In a world where half of our vocalists grumble like the cookie monster and others whine and wail, enunciation is certainly no priority, which results in endless nonsensical interpretations of lyrics. Today, the AP editorial staff share some of our favorites mondegreens.
[RC] Rachel Campbell
[SH] Scott Heisel
[BK] Brian Kraus
[BJM] Bridjet Mendyuk
[BM] Brittany Moseley
[CW] Cassie Whitt
THE ACADEMY IS… - "LAX TO OHARE"
MISHEARD: Wear a pageant dress as I reflect on what I else I could give you/Maybe I should blindly throw my friends into the next thing that comes my way
REAL LYRIC: Well to patch and dress as I reflect on what else I could give you/Maybe I should blindly throw my faith into the next thing that comes my way
If you didn’t just envision vocalist William Beckett sitting in a corner in a poofy, pastel pageant dress while deep in thought, then there must be something wrong with your imagination. Although, blindly throwing his friends into the next thing that comes his way may have resulted from them picturing him wearing girls’ clothing, so maybe it’s best to leave that one alone. [RC]
BRING ME THE HORIZON - "SHADOW MOSES"
The inspiration for this list features Oli Sykes & Co. howling what sure as hell sounds like, "THIS IS SANDPIT TURTLE!" A quick factcheck tells us he's actually saying, "This is sempiternal," which makes more sense given that it's the title of BMTH's new album and all, but c'mon: Who wouldn't want a sandpit turtle? [SH]
COMEBACK KID – “BROADCASTING”
It's easy to mistake lyrics in hardcore when you can't even make them out in the first place. Without a Rosetta Stone of liner notes at hand, sometimes you're just plain screwed. Comeback Kid's "Broadcasting" made for a YouTube fiesta of parodies full of zany subtitles and images. Problem is, we're starting to believe that lines like "I know this bitch/She's in our house," "Just spooning some math text," "Tobias!," "Regina!" and "Podcasting" were in there the whole time. [BK]
FALL OUT BOY - “MY SONGS KNOW WHAT YOU DID IN THE DARK (LIGHT ’EM UP)”
Thank goodness for our fearless web editor, Cassie Whitt, or I might have spent all summer singing a line in this song wrong. I know what you’re thinking: This is Fall Out Boy. They’re known for their biting and very-easy-to-understand lyrics. Yet somehow whenever Patrick Stump clearly sings, “Burn everything you love, then burn the ashes,” all I hear is “burn the asses.” After singing it in her office (and once she finished laughing), Cassie corrected me. I still prefer “burn the asses.” Not literally, because that sounds pretty painful. But lyrically? Always makes me laugh. [BM]
GREELEY ESTATES – “Y’ALL WITH THE VAMPIRE SQUAD?”
This song is so utterly indecipherable that there are several misheard lyric parody videos on YouTube. From the intro “PRETZEL!/LIME!” to “Frap-Laa” and “Yayaya rabble-ba-la,” Greeley fans had a field day making up sound-alike words for this song. Even the band saw the humor in the videos and featured the above interpretation on their website for a while. After seven years, the absurdity still makes me laugh aloud. I wish vocalist Ryan Zimmerman were really aggro-screaming “I GOT SNACK PACK!” during the breakdown, but alas… [CW]
NEW POLITICS – “HARLEM”
The first time I heard this song by (one of our 100 bands you need to know this year, no less) on the radio, I was in my car, innocently singing along when the chorus kicked in and I almost ran off the road. “Shake it like a black girl up in Harlem?” Several thoughts immediately went through my head: “How could they say that? I know they’re from Denmark, but don’t they know that’s not okay? How come Slate/Salon/Jezebel haven’t written a 1,000-word opinion piece on this song? And why can’t I stop singing along?” After talking myself off the ledge, I realized there was no way they were actually saying “black girl.” A quick Google search for the lyrics confirmed it. Turns out they’re saying “bad girl.” I can only imagine the first time the label execs at RCA heard the song. “Hey we think this is great, but be sure to really annunciate ‘bad.’” Potential racial shit storm averted. [BM]
PEARL JAM - "ARMY RESERVE"
As if anyone can understand what Eddie Vedder is saying in any Pearl Jam song (except Eddie Vedder), this song might take the cake. While Pearl Jam are one of the best chin bands out there (stick your chin out and sing, you'll get it), they will never have a No. 1 karaoke hit until someone can decipher the voice of the Vedder. About a minute through “Army Reserve” it sounds like he's saying: "Lords like lightning/Am I Charizard." As a kid, this was the coolest Pokemon reference ever. Unfortunately, the real lyrics are: "Lords like lightning, in my child's eyes." Major bummer, but now you know a Pearl Jam lyric, which is more than most people can say. Also, for all you diehard PJ fans, there's always a future in comedy for Eddie Vedder impersonators. [BJM]
REFUSED - "NEW NOISE"
Okay, so there's no question this is one of the best songs of all time, even if it's partially responsible for inspiring a lot of awful nü-metal bands. But while the song is a crushing example of how good hardcore can be when it actually tries, frontman Dennis Lyxzén's Swedish accent clutters up a bit of his words. The most egregious offense is the song's thrashing conclusion, where it—at least to me—sounds like he's screaming, "THANK YOU, PETE! THANK YOU, PETE!" over and over, before finally concluding his spastic yells with a simple, spoken, "Thank you." (It was legitimately years before I knew he was actually saying, "The new beat.") [SH]
TAKING BACK SUNDAY – “GHOST MAN ON THIRD”
At a show I recently attended, vocalist Adam Lazzara said that during the chorus of this song, he does his “best Daryl Palumbo impression.” In the sense that he’s wailing and I can’t understand a word of it, that makes total sense. In fact, I couldn’t understand so many of the words that I used to just fill them all in with nonsense to amuse myself. After I finally looked up the lyrics (fans of TBS know that their CD booklets hold roughly 60 percent actual lyrics and a lot of… extras), this became one of my favorite TBS songs because of its lyrics, but before then, it was all: “It’s so typiiicaaaaaalll/Dyslexia” (0:59), “Dooon’t lick me, dog” (2:56), “[Random monkey sounds]” (3:15) and “This is what lemon like this does!” (3:35) [CW]