Sunday, 10 April 2011

What Are You Singing?

Have you ever heard a catchy song on the radio that you loved so much it became your personal anthem? You couldn’t get enough of that song. You simply had to sing along every time it played on the radio — it lifted you so high. But then that thing happens. Like when people learnt the world is not flat and that the Earth is not the centre of the universe.
Sometimes you listen to a song and no matter how many times you’ve heard it, the singer’s voice is so heavily accented, indistinct or simply overpowered by all the other instruments that the words we hear are so completely different from the lyrical content.
When this sort of thing happens it can be funny, annoying or in my case downright embarrassing.
I remember when Kylie Minogue covered Locomotion (originally performed by Little Eva) and it was something of a hit here in Australia. One day I was at the public swimming pool, sitting on the ground in a circle of peers. Someone began singing Locomotion and the rest of us joined in. When it came to the line ‘you gotta swing your hips, now’, I committed a faux pas — I sang [gasp] ‘you gotta swing your tits, now’. In my defence let me just point out that I was a child and I really did believe that this was what was being sung. After all I had been singing this for many a week when I was home alone. But my innocent slip was not seen that way. Everyone paused in mid song, turned and stared at me. One girl screwed up her nose and declared ‘that’s disgusting’. All the blood in my body rushed to my face and I turned into a tomato.
I am not sure though that any lesson was learnt that day, except that I had knack for embarrassing myself.
Years down the track Gwen Stefani, one of my favourite artists, came out with What You Waiting For? I loved, loved, loved this song, it got into my head and pumped through my heart. I listened and sang along to it almost all the time. But then… Oops, I did it again! Can you guess what happened? When Gwen sang the line ‘They’re waiting for your next track’, I was right back at her with ‘They’re waiting for your heart attack’.
At this point I’m thinking, I should probably check lyrics of my favourite songs online before howling, off key, what I believe to be the song at the top of my lungs when driving down the highway.
I thought I’d share other wonderful examples of when we got the song line so completely wrong:
  • Smoke on the Water [Deep Purple] — Slow talking Walter
  • Our Lips are sealed [The Go Gos] — Alex the Seal
  • Boys Light Up [Australian Crawl] — Balls Up
  • Tiny Dancer [Elton John] — Hold me close Tony Danza