A new song! Or maybe it’s my gro­cery list

Hey, I’m hip (or think I am) but lyrics from some of to­day’s songs leave a lot to be de­sired

The Hamilton Spectator - - COMMENT - Paul Benedetti lives in Hamil­ton and likes song lyrics that use ac­tual words. PAUL BENEDETTI

I was in the car the other day lis­ten­ing to a pop music ra­dio sta­tion. I say this with­out em­bar­rass­ment. I do this when I’ve had enough Trump news or when the best thing on CBC is a full­hour on what ex­act fun­gus is killing your rub­ber plant and how to fix it. (I thought rub­ber plants were fun­gus.)

Usu­ally, I tune into a sta­tion called “Vir­gin Ra­dio” but judg­ing by the songs they play, I think they may want to re­think the name. This is the kind of ra­dio you grew up on. You know, they play the same 20 songs over and over again all day long and then they give money to lis­ten­ers who call in when they hear the “Song of the Day.” It’s pretty hard to lose since the “Song of the Day” is played about 400 times.

Any­way, a very pop­u­lar song came on by a Cana­dian artist I’ll call “The Week­day” to avoid a law­suit, or worse, a Twit­ter hate cam­paign.

The new song has a very catchy tune, but I couldn’t help but no­tice some­thing odd about the lyrics. The Week­day had de­cided, it seemed, that ac­tu­ally try­ing to make lyrics rhyme was just “too much work” so he sim­ply put “ah” at the end of ev­ery line. If you think I’m kidding, here’s a sam­ple of it: I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah Milli point two just to hurt you, ah All red Lamb’ just to tease you, ah None of these toys on lease too, ah Made your whole year in a week too, yah Main bitch out your league too, ah Side bitch out of your league too, ah

Now, you may say, that’s not true, there’s rhyming in the song and you would be right if you think that end­ing ev­ery line with “too” is poetry.

I don’t want to be grumpy (my wife tells me I’m do­ing a pretty good job of that at home) but I can’t be­lieve how bad some song lyrics are to­day. Not only are they pretty much im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand (I mean what ex­actly is the Week­day on about in the song any­way?) but they’re so lazy and so clunky, they make Barry Manilow sound like Shake­speare.

You can’t write a song by just jot­ting down what­ever you’re think­ing and slap­ping a drum beat on it. Or maybe you can. And this lat­est trick — adding the same word at the end of ev­ery line — is what I call the “Rocky Bal­boa School of Song­writ­ing.” Here is an ex­am­ple: Adrian, I love you, Yo! You’re nicer than my tur­tle, Yo! Wow, my head hurts, Yo! Let’s go out on a date, Yo! I for­got what I was say­ing, Yo!

Look, I get that rap and hip hop are a dif- fer­ent art form and don’t have to stick to old song­writ­ing rules — and I ac­tu­ally like some hip hop — but what about main­stream singers who write songs that have all the grace of a 3 a.m. phone call made af­ter the two-forone te­quila Night at Jack As­tor’s?

Take Adele, (please). Here’s a sam­ple of her song, “Hello”: Hello from the other side I must have called a thou­sand times To tell you I’m sorry for ev­ery­thing that I’ve done But when I call you never seem to be home Hello from the out­side At least I can say that I’ve tried

It’s hard to imag­ine the time and care it took to craft these lines. Like imag­in­ing zero.

I wrote a sim­i­lar song this morn­ing, while shav­ing: I think of you all the time Es­pe­cially when I’m vac­u­um­ing I think I left some­thing in the oven And some­one’s at the door I will try to call you later Right now, my phone is bro­ken

Some song lyrics are sim­ple and great. Think The Bea­tles. Some are com­pli­cated and won­der­ful. Think Cole Porter or Elvis Costello.

And some are just plain bad and sad. And they make me mad.

Ah, ah, ah.

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