Misunderstood Lyrics, Part One
August 7, 2005... Les Savy Fav are responsible for not writing some of the best lyrics I've ever heard.
A friend taped (!) me the first Les Savy Fav record a few years ago but it didn't do anything for me, so I never really looked into what the band was all about. So, when I heard some of their more recent material this year, I had no context.
Their music struck me as pleasantly ethnic and funky, albeit in very ... uh ... miscegenous way, but I absolutely loved Seth Jabour's screaming guitar work. It reminded me of The Edge before he was emasculated and Saint Bono elevated in his place. It also reminded me of Andy Gill (Gang of Four) and Kevin Thompson (Nice Strong Arm), which probably doesn't mean a hell of a lot to most people out there, but… Screaming, echoing guitar? I like.
As for Les Savy Fav's vocals… I didn't have a lyric sheet to work with, so I couldn't be sure, but the singer sounded awfully earnest to me. Perhaps not as vomit-inducingly so as Saint Bono, but still… Listening to Tim Harrington felt a bit like reading Maximumrocknroll: I wanted to get up afterward and wash the ink off my hands.
After repeated listens, though, the lyrics began to sink in, and they didn't mesh with the image of the band my mind had created.
What? "Have we got half enough to go around?/Why don't you get a piece of pasta down?" What is this, a song for a drunk-sick friend? That's not very earnest.
I did what any savvy consumer would do in this day and age: Googled the band's name. It turned out that their official website is a single, solitary page that reads: "The band is too busy partying to update this page." Definitely not earnest!
Eventually, though, my curiosity drove me to the website of their record label, French Kiss Records, for more information, and there I learned the shameful truth.
"We'll Make a Lover of You," is not a song for a drunken friend, but song about love. "Have we got love enough to go around?/Why don’t you get a piece and pass it down?/Even 100,000,000 years from now/The love we make will still be putting out." Earnest! Still cool, though.
What is not cool is that there is no web site out there where people can go to look up rock lyrics without being assaulted with popups or having some fucker try to install spyware on their computer. Seriously. Lyrics Depot, Lyrics Freak, Sing 365 … they're all aggressively commercial enterprises. Where's the love of anything but money?
A few months ago, I thought I'd finally found a good rock lyrics web site, SongMeanings. But when I went there most recently, to look up the lyrics to Frank Zappa's "Dirty Love," my anti-virus software warned me that the web site was trying to install a worm virus on my computer. You can't get much lower than that.
The Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive hocks shit, too, but at least they don't try to sneak their stinking Nike ads past you. They push them right in your face. What's more, OHHLA.com is interactive: you can submit lyrics if you've got something they've missed…
Anyway, in the end, the lyrics to "Dirty Love" turned out to be exactly what I thought they were, which leads to my final rant of the day: what well-meaning party-pooper managed to convince the free world that sex wasn't dirty?
I want that person's head on a pike.
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