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What is that song really saying?

Have you ever listened to a song that you’ve heard a million times before, only to be struck suddenly by how odd/strange/disturbing the lyrics to the song actually are? This happened to me over the weekend when I was l enjoying the song “Save the Last Dance for Me” by the Drifters (which, coincidently you can find on the Best of 1960 and the overall Best of the 60s mix tapes). On the surface, it’s quite a compelling love song, but if you listen a little deeper, there’s a whole other point of view to the song that should be considered.

Since I’m not going to run afoul of the copyright law, take a couple of minutes now, and give it a listen.

Ok, got it? Here’s what I hear now when I listen to that song:

(A couple is riding the bus, the gentleman is talking to a rather lovely but pissed off looking girl. He’s using lingo that I can only assume that young people used in 1960.)

“Listen, girl, daddy is a little short of cash this week, so when we get to the party go ahead and hit up whoever you want for dinner and free drinks, okay? I’m going to meet a guy in the alleyway about a really solid business opportunity, but I’ll meet you at the back door in an hour and you can let me in so we don’t have to pay two cover charges. Try to pick me up some of those little hot dogs in a bun. In fact, see if you can dump a tray of them in your purse for later. Then we’ll leave at 10:30 so we have plenty of time to make the seven block walk back to the #3 bus. I sure hope it doesn’t rain”

Girl just shakes her head and stares blankly through the window.

While we’re at it, here’s a few more songs that change meaning if you just shift your point of view slightly…

Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett

An isolated, alcoholic, manic depressive is slowly drinking himself to death thanks to a string of failed relationships, if he doesn’t strangle himself getting out of his hammock in a drunken stupor or die from the tetanus he picked up stepping on rusted pop tops and getting back alley tattoos. He also has a habit eating dessert and shrimp for breakfast and of misplacing common household items, the latest being his salt shaker.

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Various

Alternate title: The Rohypnol Song

This song must have originally been written as a date-rape PSA, but it inexplicably gained favor as a Christmas song (and the video with the little kids only makes it that much more disturbing. Creepy.) I’m just guessing here, but I’m betting this is one of Bill Cosby’s favorites.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles

On second thought, this song is pretty straight forward disturbing. Boy takes girl on a date, boy kills girl with a big bloody silver hammer. Boy goes back to school, boy gets in trouble, boys stays after school and murders the teacher in cold blood with the same silver hammer. Boys actually looks to be a serial killer. Da-do-da-do-do…

Charming little ditty, no?

There’s tons of songs like this, really, but these four jumped into my head as being especially good examples. Which ones did I miss?



The best things I’ve heard in 2012

Hey, it’s music list time again. This is my annual “best things I’ve heard this year” list, which can be a song, concert, or an album. And it may be something that wasn’t released this year, but it is the first time I’ve heard it, given it a significant listen, or rediscovered it. (Take a look at the 2011 version here if you missed it.)
So here we go, in alpha order:

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

Just some good old fashion rock and roll. And does this woman have some pipes or what? Reminds me a bit of Heartless Bastards.

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

So yeah, this album isn’t as good as Merriweather Post Pavilion, but so what? Not one for a casual listen, takes some work to really enjoy but worth it.

Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man

Man, I love me some Natasha Khan. Keep making pop music this good, please.

Beatles – 180 gram vinyl reissues (Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Abbey Road)

Yes, it is a shame that these releases came from the digital masters. And yes, if they ever release the mono version of these three albums again I’ll likely buy those too. Don’t care though, I get to listen to Norwegian Wood on my turntable, and that is pretty much all I care about right now.

Bob Mould – Silver Age

Bob brings it harder at 52 than just about anybody else half his age. With this record and the Sugar reissues, Bob’s my artist of the year for 2012.

Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

Just love this record, plain and simple.

Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

A great record with some old school soul and R&B underneath.

Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits

“Supergroups” rarely work (Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, Sam Brown of New Bomb Trucks, and Alex Fischel are the closest thing indie has had to one this side of New Pornographers.) This one works very well, indeed.

Father John Misty – Fear Fun

Love this record. Father John is Joshua Tillman, former drummer for Fleet Foxes, and he’s one upped his former band with this one. And the consistently awesome and fetching Aubrey Plaza is amazing and hilarious in this video.

Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes

This is the chill record of the year. Betting that it gets a lot of airplay in Colorado from now on. (The short film promoting the record is deep, beautiful and incredibly sad.)

Grizzly Bear – Shields

Love the record. As for the video, somebody watched Black Swan a few too many times perhaps.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

The one word that consistently comes up when talking about this record is “shenanigans.” Probably my favorite of the year, just drop the needle and hang on for 38 minutes of blistering rock/punk goodness.

Passion Pit – Gossamer

Before you say anything, I know this song is now better known as TV commercial. Doesn’t change the fact that this is a pretty great pop record.

Radiohead – Tampa, Florida February 29, 2012

Best show I saw all year, and this was a personal highlight. The guitar coming in at 1:35 is pretty boss. Wrote about it here.

Roger Waters – Comfortably Numb, Orlando Florida June 16, 2012

Another one I wrote about extensively. My friend Nick was hoping against hope that this would happen:

Sugar – Remastered Vinyl Reissues (Copper Blue, Beaster EP, File Under: Easy Listening)

Oh, Bob, we were so much younger then, weren’t we? Sugar was the blueprint for every Foo Fighters Song every recorded.

Tame Impala – Lonerism

Tame Impala still bringing out the best of the 60s and giving it a modern twist. This was from just a couple of nights ago on Jules Holland.

The Walkmen – Heaven

If this is “dad rock,” then we dads are in good hands.

Jack White – Blunderbuss (side 2)

Listened to this record a lot when it came out, and am still enamored with side 2 a lot. And who else but Jack could pull off this song and this excellent all female country/blues band?

The xx – Coexist

Another great chill album. Put on the headphones and dim the lights.

Yeasayer – Fragrant World

This is an album I think I liked better than a lot of people. Add this the chill with headphones category and enjoy.

Well, there you go 21 of the best things I’ve heard this year. For those so inclined there will be a matching playlist on Spotify in the very near future. You can follow me there by clicking the Spotify banner on the right side of this page.

What did I miss? What’s on your list?