Bad Song Lyrics

Bad song lyrics can pretty much be lumped into four categories:

There’s…

Idiotic

It was an itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
So in the locker she wanted to stay

Offensive

You’ve been coolin’, baby, I’ve been droolin’,
All the good times I’ve been misusin’,
Way, way down inside, I’m gonna give you my love,
I’m gonna give you every inch of my love,
Gonna give you my love

Embarrassing

Oh, I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
when I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo
and showed them what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings
and I’ve seen some things that a woman ain’t s’pose to see
I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me…

And finally, there’s

Pathetic

See the difference? My problem with Beyoncé is the pathetic-ness of her lyrics, not the offensiveness.
Generally speaking, lyrics that are offensive are the most likely to be commented on by critics like me , and yes, as that tiresome platitude reminds us, “every generation has songs that offend the previous generation”, blah, blah , blah. But really now, can we never draw the line, anywhere?
Suppose a song were to come along that extolled the virtues of child-molesting, set to a delightfully infectious melody, what then? Will we be “allowed” to be offended? Or will critics be scolded as “old-fashioned fuddy-duddies”? Sound impossible? Not in a world with absolutely no standards whatsoever.
The lovely "Charlene" sang one of the most embarrassing songs in history, "I've Never Been To Me".

The lovely “Charlene” sang one of the most embarrassing songs in history, “I’ve Never Been To Me”.

8 thoughts on “Bad Song Lyrics

    • Anon:
      It is taking every ounce of my reserve to NOT call you a douche-bag, but dammit, I won’t do it, I won’t sink to that level.
      Listen, bub, I don’t give a gosh-darned rat’s rear-end whether Janet Jackson shows her @&%#-ing areolae at the stupid Super Bowl Half Time show or anywhere else. Don’t care, not offended, impossible for me to care less. What we’re talking about here is whether or not a singer should sing a song about how famous and wonderful she is. The answer to that question is a clear “NO”.

  1. Gideon you can call me a D-bag anytime 🙂 I do not think you will find any disagreement from me or any other of your readers about the value of Beyonce’s contribution to the music world. Think about it, she makes about $50MM a year for herself, so the value of the Beyonce Inc. brand in terms of music sales, ticket sales, branding and merchandising is the hundreds of millions of dollars a year range. She is managed by some of the shrewdest and smartest people in the entertainment industry whose collective goal is to make them and her more money. Nothing she does or says or sings is not planned meticulously. The hip hop genre is about creating theatrical personas, characters, dramas, East Coast vs. West Coast, you name it. I very much doubt she writes any lyrics or music herself, but I suspect her management team and producers decide what is “best” for her image and fan base. Controversy can sell music, there are very few high grossing artists like Taylor Swift who have the talent to do their own thing. And there is the parallel with the indignation of prior generations, get the old folks riled up, sell to the younger generation. Having Jay Z as a husband probably doesn’t hurt that endeavor. He began life as a drug dealer but he has been proven to be an adept entrepreneur, I am sure they do not take themselves or their lyrics seriously in the privacy of their Gulfstream jet.

    • Anon:
      No, I have REFUSED to call you a d-bag, by golly! But seriously, all that you say about the corporate entity known as “Beyoncè” is no-doubt true, but from a critic’s point of view, it doesn’t matter; if McDonald’s, or Apple, or you-name-it, ran, for instance, a stupid advertisement, I’d make fun of that, too. Beyoncè is fair game. Meanwhile, SHE flies around in a Gulfstream and I don’t…sigh.

  2. What’s lost on most people today is in earlier times a song could be bawdy without being offensive. A good example is the the Cole Porter song “The Leader of Big Time Band,” which celebrates the newly exalted status of big band directors among the women folk.

    (I was going to post only a snippet of the lyric but it’s so good I decided to give you whole thing, verse and refrains.)

    THE LEADER OF A BIG-TIME BAND (Something for the Boys, 1943)

    If a girl in any sector
    Makes you feel like a puppy called Hector,
    And you’re longing to subject ‘er,
    To elect ‘er your wife and protect ‘er,
    If she’s just as sweet as nectar,
    But of your job she’s no respecter,
    Become a top band director
    And you never, never will miss.

    In the old days, when a maid desired to wed,
    Any man who’d foot the bill could fill the bed,
    But today the lad who’s sure to win her hand
    Is the leader of a big-time band.
    Even gals who go for wrestlers quit ’em quick
    When they meet some guy who sings and swings a stick,
    For of late the only date they long to land
    Is the leader of a big-time band.
    When they hear Harry James
    Make with the lips,
    The most Colonial dames
    Fracture their hips,
    So if thee would like to be in great demand,
    Be the leader of a big-time band.

    In the gilded age, a Wall Street millionaire
    Was the answer to a working maiden’s prayer,
    But today she’d chuck that yearly fifty grand
    For the leader of a big-time band.
    In the days when Casanova was the tops
    All his rivals with the femmes were famous flops,
    But today who’s got that extra monkey gland?
    Why, the leader of a big-time band.
    When Goodman, champ of champs,
    Goes blowin’ blue,
    Rum-ridden debutramps
    Nearly come to.
    ‘Cause there’s nothing, when you’re out, like being fanned
    By the leader of a big-time band.

    In the days when old King Louie held the scene,
    Any Jock who had the Jack could play the Queen,
    But today who’d come and play that baby grand?
    Why, the leader of a big-time band.
    When, in Venice, Georgia Sand with Chopin romped,
    Her libido had the Lido simply swamped,
    But today who would be buried in the Sand?
    Why, the leader of a big-time band.
    When Dorsey starts to tilt
    That horn about,
    Dear Missus Vanderbilt
    Bumps herself out,
    So, if, say, you still can play a one-night stand,
    Be the leader of a big-time band.

    When in Reno ladies we know used to clown,
    All the chaps who wore the chaps could wear ’em down,
    But today the only rider they demand
    Is the leader of a big-time band.
    When Salome got John the B. and by the head,
    It appears he wasn’t kosher in da bed.
    But todoy who’d be the goy she’d loyke to land?
    Why, the leader of a big-time band.
    When Cugat comes to tea
    With Gypsy Rose,
    She gets so het up she
    Puts on her clothes,
    And she only turns one cheek while being scanned
    By the leader of a big-time band,
    By the leader of a band,
    By the leader of a big-time band.

    Plenty of off-color references in there but they’re so clever and witty no one in those more straitlaced times could complain. These days, of course, the vast majority of entertainment consumers would be utterly clueless to the cultural and historical references in that lyric and wouldn’t get it all. The staggeringly crude Beyoncé is, alas, merely a product of our times.

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