Lyric sites on the internet are killing me. They all suck. They all have what are clearly half-assed lyric interpretations that one jackass has typed in. And logic, apparently, has little to do with it.

Case in point: Joe Strummer and the Mescalero’s “Rockin’ World”. Not super-mainstream, fine, but none of the lyrics people post make since. For instance, we have these two gems:

“On the sidewalk’s earth
A boy is tryin’ to show a girl what he is worth
Poke on the cashflow, but he’s still gonna
Go right up and ask her.”

and

“On the sidewalk’s earth
A boy is tryin’ to show a girl what he is worth
Poke on the plaster, but he’s still gonna
Go right up and ask her.”

Okay, neither one of these lyrics make any sense whatsoever. Careful listening gives me this interpretation, which actually makes sense:

“Oh, a sidewalk surf,
A boy is trying to show a girl what he is worth.
Both arms in plaster, but he’s still gonna
Go right up and ask her.”

Did I mention that this verse is accompanied by skateboard sounds? Yeah, that actually makes sense.

The White Stripes’ “Effect and Cause” is plagued by bad lyric interpretations, shockingly because he sings clearly and is easy to understand. We get,

“And if there’s one of these
On the order for laws,
It’s that you just can’t take the effect and make it the cause.”

Or even worse,

“And if there’s one of these
On her auto applause,
It’s that you just can’t take…”

WTF is auto applause? It’s very clearly

“And if there’s one of these
Unavoidable laws,
It’s that you just can’t…”

or “When you people robbin’ Peter don’t you blame Paul” instead of “Blame me for robbing Peter, don’t you blame Paul.”

Another from the brutally mis-heard “Rockin’ World”:

“Well we go, back to base
Can’t make no error in tale of this place
But home we’re returnin’ back to base, ase

Can only notify when, love comes to phase
Doesn’t sell the bite when the – in the initial phase
Let’s all go to fight in the – DNA stage”

This is a mess of words that makes no sense at all. But try this one that I’ve pieced together, though I still think it isn’t quite right and would never post it to a site as the correct lyrics:

“Well crawl back to base,
Can’t make no head or tail of this place.
But at home we’re returning back to basics.

Can we be notified when love comes of age?
Does a cell divide in the, in the initial phase?
It’s all codified at the DNA stage.”

I’d not post it because I’m not 100% sure it’s not “base, ace”, and I’m pretty sure it’s “codified”, but it could be “coded by”. But regardless, these changes still make sense. The first set of lyrics I just posted is just pure crazytalk.

Back in the early days of Telnet, there were some killer lyrics servers. People were super-anal about them, really wanted to make sure that the lyrics were correct. I recall endless debates over the lyrics of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” until they released the Shine On box set which printed them, finally confirming the several differing interpretations that were popular. There was some responsibility. Now people post the “official” lyrics which are often half-wrong, totally illogical, and mostly seem interested in linking you to a ringtone based on that song. Frickin’ shame.

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