I love 80’s music. I have a huge collection (close
to 1000 songs and counting), and I really enjoy listening to it. It
is the music I grew up with, and it will always have a place in my heart.
I know that the kids nowadays consider this music “oldies”,
but it is my music and it will always be my favorite.However, despite
my enjoyment of this genre, I can’t help but notice that a lot
of 80’s songs have really dumb lyrics. I mean REALLY dumb lyrics.
I thought I would compile a list (a very long list, actually) of some
of the lyrics that stand out to me as examples of really dumb lyrics.
Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield:
“I want to tell her that I love her but the point is prob’ly
moot” Moot? That is one word that does not belong in any
song, much less a song of unrequited love. Just a sloppy rhyme
for ‘cute’. Can you see Rick Springfield agonizing
over this decision? “Should I tell Jessie’s girl that
I love her? Naw, the point is moot.”
||Hungry like the Wolf by Duran Duran: “I smell like I sound”.
What exactly does 80’s British pop/rock smell like? My guess
would be hair spray, cigarettes, alcohol, and sweat.
||You Could Have Been With Me by Sheena Easton: “You could
have been with me. Instead of alone and lonely.” You probably
thought alone was as bad as it got. And lonely is no walk in the
park either. But both alone and lonely? Oh Sheena, how could you
do that to him? Oh, that’s right. He could have been with
you. Thus the name of the song.
||Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer: “Your heart sweats.”
Ewww. That can’t be healthy! Do they sell some kind of internal
organ anti-perspirant/deodorant thingamajig for this?
||True by Spandau Ballet: “I bought a ticket to the world,
but now I’ve come back again, Why do I find it hard to write
the next line?” Maybe because the previous line was gibberish?
I’ve bought tickets for airplanes, carnival rides, concerts,
etc. But I have never bought a ticket to the world. I wouldn’t
know where to purchase such a thing, and I doubt I could afford
||Once In a Lifetime by The Talking Heads: “There is water
at the bottom of the ocean”. No kidding, David Byrne? I never
would have thought. Tell me, Neptune, is their water in the middle
of the ocean? Enquiring minds want to know!
||Africa by Toto: “The wild dogs cry out in the night, as
they grow restless longing for some solitary company.” What
in the world is “solitary company.” Solitary means you
are alone, and company means you aren’t alone. It’s
an oxymoron. Do not attempt to make sense of this lyric. It will
only give you a headache.
||Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo: “I wish I was in Tijauana
eating barbecued Iguana.” I’m not sure if this is insensitive
or just stupid. I think I’ll go with stupid. Again, just a
lazy rhyme for Tijuana. My suggested replacement is “I wish
I was in Tijuana, smoking primo marijuana”. Not that I endorse
smoking weed, it just makes more sense than eating barbecued iguana.
||Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News: “Tougher than
diamonds, rich like cream / Stronger and harder than a bad girl’s
dream.” I didn’t know that bad girls’ dreams were
strong or hard. Though to be fair, I really haven’t known
many ‘bad girls’ in my life.
||(I Just) Died In Your Arms by Cutting Crew: “Her diary sits
by the bedside table. The curtains are closed, the cat’s in
the cradle.” What is the point of making sure the cat’s
in the cradle before reading your girlfriend’s diary? Are
you afraid the cat is going to rat you out? “Meow Mommy meow?
Meow meow your boyfriend meow was reading meow your diary meow!”
This is of course assuming that your girlfriend’s cat not
only talks, but talks like Henrietta Cat from Mister Rogers’
Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
||Some Like It Hot by The Powerstation: “We want to multiply,
are you gonna do it / I know you’re qualified, are you gonna
do it / Don’t be so circumscribed, are you gonna do it / Just
get yourself untied, are you gonna do it?” Yeah, man. What’s
your problem? Your girl wants to get busy, so what are you waiting
for? Don’t be so circumscribed. Gee honey, when you sweet
talk a guy like that, he’d be crazy not to give it up for
you. Seriously though, circumscribed? I’ll be honest. I had
to look it up. Circumscribed. Adjective. 1. Subject to limits or
subjected to limits. 2. Showing or determining a boundary. So I
guess the word makes sense in the context, but it’s a little
cerebral for a song about a girl who wants to have sex.
||She’s Like the Wind by Patrick Swayze: “I look in
the mirror and all I see / Is a young old man with only a dream.”
Another great oxymoron. I bet when Patrick Swayze looks in the mirror
nowadays he doesn’t see a young old man. He sees an old, old
man whose career is in shambles.
||Warrior by Scandal: “You talk, talk, you talk to me / Your
eyes touch me physically”. What kind of alien is Patty Smythe
singing about here? Maybe some crab-like monstrosity or other creature
with protruding eyes. Whatever the case, this lyric is just dumb.
||Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil: “How can we dance when
our earth is turning?” Great question, Midnight Oil. Although
the scientific answer is boring: our earth turning is a key to generating
our gravitational field, and thus allowing us to dance. In other
words, if the earth suddenly stopped turning, we’d all be
launched into the atmosphere and would die. So stop complaining,
||De do do do by The Police: “And when their eloquence escapes
Their logic ties me up and rapes me.” Yikes, Sting! I’ve
been at a loss for words before, too, but I’ve never thought
of this condition being the equivalent of mental rape. Maybe a chill
pill might be in order?
||Nasty by Janet Jackson: “Who’s that eating that nasty
food?” I get the point of this song. Really, I do. So why
in the world does Janet ask this question? Are her beloved nasty
boys eating some kind of Top Ramen or other gross snack, and will
this cause Janet to give up on her nasty boys? It’s just another
||Rapture by Blondie: “Back to back, Sacroiliac, Spineless
movement, And a wild attack” Sacroiliac? Again, I had to look
it up: adj. Of, relating to, or affecting the sacrum and ilium and
their articulation or associated ligaments. I guess Ms. Harry learned
a new word and couldn’t wait to work it in to her next song.
The result? A dumb lyric.
And the dumbest of all?
Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung: The whole thing is dumb
lyrics, start to finish. I’ve printed the lyrics below. Make up
your own jokes for these ridiculous lyrics.
Take your baby by the hand
And make her do a high hand stand
Take your baby by the heel
And do the next thing that you feel
We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you, and everyone we knew
Could believe, do, and share in what was true
Oh, I said
Take your baby by the hair
And pull her close and there there there
Take your baby by the ears
And play upon her darkest fears
So take your baby by the wrist
And in her mouth an amethyst
And in her eyes two sapphires blue
And you need her and she needs you
And you need her and she needs you
Well, that’s the end of my list. I hope you enjoyed
reading this article. I encourage you to reply with your favorite dumb
80’s lyric, especially if it is one I haven’t mentioned.
I am sure that there are more out there. Until next time, here’s
hoping you ride like the wind to Panama, meet an uptown girl (or a nasty
boy), and do the neutron dance on the ceiling until manic Monday!