The Lyrically Challenged

I don't know the lyrics to half the songs that get stuck in my head and even when I do know them, I find myself singing them incorrectly.

While I am in fact cognizant that it is not "wrapped up like a douche" but "revved up like a deuce," I am still inclined to sing the former. This goes double for "I don't wanna work. I wanna bang honky girls all day." Again, I know that Mr. Rundgren was not composing an upbeat little ditty about vigorous intimate relations with young Caucausian females; but ever since a seventh grade friend confided the misheard lyric to me, I've preferred it to the real one. Banging honky girls? Fun! Banging on the drums? Booooo-ring.

But now with an infant, this whole wrong-lyric business has evolved into another beast entirely. I cannot belt out a single melody any more without perverting the lyrics into something twisted and horrible. It's like a disease. Weird Al Disease.

I place the blame squarely on my daughter and her developmentally-appropriate lack of verbal skills. When your kid can't yet talk back, the one-way dialogue can get tedious pretty quickly. So I do what I'm sure (I hope) other parents do--put my every thought to music. Mercilessly. Tunelessly. With no regard for rhyme, cadence, or syncopation. And certainly not for my own self-respect.
Real lyric: Psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est...fa fa fa faaaaa fa fafafa faaaa fa
My lyric: Pears and oatmeal, q'uest-ce que c'est...yum yum yum yuuuum yum

Real lyric: M-m-m-my Sharonah
My lyric: M-m-m-my pajamas
Real lyric: It's my life...it's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm aliiiiiive.
My lyric: It's your hat...it's now or never. You ain't gonna wear it forever. I'll just put it on you 'cause it's coooooold.

Sometimes I throw the cadence out the window entirely--I have an uncanny ability to fit six or seven syllables where only one should be.
Real lyric: Doctor doctor, give me the news I've got a bad case of loving you.
My lyric: Doctor doctor, give me the news I've got a bad case of chewing on the cell phone.

Real lyric: I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly- HIGH!
My lyric: I'm gonna change your diaper, I'm gonna put some Aquaphor on your butt right now- NOW!

Once in a while I manage to preserve the original rhyme and cadence. These are my masterpieces, but they're few and far between.
Real lyric: What becomes of the broooooken-hearted...
My lyric: Can you smell that your daaaaaaddy farted...

And sometimes I'm so dedicated to preserving the rhyme, I will la la la the bulk of the lyrics until I can get back to a good place (good being a relative term).
Real lyric: Cheer up sleepy Jean oh what can it mean...to a daydream believer and a homecoming queeeeeeen.
My lyric
: Please please go to sleeeep oh please go to sleep...I am tired la la la la la la la la la la sheeeeeep.

Oh forgive me, Davey Jones.

I wonder at what age to I need to start worrying about this melodic misinformation I'm imparting to my daughter. Will she acquire my disease, and will it adversely affect her? Will there be a day that she come home crying from preschool, having been called out by the lyric gestapo on her rendition of the Hokey Pokey? Will a pedantic teacher dampen her fun by admonishing, "it's not the itsy bitsy spider ate his alfalfa sprouts"?

Or maybe, if there is a God, she will be rewarded for her innovation. I can only hope that one day, some caring young music teacher will sit down next to her on the floor after class, put his arm around her and say, "Let me tell you about a guy called Weird Al...."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahaaa!! As always, you've cheered up my morning. :)

M-m-m-my pajamas?! BRILLIANT.

3/14/06, 9:22 AM  
Blogger Carolyn S. said...

My compliments to you on your talent for crafting new lyrics to popular song tunes. I’d like to recommend Baby Got Back for your next diaper changing session. Here are some songs I’ve belted out incorrectly over the years.

Me: Shake it off, like a CAB ON COMMISSION I’ve gotta get - up outta here - and go some where.
Mariah: Shake it off, like a CALGON COMMERCIAL I’ve gotta get - up outta here - and go some where.

Me: Hold onto 16 as long as you can changes come around real soon make us swim in a van.
John M: Hold onto 16 as long as you can, changes come around real soon makes us women and men”

I could go on and on but I just remembered this is your blog and my longest comment post ever.

3/14/06, 9:27 AM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

I love it! Kyle is a huge fan of Weird Al, and I have a penchant for making up lyrics myself, so I'm pretty sure our kids won't know the correct lyrics either.

One small example - instead of singing "this shit is bananas", we sing "Michelle is bananas". Makes Hollaback Girl palatable for the pre-school set.

Have you ever heard of Allan Sherman? The ORIGINAL Weird Al. He's hilarious. My parents bequeathed me a few of his LPs.

3/14/06, 9:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

dear lord, i am sitting here peeing my pants, and wondering what on earth else you've got on your shuffle. the meme had me wondering the same thing. (siouxie and journey???) respect.

3/14/06, 9:33 AM  
Blogger Lumpyheadsmom said...

Me: Is anything coming out of that bottle?
Bump: [testing]

Real lyric: Ground control to Major Tom
Our lyric: Nipple control to Daddy's tongue

3/14/06, 10:08 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Ginga, if you want to know what horror lurks on my ipod, go here.

