A mondegreen is a mis-heard lyric. What is your favorite misheard lyric?
A boy, I got a good one. I recently bought the remastered box set of U2’s ‘Unforgettable Fire’. It is such an amazing album, and is mixed so poorly, I had great hopes. In the HUGE hit song ‘Pride in the name of Love’, in the first verse there is a sentence that goes ‘one comes here to justify’. I never knew that lyric until I got the box set last week. In the original CD, they only print the lyrics to one song, which is the first song.
Now, I was always pretty sure what I was hearing was incorrect, but listen to the song. Right now. Here, I will embed if for you. Now, go to that first verse. The exact moment is 57 seconds. I always heard ‘one man come, he a juicy fire’. Go ahead, sing that with that line. He a juicy fire. That isn’t the heart of this story. Not anymore. Don’t worry, this story gets WAY worse.
As with all things, I was discussing this with my pal Jamie. I asked him what he heard. This is no lie. He said “I always thought he was saying ‘one man come, he set Jews on fire…’. Wow. That is brilliant, and fucked up. Obviously, it’s not brilliant to set jews on fire. It’s brilliant that that is what Jamie thought all these years, and gleefully sang along. Kinda puts my ‘juicy fire’ into perspective, doesn’t it?
A spoonerism is a deliberate (or accidental ) error in speech or words. Do you have a favorite?
I found this to be too kitschy to interest me. So, how about another mondegreen. In ‘Every Breath you Take’ from the Police. There is a line that says ‘how my poor heart aches’. Makes sense. That is not what I heard, and I listened to this song thousands of times. This album was incredibly influential for me. Really, it changed my life more than any other album. I was such a fan of this record that my brother took me to see the Police live. It was on this tour, Synchronicity. It was their farewell tour, and they were firing on all cylinders. It was incredible. I knew that night that rock and roll was all I ever wanted. It’s what I wanted to do, to think about, to talk about, to be my job, to be my nights and weekends… all from that Police show. I was 10, I think.
FOCUS, man! What I heard was ‘how my pool hall aches’. Go ahead, watch. Its at the 50 second mark. Tell me he is not saying ‘how my pool hall aches’.
A malapropism is an incorrect word in place of another. Can you remember one used?
This one also does not interest me. It’s strange, I am a word guy. I am super passionate about words. I got a degree in literature, that is how much I love words. Yet, I am not inspired. I think it’s because I need to just get to bed.
So, how about this? The funniest mondegreen of all time comes from Dave Barry. There was a classic great soul song called ‘ain’t no woman like the one I got’ Makes sense. Touching, and sweet. What Dave Barry brings us is this – Ain’t no woman like the one eyed Gott’.
Lastly, no conversation about mondegreens can be complete without this. My favorite band, and someone trying to figure out just exactly what the hell Eddie is singing. In fact, there is not even an official studio version of this. The recording we all know was done on the fly at a radio station that Ed and Mike were visiting. Mike brought an acoustic and they knocked out two songs that day. Both were largely improvised on the spot. The other song was Bee Girl.
To be fair, this song never had official lyrics, and I am about 90% confident that he changes the words night to night a bit to fit his mood.
An earworm is a snippet of catchy tune that gets stuck in your head. Do you have a common one?
Btw, I… and I alone, have pioneered a way to fix them. It will sound dumb and obvious… but it works. Your mind needs closure when this is happening. To fix the earworm, you need to listen to the song in its entirety. I have had to actually reach over to my phone in the middle of the night and download a song online and listen to it with headphones while wifey is sleeping to get closure. It works.
The Tetris effect occurs when so much time and attention is devoted to an activity it affects other parts of your life. Do you do this?
Really? I disagree. For me, the tetris effect is all about organization. It could be packing the back of a moving van with everything you own. Every spot counts. It could be about time management… trying to fit in all the shit you need to fit into your day. My wife is the master of tetris in real life. Need stuff packed? You just sit back, keep your hands and feet away, and watch the art.