Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lyrical LD

Music and lyrics are funny things. Some people love the lyrics, and they don't even hear the music - perhaps Indigo Girls fans or poets. Then there are those who are all about the music, and lyrics are nothing but white noise - these are likely the ecstasy using trance lovers. The best though, are the folks who maybe like both but just can't seem to get the lyrics right. This is what I refer to as a "Lyrical LD".

LD is the professional term for those unfortunate individuals with a learning disability...I know I'm harsh - an asshole, actually. But, I rationalize my use of the term Lyrical LD by pointing out that I fully meet criteria for this degenerate group of musical enthusiasts. To substantiate my attempt at rationalization, I'll provide a few noteworthy examples. Consider Elvis. I mean, he's an iconic enough guy, right? With popular enough songs and simple enough lyrics? Whereas you might provide an emphatic "yes" to the previous questions, I (with my Lyrical LD), and those of my kind would suggest that this is not the case. In fact, quite the contrary.

Case in point… "All Shook Up" is one of those popular enough songs with simple enough lyrics by an iconic enough guy. Ask people on the street to sing the chorus and they'll likely chime in with, "I'm all shook up" followed by a string of "Mmmm"s and "Yay’s.” It will sound horrific but will be accurate. If you're unlucky enough to encourage participation from someone with a Lyrical LD, however, you will get a far different response. To give an Example Lyrical LD response, I'll provide my personal rendition of the chorus when singing "All Shook Up" with an 8-year-old Elvis fan.

It went something like this..."Uh Bon Shikah Eh Eh Eh."

That's when the little smarty quizzically inquired, "Um, what did you just say?" At this point, the interaction continued in a stereotypical fashion…

The gifted 8-year old says, "Um, that's not how it goes," and the LD kid says, "Yeah it is!"

Then the gifted kid thinks, "Oh, LDs are like PDs...lack of insight."

PDs are personality disorders for those of you non-psych people out there. I say “out there” as if people are actually reading this. I should really just say names instead of “out there.” Like, “Talia…PD stands for personality disorder, and individuals with PDs often have little insight regarding the pathological characteristics of their personality.”

Moving on, I’ll set the stage for the next Lyrical LD example. It was 2002, the year of Fat Joe’s release of “What’s Luv” featuring Ashanti. Yes, I just looked that up. “What’s Luv” became a popular song during 2002, I became a Fat Joe groupie, and I started singing along to the lyrics. I guess Rosa Parks was stuck in my head from Outkast’s recent #1 hit, and I assumed Fat Joe was following along with the Civil Rights pop music theme…my mistake. I remember singing the song in the Furman basketball locker room one day, “Bus Liiiiiiine, got to do, got to do with it, bus liiiiiiine, it’s about us it’s about trust, babe….bus liiiiiine…”

Not okay. Not okay at all. Clearly the Lyrical LD also disables one’s ability to detect context clues…not only did I misunderstand that Ashanti was saying “What’s Love” and not “Bus Line,” I also failed to realize that bus lines being about us and trust doesn’t really make a lot of sense. So, once again, the LD kid gets picked on, but I will maintain that after enduring the pain and ridicule of these experiences, I’m a stronger person for it. By stronger, I mean that I’ve learned to live with my Lyrical LD. Here are some of the recommendations I have for others suffering from my condition:

(1) Only sing in the presence of close others, whom you know you can blackmail and therefore swear to secrecy.

(2) If somebody asks, “What did you say?” while you are singing a song, just start acting crazy (e.g., headbanging, making weird faces) and they will quickly forget the thought they had that you may have messed up the lyrics

(3) Avoid singing rap songs…these lyrics are notorious (shout out to Biggie…what what) for being difficult

(4) When performing Karaoke, utilize the screens. They were made for Lyrical LDs.

(5) If you forgot to follow the rule about only singing in the presence of close others and you are caught by someone, simply say, “Oh, I make up my own words…” and then give them the Alanis Morisette Ironic example where you have added “…who’s hotter” following “…it’s like meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife…” If you’re lucky, they will laugh at your creativity and realize that their assumption of a lyrical mishap was, in actuality, a smart and charming twist on the characteristically mundane lyrics used by today’s artists.

If none of these work, you may need additional testing.