But the truth is, these songs probably didn't get stuck in my brain via my playlist, but by way of a Ritz Cracker commercial that ran during Family Guy.

3/14/06, 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO! Great post. :-)

Hey, I think that "Please please go to sleep" would actually work nicely in place of the Violent Femmes' "Please please please do not go" (just add the extra please...)

We have a lot of creative song interpretation and extrapolation going on in the Mom Ma'am Me household -- after hearing a parenting tip where kids can only complain about a sibling if they sing it in song, we have Mimi sing all offenses about Rosie. It makes for some interesting tunes: "Rosie, Rosie, stop eating my crayons!" set to a simple melody. Hey, it works by preventing yelling.

3/14/06, 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is classic. I victimize songs for a living (that's what music therapists do, you know). -- and the ones I sing at home are REALLY AWFUL. I won't bless you with my adapted version of YMCA to fit the letters of a Short Term Care Facility (aka Psych Unit) or how about the Doors Classic - Hello, How Are You, Won't you Tell Me Your Name? (Makes a great greeting song for troubled teens...)

My personal favorite - my rendition of "If I were a rich man" to teach kids about penguins:

"If I were a penguin..." Very original.

It doesn't help that I too change words to song and then truly believe they are sung that way.

How about HANG ON SUKI? (It was about an Asian girl, wasn't it?)

And I used to enjoy all my badlyric singing glory until I married my pilot ears husband who has an uncanny knack at figuring out ALL SONGS. It's disgusting.

3/14/06, 10:37 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Hee Hee. Loved this post.

Mr. DJ, cue the music please...
(this week's selection, sung to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees)

"Well you can tell by the way she eats her food,
She's a hungry baby,
With an Attitude.
Ah, ah, ah, ah
eatin' your peas,
eatin' your peas,
ah, ah, ah, ah,
eatin' you PEEEEEAS!
You're goin' nowhere,
now sit down and eat your peas.
Eat your peas, PLEEEEEASE!"

There's more, but this post has gotten really long.

3/14/06, 10:40 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

That was awesome! A true Hall of Famer post. Oh, and thanks for clearing up the douche lyric. I was well aware I was singing it wrong all these years but knowing I too, would never sing it the right way, I never worried about finding the correct lyrics. As I type, I'm trying the think back to what you just told me were the right lyrics, and they are already completely out of my mind. Lack of retention. Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche another runner in the night.......trailing off....

3/14/06, 10:49 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

midnight at the oasis??? a star is born??? FAMILY GUY??? i have died and gone to heaven.

yes, my own shuffle is as equally, let's say, "eclectic." my fatboy slim is mixed with neil diamond AND barbara. there's nothing quite like listening to "fuck with your woman" tenderly followed by "looooove, soft as an easy-chair... looooove.."

it makes for some serious mental whiplash, i can tell you. i like it.

(oh, and i have the grand total of 4 albums on my ipod (2 of which are audiobooks).

3/14/06, 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How coincidental that you posted this when, just a half-hour ago, the entire pediatrician's office heard me singing to my daughter, "Clean diapers are the way to be", sung to the Green Acres tune.

My worst personal affront to lyrics is "This money's bound to happen" instead of "This monkey's gone to heaven". Sigh.

Loved your post!

3/14/06, 11:35 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

These are all so wonderful! I love your Green Acres ditty Christina...keep them coming.

3/14/06, 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold on a sec. It's not "wrapped up like a douche"? Really? Wow, to think I've been singing that song at the top of my lungs for years and never knew the right words. Embarassing.

3/14/06, 11:57 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I do this, too, and my husband is even worse. He has ruined "Melt with You" by Modern English by singing, repeatedly, "I'll stop the world and melt with cheese." (Well, I didn't say he was very GOOD.)

Ever since my kids were babies I've sung a version of "Hammer Time" to them at bedtime, called "Jammie Time."

Think I'd better quit before I really embarrass myself. Too late, you say?

3/14/06, 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I can empathize with you. You should see what I do to nursery rhymes when I can't remember the actual words. For example:
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat.

And for days and days and nights on end,

They had nothing to do but float.

Said Pussycat to the dapper Owl,

Would you find me a bite to eat?

Said the Owl to the Pussycat,

Yes, I will, just let me dip my feet.

So into the depths of the sea so blue,

That's exactly what he did,

And after just a quarter hour

Came up with a giant squid.

Though sushi wasn't quite their thing,

This was all the sea'd bequeathed.

So the Owl and the Pussycat

Closed their eyes and then began to feast.

When naught was left but cartilage

Of the many-tentacled fish,

The Owl and the Pussycat curled up tight

And dreamt of a tastier dish.

3/14/06, 12:58 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Laura - BRILLIANT! You put the rest of us to shame.

3/14/06, 1:13 PM  
Blogger Table4Five said...

You are all freakin' hilarious! Eatin' your peas? Clean diapers are the way to be? Jammie Time? Better than the originals!

I thought it was "revved up like a deuce", which is slang for a type of car. Could be wrong.

