Thursday, May 30, 2013

More Ammo for My Future "Back In MY Day" Rants

I switched radio stations while driving yesterday, and came across the song "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors. Rather than continuing my search for better music, I listened, flooded with fuzzy memories of high school and my old bedroom, the pink cave where I listened to song after song after song.  And I was struck by an odd thought. Here's the excrutiating, rambling train that led to it:

I've always been a "lyrics matter" person, so to speak - I like to KNOW what the singers are singing, and the lyrics can make or break a song, no matter how catchy it is.  Back in high school, we were limited to learning lyrics from the inserts that accompanied the CDs we bought. In fact, I clearly remember poring over the C&C Music Factory booklet with my friend Natalie, determined to learn every last word to "Things that make you go Hmm."

I think I'm making my taste in music sound pretty lame here. 

Telling you that I was (and honestly, still am) a hardcore Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco fan probably doesn't help, does it?

Anyway, back to the lyrics, and the Spin Doctors. I sang along in my car yesterday, and realized I was singing the same lyrics I sang twenty years ago, the ones I had to make up because I couldn't understand the singers, and because I never bought the CD so I didn't have access to the REAL lyrics (see, don't you feel better now? I didn't LOVE the Spin Doctors, I just liked the one song. To buy a CD, waaaaaaaaaaaay back then, you had to be all in. None of this "I'll just buy the one song" that iTunes has afforded us now).

Did you know that "But all I want a prince a never heart to be" is NOT part of the song's chorus? Nope. But "But I know what a prince and lover ought to be" is. Google told me this, when I checked today. Twenty years later, and the mystery is solved.

Back when the song was new and popular (and ancient civilizations now gone flourished), we didn't have Google. The internet was JUST getting started. Some of us did have creaky, stupidly slow Prodigy accounts (one account for the whole family!). I don't even remember what we did with them. There were only a couple hundred of websites, compared to the couple hundred MILLION there are now. It was nothing like the "instaneous search for EVERYTHING" that it is available now. There really was no internet. So incorrect song lyrics? Yeah, that happened, a lot.

So here's my odd/random thought - our kids will never have to wonder about and puzzle out song lyrics. They will never have to just... live with the mystery. They will always be able to look it up. Right that second.

I hope this access to immediate information doesn't take away the joy of finding out you or someone you're with has been singing a song wrong. To never laugh with a friend because he sang about swimming "in a deep sea of bacon" instead of a "deep sea of blankets" (sorry for the John Mayer reference) would be sad, sad thing.


  1. Have you seen the HIMYM episode on this topic? Awesome! The entire episode is about how smartphones have changed the way people discuss things. Anyway here is the episode, the first minute is exactly how I envision I will have to try to explain things to the boys:

  2. I hope they grow up with a little bit of not needing to know all the correct lyrics... I'm hopeful they'll still have the chance to laugh at themselves and their friends made up versions. Great post!

  3. Thanks, Sarah! I didn't know you had a blog, too - I'll have to check in on it once you guys are in Tennessee!

    Laura, I've seen almost every HIMYM episode (including that one), but forgot about that bit - so funny and TRUE!

  4. Ah, if only we had known each other back in high school. I had the Spin Doctors' CD. Could have let you borrow the insert ;)