Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Michael Jackson, lyrics, & Bubbles the Monkey

One of the coolest things about last weekend in New York is that almost everywhere I went I could hear people playing Michael Jackson loudly. Every bar had a small MJ tribute, stores were playing him, cars were blaring him (myself included), and I say this without exaggeration.... his music seemed like it was everywhere. It's one of things where you feel kinda cool about where you live.

In the days that have passed since Michael Jackson died I have found myself listening to a lot of his music. I definitely liked his songs and had a lot of his music, but honestly I would rarely ever walk around with my iPod actively looking for Billy Jean.

Well like I said in the past few days I've been listening to his songs a lot and really really listening to the lyrics. I've gotta say that as much as I heard his music, I didn't spend a ton of time thinking about what he was saying because it just sounded good

BUT I've started really thinking about the actual lyrics are....and I've gotta say, half the time I'm like - uh - what the hell is going on here?

Let's take a the epic classic "Wanna be starting something." Almost nothing makes sense in this song. Nothing. And yet it's a classic. Let's run through a snibbit of the song and look at my inner thoughts:


Lyrics

My Inner Thoughts

I Said You Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

this part I know well we all know it well…

You Got To Be Startin' Somethin'

…singing along…

I Said You Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

…still singing…

You Got To Be Startin' Somethin'

…well this is just good…



It's Too High To Get Over (Yeah, Yeah)

Wait, what’s too high to get over?

Too Low To Get Under (Yeah, Yeah)

What am I trying to get under?

You're Stuck In The Middle (Yeah, Yeah)

I’m lost here, where am I stuck?

And The Pain Is Thunder (Yeah, Yeah)

Hmm, pain IS thunder. Speak the gospel Rev



It's Too High To Get Over (Yeah, Yeah)

Okay we’ve established this…

Too Low To Get Under (Yeah, Yeah)

…and I still don’t know what “IT” is

You're Stuck In The Middle (Yeah, Yeah)

I hate being in the middle. Like Jan Brady.

And The Pain Is Thunder (Yeah, Yeah)




You're A Vegetable, You're A Vegetable

Wait what?

Still They Hate You, You're A Vegetable

Back-up for a second, I’m a vegetable?

You're Just A Buffet, You're A Vegetable

Why do they hate me? I’m a buffet?

They Eat Off Of You, You're A Vegetable

What the fuck Michael!?!? What just happened here?



If You Cant Feed Your Baby (Yeah, Yeah)
Then Don't Have A Baby (Yeah, Yeah)
And Don't Think Maybe (Yeah, Yeah)
If You Can't Feed Your Baby (Yeah, Yeah)
You'll Be Always Tryin'
To Stop That Child From Cryin'
Hustlin', Stealin', Lyin'
Now Baby's Slowly Dyin'

Jokey joke aside, this verse is borderline brilliant. I never thought about the social commentary that was goin’ on here. Children. Poverty. Hopes. Dreams. Aspirations. It’s all right here.

Interlude of other choruses repeated

Help Me Sing It, Ma Ma Se,

Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa,

Ma Ma Coo Sa

..whew…man that was a trip. This part with the African chanting may be the most normal part of the song….and that’s saying something.



Can you imagine what the record label must have said when they heard the lyrics? I'm sure at some point a curious record executive MUST have said the following:
Um Michael, yeah HI, hi....um soo I don't want to infringe on your artistic rights or anything, but we were sorta just wondering about some of the things in this song. Now I'm not even gonna go into the whole "what's too high to get over, too love to get under" business because I get it... I GET IT...you're stuck. I've been stuck. You've been stuck. You're stuck in the middle. It's a metaphor. Genius! You have a monkey. Bubbles. I'm not gonna ask about that. But when you said the line...um...how do you say...eh..."you're a vegetable" was that like a...what was the thinking here. Was this some sorta metaphor? Because if it was you say in the next line "you're a buffet." So that seems pretty literally. I mean is this a buffet composed of only vegetables, or perhaps are you a vegetable in the human development lack of control over bodily functions way? Just throw me a bone MJ, I need a little guidance...

[to the Top of the Blog!]

3 comments:

Alexandra said...

That post was brilliant.

KRob said...

This is truly hilarious!

Blogger said...

Did you know you can shorten your links with BCVC and get cash for every visitor to your shortened links.