3/14/06, 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! Brilliant! I thought I was the only one that made up lyrics!

3/14/06, 2:13 PM  
Blogger Chaotic Mom said...

I've been re-writing songs as a way to cope with my crazy days. Just posted one this morning, but more in the past couple of weeks.

But I REALLY like your lyrics. Keep sharing! ;)

3/14/06, 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see the girl with the red dress on
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

as long as I have my la la's down I don't have to worry about any but the first lines. I also have a daughter who thinks that when she gives me the correct second line I will care!

3/14/06, 4:30 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Oh, mercy mercy me ... oh, things ain't what they used tooooooo be ...

Okay, we do this for my dog. Her name is Maggie. To wit:

(When you get caught between the moon and NYC)
Maggie she does what she pleases
All of her life is walks and bones and toys
When you get caught between the Maggie and her food bow-wowl ...
The best that you can do, the best that you can do ...
Is fill it up ...


Woa-oh here she comes
Watch out bone, she'll chew you up.
Woa-oh here she comes.
She's a bone eater ...

(Shoulda entered that one in Kristen's dirty phrase contest!)

3/14/06, 4:31 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Mrs. f: I love that! We call those flossies "slimebones" and sing to the tune of "Dem Bones" - slimebones slimebones gonna walk around ...

There's an entire genre of dog lyrics I haven't even touched yet.

3/14/06, 4:35 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I love different song lyrics to popular songs. Several weeks ago, a guy on American Idol sang Copacabana.

My husband and I looked at each other and started belting out, "At the Star Wars, Star Wars Cantina....the weirdest creatures you've ever seen-a, here at the Star Wars, Star wars Canti-na....music and blasters and old jedi masters..."

The only lyrics I can think of that we made up for Cordy are "Stinkerella, stinkerella, change that diaper, stinkerella!" (just imagine the mice singing it)

Oh, and "We're gonna wash that snot right out of your hair, we're gonna wash that snot right off of your cheek...and send it down the drain!"

3/14/06, 5:15 PM  
Blogger jess said...

got me laughing out loud.

we sing really perverted songs to our kid who-can't-yet-talk-back like this one (lyrics are on my blog), about a sex party

3/14/06, 5:37 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

For many years I thought "Too many walls have been nailed in between us" was "Too many walls have been nailed to my penis." I was a youngster, then. I still get all the lyrics wrong. It's part of the reason I am constantly creating my own versions.

Great post. Hee hee.

3/14/06, 7:06 PM  
Blogger Mama Kelly said...

hey i do that tooo LOL
it started when they girls were babies and now I find I cant stop

3/14/06, 7:41 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

Things could be worse. For a while I rewrote every song to feature poop. It is truly an illness.

3/14/06, 8:39 PM  
Blogger the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj said...

I, for once, am speechless. This was masterful. More, please.

3/14/06, 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay - we have a Music together song that goes "My ball is big and round I'm rolling it on the ground"

And as you might imagine - we the twisted folks that we are...

My balls are big and round...

My balls are big and blue, I'm rolling them right to you.

My balls are big and red, roll them to me instead.

(the colors are all part of the song... we just add the S...) -

We're sick, I know.

3/14/06, 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name fits into a lot of songs, and I love to sing. However, I also love to change the lyrics to song...

"Don't Cry for me, Kristina. The truth is I've NEVER met you! All through my young years. My manic depression, I kept a harness....somwhere in the distance!!!!"

Thank you. Thank you very much!

3/14/06, 11:25 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

OH. MY. GOD. We have been singing things to the tune of "My Sharona" since my oldest was a baby. I thought we were the ONLY freaks on the planet that bounced around the house singing "Poooooopy diaper, do do do do doot doot, pooooopy diaper" That's just one example. There are many more, far more ridiculous.

And of course hubz will pervert any normal song into one about bodily functions. Do all men do that???

3/15/06, 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do this too, ALL THE TIME! I'm actually pretty good at replacing lyrics with words in the same meter. Probably from too much poetry work in school. I also make up my own little booty-shaking dances, much to my son's delight.

3/15/06, 5:42 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

All I can say is that in our house - The Third Little Piggy always ate Tofu and never roast beef.

3/15/06, 7:26 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

"It's a stinky job, but someone's got to do it."

While changing diapers and sung to the tune of "We Care A Lot" by Faith No More.

I've been doing nothing but potty talk lately.

3/16/06, 5:42 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

that's hilarious - you and my husband should start a band. his lyrics almost always contain the word cheese or cock. why? i have no idea!!! :)

3/16/06, 9:17 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

j's mom: As long as it's not cock cheese. That would be disgusting.

3/17/06, 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, My Nate (my boyfriend's name is also Nate) and I do that ALL the time! Like, constantly. He wakes me up each morning with a re-written song. We say our lives are like a badly written musical.

My nickname is "Malink" which rhymes well with "pink" and "stink" so basically all our songs involve those words.

And by the way, I have an awesome t-shirt with a prairie dog on it saying "Living on a prairie..."

(take my hand, we'll make it I swearie)

5/25/07, 2:35 AM  

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