Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If You Think This Is Bad, You'll Never Guess What I Thought Limp Bizket songs Were About

As I've mentioned before, my musical tastes, according to the music in my Ipod, at least, is built on a foundation I inherited from my brothers. As such, I've developed an eclectic taste that doesn't really jive with my other interests, hobbies, or basic personality. I'm very fond of the Foo Fighters, I have a high tolerance of Bryan Adams, and I am actually a fan of Blink 182. Until recently, my favorite song of theirs was an early ditty by the name of "What's My Name Again?" Aficionados can listen to the full version here (sorry, no embedded version):

For those who didn't check it out (and I'm not going to blame you for that), it's essentially the three members of the band, running around naked for the whole video and Freaking People Out. A later video does the same thing, but with midgets. Charming. And in case there's any doubt as to the song's tone, here's one of the verses:
Then later on, on the drive home
I called her mom from a pay phone
I said I was the cops and your husband's in jail
This state looks down on sodomy

And that's about the time that bitch hung up on me
Nobody likes you when you're 23
And are still more amused by prank phone calls
What the hell is call ID, my friends say I should act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

Why was I a fan of this song? Simple: I misheard it.

I have to think this sort of thing happens more often than people are aware of. You hear one bit of the song incorrectly, and your entire conception of the song can be altered, even by a minuscule difference. For example, I have a brother who insists that the Smashing Pumpkins song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" contains the lyrics "Despite all my rage, I'm still just a-ready to rage" even though that makes no damn sense.

So what was my misinterpretation? Well, in the course of the song, the narrator's girlfriend throws him out when he stops making out with her to catch a TV show, and then he calls her mom as a prank on the way home and implies that her dad was arrested for homosexual behaviour, and when he's caught, the girl breaks up with him. So he's essentially a dick. And throughout the whole thing, he repeats: my friends say I should act my age. What's my age again? The turn comes (or so I thought) in the final verse:

That's about the time that she broke up with me
No one should take themselves so seriously
With many years ahead to fall in love
Why would you wish that on me, I'll never wanna act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

And that's the twist: this self-righteous asshole is really just a guy who's afraid to grow up, afraid to commit to a relationship. With "so many years ahead," an expression that gets more and more hollow as the years go by, why be serious? The moment you acknowledge that what's here and now is important to you, that you need to grow up and take it seriously, then you have grown up, and the cartoon shows and prank phone calls are a part of your past. From this final verse, the narrator becomes someone more complex and more interesting.

Only he doesn't. Because the real last verse goes:

With many years ahead to fall in line
Why would you wish that on me, I'll never wanna act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

So yeah, he's still just your typical, young twenties self-obsessed asshole who can't seem to get it through his thick skull that there's more important things in life than dedicating it to your own hilarity. And even if you're not being that critical, the song is still nothing special--it's just another emo/punk song about the "rebel" not being understood by the "norms." The argument could be raised that, at 26, I'm past the song's age demographic, but trust me: I'm more sympathetic towards general slacking now at 26 than I ever was at 23--or 20, for that matter.

So: one word, three letters. A small thing, but my feelings towards the text as a whole hinged on it. Anyone else have a story of misinterpreted song lyrics?

Later Days.


Anonymous said...

hahaha just ready to rage. that was hilarious when you proved him wrong

Person of Consequence said...

He never actually admitted he was wrong, though. And at this point, I'm not exactly holding my breath that he ever will.