Great Song, Terrible Idea — Part I

At one point during what you might call a heated discussion, Ron said to me, “One of the main reasons you have a unique ability to regurgitate lyrics is because you’re one of the few people who listen to them in the first place.”  It was a point that I couldn’t argue with.

And one thing that happens when you listen to a lyric is that you actully listen to what a song says.  And it occurs to me that there are a lot of songs I love that give really, really dicey advice when you think about it.  Here’s the first in an occasional series.  (And please, feel free to add your choices in the comments below.)

Make Someone Happy — “Make someone happy and you will be happy, too.”  First of all, there are some people who will never be happy.  So if you’re making your happiness rely on them getting to happy you’re totally wasting your time.  And I can think of a number of occasions where I’ve given a lot of happiness to others and I’ve certainly received satisfaction — but happiness???

Marry the Man Today — “…and change his ways tomorrow.”  This seems like an instant road to divorce court. (BTW, great quote from a NYTimes article about a man taking a family trip to Disney — “…which prove again a useful principle for all couples: don’t try to change each other. Study and subvert each other. “)

Don’t Cry Out Loud — “…just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings.”  And then pay for years of therapy.

I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love — Does that mean you’d rather stay when it’s bad?

When In Rome I Do as the Romans Do — FYI, whenever I’m out of town I cheat.  As Dr. Phil might say, “How’s knowin’ that workin’ out for you?”


2 Responses to Great Song, Terrible Idea — Part I

  1. Jenny I. says:

    I sing “When In Rome” (as you know), and I love the lyrics! It’s not giving advice at all: it’s simply an upfront declaration of the way things are going to be. The other person in the relationship is free to do with that information what they will. I think it’s kind of awesome, especially when sung by a woman. 🙂

    I am often amazed at how many people in general don’t pay attention to lyrics, but it’s sad to realize how many *singers* don’t notice them. I don’t understand how anyone can sing a song without knowing what it’s about.

    One of my favorite “have you actually listened to those words?” examples is the song “It Had To Be You”: “Some others I’ve seen / might never be mean / might never be cross, or try to be boss / But they wouldn’t do.” Basically, she likes it when her man tells her what to do and has a bit of a temper! I have resisted performing that song so far because of those lyrics; I haven’t been able to find the right character to be in order to sing them. Yet.

  2. Dorie says:

    Great blog post, and I have to agree that the line from that article in the NY Times about relationships was spot on. “Don’t try to change each other. Study and subvert each other. “)

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