Idlewhile

What is the extent to which we ascribe profundity to a songwriter’s lyric when, in actuality, all s/he was doing at the time of composition was (a) avoiding a cheap rhyme or (b) acknowledging an inside joke? (In the case of a band/performer we don’t like, the reaction to the phrase in question is a variant on the word “stupid.”)

Isn’t this situation analogous to the way that people with “proper” British accents sound intelligent to American ear or, in the case of those of us who are male, southern accents from the mouths of co-ed aged women sound sexy, even though in the first case, the Brit could be as dumb as a post and in the latter, the young woman could be as physically attractive as one?

5 thoughts on “Idlewhile”

  1. Any examples of the phenominon you’re referring to? What is a lyric that you think is profound that you’re now guessing might just be a fluke?

  2. I have a weird thing for ANYONE with a Scottish accent. I walk around the house all day and pretend that I am Ewan McGregor. It’s loads of fun and chicks seem to dig it.

  3. How about “the movement you need is on your shoulder…” Paul McCartney claims that was a throwaway lyric that John Lennon convinced him to keep.

  4. Actually, I have been listening to some Jefferson Airplane, something that I haven’t done in years. And it strikes me that songs like “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” which presumably isn’t about a blow-up jerk-off doll, is the sort of thing that once caused knowing nodding of heads as in, “Yes, those girls, all made up, really are so superficial, not at all genuine.”

    Perhaps, though, plastic/fantastic are just the cheap rhymes that I was referring to.

    But I am just wondering about the whole notion of lyrics having a far bigger effect than they really might deserve.

    Anyone else wonder about this?

  5. What about idiots like me just thinking the lyrics say one thing when they say another. Yeah, I could tell that Jimi WASN’T singing “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” but I’ve butchered them nearly as badly.

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