Thursday, December 01, 2005
Sing What You Want
“Blinded by the light. Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night.”
“Everyone knows that the word isn’t douche. The word is deuce,” my friend corrected.
Let me get something straight. I will never sing that lyric with the word deuce. First off, it isn’t nearly as fun to sing. Secondly, deuce makes no more sense than douche. How exactly does something get wrapped up like a deuce? Anyone out there who can define deuce as it pertains to this tune wins a drink on me.
There are so many songs out there that have indecipherable lyrics. Sometimes the problem is simply not being able to understand the words as they’re drawn out across three notes and butting up against a piano, guitar and drum set.
Leslie and I grew up on the disco tunes of the Bee Gees. Our parents even took disco lessons, though that experience backfired. My dad complimented a woman from our synagogue on her husband’s moves and she had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out the guy was doing a little dance and making a little love with another woman.
The Bee Gees have been singing soprano for decades now. But it wasn’t until a year ago that I learned the correct lyrics to one of my favorite songs. Leslie and I were singing along and suddenly we were singing different words to the same refrain. I paused and suddenly realized that she had it right and I had it way wrong. Unlike the douche song, adjusting the words just a little bit to Love You Inside and Out took a confusing sentence and made it not only coherent but borderline romantic.
The one songwriter who makes beautiful music that I never ever can understand, either while playing it aloud or while reading the actual lyric booklet, is Tori Amos. I’ve always thought that girl was an odd bird. I’m just too unsettled watching her glare into the camera as she writhes across the piano bench while practically sucking on the microphone. Nonetheless, I will never turn off A Sorta Fairytale. Same goes for Taxi Ride andSleeps with Butterflies. I listen to those songs and for once in my life can relate to those people in the world who are moved by opera. I can’t understand a friggin word but I’m still paralyzed by the delicate sounds brushing past my ears.
Whether it’s Tori Amos up on the 101, Maurice Gibb staying alive or Manfred Mann being blinded by the light, I’m singing along. In my car. Loudly. Even with the windows down and sunroof open. And I’m sticking to the lyrics that work best, according to me.