An interesting video on misheard lyrics:

I remember the days before the Internet when you couldn’t just look lyrics up. One of the advantages to buying a CD was when you got the lyrics in the sleeve. I also remember the disappointment of buying a CD only to discover that there were no lyrics in the sleeve.

A result of that is that wrong lyrics would become etched into your brain, to the point that hearing the right lyrics makes it wrong. Indeed, sometimes I prefer the wrong lyric. When They Might Be Giants sang “Everybody dies twisted inside and that is beautiful” I thought that was a great line. Everybody dying “frustrated and sad” is… okay. I guess.

Explaining pre-Internet existence to Lain is going to be really, really difficult.

Category: Theater

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7 Responses to Gia Punkarelli Never Took Advice

  1. Chris says:

    Potato wave!

    This sort of thing is common when words are sung, because we tend to stretch or contract words, pronounce them oddly so they fit with the rhythm or rhyme scheme, etc., but it’s also pretty common in speech. Anytime you hear someone saying something and don’t quite catch the word, your brain is going to take the bits and pieces you did get — some phonemes, some grammatical context, perhaps some semantic context — and try to come up with some, er, educated guesses. There are pretty good models of how this works, too, but it’s still odd and at times disconcerting when it happens.

    Since I’m around people who have accents different (in some cases very different) from the ones with which I grew up, it’s not uncommon for me to mishear multiple words over the course of a conversation. It can make me feel like a bit of an idiot at times, too.


  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

    I always thought Jimi Hendrix was just bi-sexual.

  3. Michael Cain says:

    And some of it’s just poor enunciation. If you’re singing, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” has a bunch of tough consonant sounds in bad places. What Fogerty sings on the original recording is closer to “There’s a bathroom on the right” than it is to the actual line.

  4. David Alexander says:

    Explaining pre-Internet existence to Lain is going to be really, really difficult.

    FWIW, it’s already hard to explain to my nephew who will turn twenty in two months. He’s grown up in a world of on demand internet, so dial-up is a faint memory for him, and late 1990s cellphone tech was something he best described as a device that presumed was a house phone.

    Indeed, sometimes I prefer the wrong lyric.

    As somebody who never figures out the right lyrics, the wrong lyrics will always make more sense. Mind you, I tend not to listen for the lyrics per se, and more for the value that the human voice adds as an instrument to the song. I grew up listening to music in French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish, so I never understood the lyrics, and but the voices just helped to go with the rhythm and flow of the songs.

    • trumwill says:

      Man. It’s weird being old.

      • You bet. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I was younger (mid 1990s), “paper” was much more important. It was much more important than it is now to have that physical copy of a bank statement, or that signed agreement, or that cancelled check, or a copy of that IRS tax form/schedule. Now, those things are not always as important. Bank statements can be stored or at least reliably ordered up, cancelled checks can in theory be viewed electronically, some agreements are “signed” electronically, and if you need an IRS form, you can just go to the and print it up.

        This isn’t some new millennium. All those things can go wrong where it can be helpful to have a physical copy of something. But it’s less urgent to have it than it was before.

        Of course, it was probably already less urgent ca. 1996 than it had been ca. 1986, or 1956.

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