Next week's rundown of my top 10 singles and albums of 2010 (why do it before the year ends?) will confirm what a great year this has been for music. From Robyn's rat-a-tat pop attack on the nation's hearts and dancefloors, to Gil Scott Heron's thoughtful, composed reflections on heritage and death, there's been a lot to celebrate.
Lyrically, though, it's been a rough 12 months. We don't need pop music to win Pulitzer Prizes, or even aspire to being educational, but it would be nice if people could adhere to the basic rules of English. And so I present to you the Discopop Directory year in crap lyrics. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride (unless you're not in a car, in which case just don't make any sudden movements. You might knock over that coffee mug).WORST GRAMMAR: Take That - The Flood
"There was more of them than us / now they'll never dance again
Oh, Gary. "Was
" is the singular variant of the past participle of the verb "to be
". You must know that the correct word in this context was "were
"? The clue is in the fact that there was more than one person not dancing again (a line I'm pretty sure you've stolen from George Michael without really understanding what it meant).
THE PERSISTENT SEX PEST AWARD: Taio Cruz ft Ke$ha - Dirty Picture
"Take a dirty picture for me / Take a dirty picture / Just take a dirty picture for me / Take a dirty picture
Dear Taio Cruz, if she still hasn't sent you a picture by now, it's probably safe to assume she's not interested.
WORST INTERNAL LOGIC: JLS - Love You More
"On day four and five and six I don’t know what you did.
"Day five you spent it with me
I suppose the only way these two lines could make sense is if the girl had been seeing all four members of JLS separately, without any of them ever finding out, even after they'd recorded the song. Which makes them a very special kind of stupid.
MOST GIBBERISH IN AN ALBUM HAILED AS A CRITICAL MASTERPIECE: The National - High Violet
"It's a terrible love and I'm walking with spiders."
"I was afraid I'd eat your brains / cos I am evil"
This is perhaps a little unfair - as The National's Matt Berninger does provide one of the year's best topical choruses in Bloodbuzz Ohio: "I still owe money/ To the money/ To the money I owe
". But High Violet contains too many other examples of a lyricist striving for twisted, gothic melodrama and coming up with schoolboy ghost story nonsense. My favourite is probably: "I defend my family with my orange umbrella
". This is what the NME considers to be "a goldmine of pithy insight".
THE TRUTH SERUM AWARD: Sugababes - Wear My Kiss
"I'm just a pretty little thing that'll make you wanna sing
AKA The "beautiful robots standing alone prize", this is the moment when The Sugababes finally shed the last veneer of credibility and admitted that they were mere pop puppets, gyrating mirthlessly for your pleasure. A sad end.
THE PROFESSOR BRIAN COX AWARD FOR MIS-UNDERSTANDING THE PROPERTIES OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM: Katy Perry - Firework
"Boom, boom, boom / Even brighter than the moon, moon moon
The moon is a solid lump of rock, weighing an impressive 7.3477 × 1022
kg. It is not a source of light, merely reflecting rays from the sun. So it can't be bright. That's why there's an eclipse when it passes between the earth and the sun. Like, duh.
THE 'I'M A TOTAL STUD, ME' AWARD FOR LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS: Professor Green - Need You Tonight
"It's just a song, in real life this would never happen to me / I am a pimp. Women chase me, I do not chase women!"
The conceit of Need You Tonight - man pines after girl who treats him like dirt - is the one saving grace of a record that rhymes "stereotypical man
" with "stereotypical man
". But Pro Green wastes all the sympathy we may have had for him with the clumsy, delusional pay-off.
Over on the BBC's peerless ChartBlog, Fraser McAlpine imagined
how the rap continued after the fade out: "...and not just ugly women either! Really hot women! Like I can go into a club, right, and all the hot women will be all over me and all the munters and the boyfriends will all disappear suddenly like magic. It's amazing, I've even seen CCTV footage of it happening..."
LAMEST ATTEMPT AT COURTING CONTROVERSY: Enrique Iglesias - Tonight (I'm Fucking You)
"You know my motivation, given my reputation / Please excuse me, I don't mean to be rude / But tonight I'm fucking you
Taking what Cee-Lo did with the tongue-in-cheek profanities of F**k You and using it for evil. A foetus would consider this song immature.
THE 'OH PLEASE JUST FUCK OFF' AWARD: Travie McCoy - Billionaire
"I’d probably pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt / And adopt a bunch of babies that ain’t never had shit."
This song could have been cheerful and optimistic. A dreamer's anthem for the times your paycheque doesn't quite stretch to the end of the month. But Travie trips up on his own guilty conscience and tries to justify why he, as a wealthy man, dreams of earning more. So he promises to sort out the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, end the recession and adopt some needy babies. It's so insanely crass and irksome, it makes me splutter with indignation. And don't even get me started on the fact that he changed his name from Travis to Travie...
WORST ATTEMPT TO CROW-BAR THE WORD 'SARCOPHAGUS' INTO A SONG: Kanye West - Monster
"Have you ever had sex with a Pharoah? / I put the pussy in a sarcophagus / now she claiming I bruised her oesophagus
Do I need to say any more on this one? Actually, yes, because a few of you got in touch to protest. First up, I concede it's a great rhyme. But it feels like Kanye has accepted a dare, like when we used to dare classmates to use words like 'plinth' or 'bumhole' in an exam paper. And that's why it earns its place in the list... If you've got any more suggestions, stick 'em in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you.
Labels: discopop, lyrics, Music