song that I would say the video is a required part of the experience. I feel like the video captured visually the type of feeling the song was meant to convey: the rebelliousness of youth clashing with the establishment. It’s an old message, but done here in such a new way, that the lyrics almost become unimportant. This is why “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was such a break-out hit.
Angela’s Top 5
5. “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden – “Call my name/through the cream/And I’ll Hear you scream again.” Listen, when this came out in 1994, I was 10. Between the song and the video, I was very confused and a little bit traumatized (I still refuse to watch the video for it.) No clue what the man is talking about…still don’t.
4. “Louie Louie” by Richard Berry – Because everyone still sort of mutters along under their breath and gives it their all on the one part we CAN understand.
3. “A Milli” by Lil Wayne – Hey hi…umm…what? Since Lil Wayne doesn’t pre-write any of his material, I’ve noticed it often lacks cohesion and direction. This one just stuck out for me.
2. “Song 2” by Blur – Remember when all we knew was “Woohoo!!” and the rest was kind of unintelligible? Yeah, well even when you get around to deciphering the lyrics they still don’t make sense. Allow me to illustrate, “I got my head checked/by a jumbo jet” only to be followed by, “when I feel heavy metal/woohoo!/And I’m pins and I’m needles”. No clue, but once I learned them I sang them faithfully…not having the slightest idea wtf I was singing along to.
1. “Informer” by Snow – Come the fuck on, how did no one else make this their number 1? To this day it remains one of those songs that its like ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS HE SAYING?!’ Maybe it makes sense when ya slow it down…but I couldn’t tell you. I still don’t know. It’s something about a snitch or something in the hood. Fuck if I know. Either way, this kid wins for most difficult song to understand.