Sorry, Those Lyrics Just Suck!

What’s worse, I ask you, than hearing a great song, ruined, absolutely ruined by an imprecise, confusing or just plain inconsistent line in an otherwise glorious and flowing lyrical journey.

Timmy Trumpet & Savage’s Freaks is going to get picked on here, sorry TT but really with the following line, you deserve it:

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war.

This is just lazy wordsmithing on a number of levels.

Now to the actual problem. In this line, TT has mixed up the concepts of sound wave frequencies with names of the devices that reproduce said frequencies. ‘Tweeters’ is the common name for the high frequency speakers. ‘Bass’ on the other hand refers to some of the frequencies of the music, not the speakers that produce it. So for consistency, the line needs to match ‘tweeters’ with ‘woofers’, the popular name for the speakers that reproduce the bass, or lower frequencies. Or alternatively, if frequencies are being emphasised, ‘bass’ would need to be matched with ‘treble’. It’s a further damning indictment on Mr Trumpet that we cannot tell which concept he really is talking about.

Here are two alternative lines that address the very obvious concerns in the line.

The bass and the treble make the speakers go to war.

This retains the original cadence of the line as well as being logically aligned, as bass and treble both refer to the frequencies of the music. A bonus is that the apparent original attempt to draw a causal relationship between the frequencies and a ‘war’ is retained. A satisfactory and easy replacement.

However, my preference is the following line.

The woofers and the tweeters,, yeah the speakers go to war.

What a lovely, consistent cadence that line has! With the tiniest of pauses after ‘tweeters’, which I have emphasised by the duplicated commas, the new line draws the relationship implied in the original, clumsy line. The delightful ‘ta ta-ta ta ta ta-ta,, ta ta ta-ta ta ta ta’ flows much more seamlessly than the pairing of the monosyllabic ‘bass’ with the two syllables of ‘tweeter’, resolving the tension that the listener otherwise experiences. In terms of meaning, admittedly, it is a little removed from TT’s original line but I think the slight variation is a scant price to pay for such an improvement in the other areas.

There are many many examples of lyricists being, quite frankly, just lazy. TT obviously has great talent with words as evidenced by the high quality of the rest of the song to wit:

Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at!

Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at, freaks at, freaks at, freaks at, freaks at, fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre-fre

He is letting himself and us, his listeners, down with that one original, jarring line. I wish that people, at the top of their musical game, would just pay a bit more attention to ensure their standards do not slip.

If you have a particularly grating example of poor lyric writing skills, post it in the ‘responses’ section and the PPP will endeavour to address your concerns

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