Weirdest Lyrics of All Time goes to THE REFLEX by Duran Duran

Oh, you can find plenty of obscure bands who can confuse you with lyrics that make no sense, and pop singers talking about how their heart is breaking because baby, baby, baby, I love you, thought you’d always be mine.

Think I’m kidding? Hold my coffee.

The trick is finding a popular hit song by a famous band where the lyrics are completely insane.

This is where Duran Duran comes through, and not just with epic amounts of hair spray.

Check out the complete lyrics below.

I challenge and of you you to explain to me what “the reflex is” and exactly what how the reflex is “a lonely child waiting by the park” and “a door to finding treasure in the dark.”


You’ve gone too far this time
And I’m dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody’s fooling around
With my chances on the danger line
I’ll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day
To make my stand, oh oh
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand, oh oh
Why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
Why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is a lonely child
Who’s waiting by the park
The reflex is a door to finding
Treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover
Isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark
I’m on a ride and I want to get off
But they won’t slow down the round-about
I sold the radio and TV set
Don’t want to be around when this gets out
So why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
Why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is a lonely child
Who’s waiting in the park
The reflex is a door to finding
Treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover
Isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark
So why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
Why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it?
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is a lonely child
Who’s waiting by the park
The reflex is a door to finding
Treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover
Isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark
Oh the reflex what a game 
He’s hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding
Treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover
Isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does

We have a contender for Worst Music Video of All Time

Here’s what makes WIRED FOR SOUND a masterpiece in the genre of bad music videos:

First, the song has to be genuinely bad, and it is boring and repetitive, with insipid lyrics.

Second, you want terrible production values, as in “We rented the local skating rink for $50 and only have four hours to shoot this thing, so let’s get it done.”

Third, the costumes need to absolutely pop, and these spandex unitard-things make everybody look like Teletubbies had a fling with Jane Fonda during her leggings and aerobics phase. Then they they discovered a hot tub time machine and went back to 1977 to find the nearest disco.

Which means I absolutely love this video.

Most terrible music videos are annoying, like DJ Khaled shouting his name six times while Justin Bieber tries to rap and look edgy with more tattoos. Here we go with a supercut of DJ Khaled doing his thing, saying his name in songs.

Note: Don’t confuse him with the singer Khalid, who did the brilliant LOVE LIES, one of my favorite songs and videos ever. To cleanse your palate, give this a listen.

WIRED FOR SOUND isn’t purely annoying.

This thing is so bad, it circles back to good, rewarding the viewer who rewatches it to discover new details, like anthropologists from the future wondering what specific drugs we were on and whether the different colors of spandex unitard-things denoted your cultural position and class rank.


Okay, fine–let’s admit the brilliance of DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART by the Backstreet Boys

I come not to bury the Backstreet Boys, but to praise them.

And yes, this is praise from the most unlikely of sources. I don’t personally hate this band, or anybody in it–they’re just not my cup of tea. Now, it’s different with others who are inherently annoying. Justin Bieber could show up at my front door with a suitcase stuffed with $3.75 million dollars while singing original compositions about my virtues and it would STILL rub me wrong.

So you’d expect me to take a scalpel to any one of the Backstreet Boys songs, old or new, or any random song from New Kids on the Block or Nsync, and no, I couldn’t tell these three bands apart except for the fact that one of them included a young Justin Timberlake before he hired Jason Statham to make a daring escape in a black BMW. (Note: Timberlake is one of the dudes wearing a ski mask.)

So why would I go against every instinct in my body and praise a video by the Backstreet Boys?

Here’s why:

(1) Radio is the great equalizer

Since I drive about two hours a day, 99 percent of music comes to me in a blind taste test, like Pepsi versus Coke except there’s no carbonated sugar water involved.

This song hit my radio and honestly, I had no idea it was Backstreet Boys–could’ve been any boy band, whether you’re talking current UK newbies or a Nostalgic Throwback Tour Because Yo, We Got Kids and Need to Pay the Mortgage.

Honestly, for a pop song, this is good. The lyrics are nothing to spend time dissecting, and the song won’t go on my running playlist or anything. But the song isn’t actively annoying, which is better than most of the stuff I hear on the radio. Not once did I rush to change radio stations, skip forward on Pandora or cover my ears in pain. That’s the acid test right there, empirical proof that despite my anti boy-band bias, the song holds up.

(2) Their fans will love it

What’s the purpose of a song like this? It’s not to get people like me to buy their stuff on iTunes or shell out serious money for a concert ticket.

They don’t need to generate name ID or start from scratch. This music video is for their fans, which is people who loved them back when they were on top of the world.

That’s a massive, built-in audience. When you start with an old fan base of millions and millions around the world, you only need to excite a fraction of that audience to pay the bills.

And I bet you all those old fans adored this new song.

(3) The video gets the job done

Music videos these days are expensive, with budgets in the millions not unusual.

Clearly, they spared no expense on this one.

So why do it, aside from letting singers scratch the acting itch?

A good music video adds to the song by (a) telling a story, (b) showing off the dancing skills of the singer/band or (c) giving you a taste of what a live concert might feel and sound like.

The Backstreet Boys are on tour, and these days the music business doesn’t really make money from selling music. The real cash comes from concerts.

If you grew up listening to these guys, and now you’re an adult with some scratch instead of a teenager raiding the change jar, this video probably makes you want to see the band live. Because hey, they clearly put on a good show.

VERDICT: I have to admire the brilliance of this comeback song and video. Fans of the Backstreet Boys will adore this song and video, so congrats on a well-performed comeback.

Top 6 reasons why Batman must DIE!

Bruce Wayne and the Batman may or may not die in BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT.

(Google that and the volume of fanboy speculation will make your head implode).

But he’ll die soon enough. It’s guaranteed.

So will Superman, Spock, Wolverine, Captain America, Sherlock Holmes and 93 other major fictional characters you know and love.

Why will Batman and other great characters die when Jar Jar Binks is apparently invincible?

Because of reasons.

Let’s get into the guts of why this works while still Bothering you, and the answers will involve dead poets, the suspension of disbelief, the quarterly earnings reports of corporations and The Three Movies = Reboot Rule of Superheroes. Continue reading “Top 6 reasons why Batman must DIE!”

TAKE ME TO CHURCH by Hozier is film-noir goodness

music video meme sound of music

Here’s the acid test, for me: I drive MANY MILES each day, listening to the radios, and if a song is good, I don’t care who sings it.

Only then do I check out the music video, and maybe blog about it on the WordPress machines.

TAKE ME TO CHURCH rocks on the radio.

However, having watched 4,092 bazillion music videos in my life, including a brief period where MTV actually played music videos, I’ve learned not to expect much from the actual video part, except for (a) boy bands dancing, (b) pop divas dancing in front of backup dancers who are far better at the dancing thing, (c) rock stars trying dance with the microphone stand or (d) hipster bands trying to be artsy and deep while mostly being bizarre.

Good music videos are rare.

I’m not talking “Bigfoot is in my backyard and I shot thirty minutes of film of him playing with my dog” kind of rare.

No. I’m talking about “Snooki is at a philosophy conference at Yale, presenting a paper on Nietzsche” rare.

So here are two music videos, both black-and-white, and both surprises.

First up is Hozier, the one from the headline. Great song on the radio, different and strong. The video makes it ever better, wonderfully shot in true film-noir style, it’s not afraid to have a non-Hollywood ending. Well played, Hozier.

The second song and video is also black-and-white and the same kind of slow burn. Had no idea who sang it when it played on the radio. Good stuff, full of pain and longing, and not your usual “baby baby” bubblegum pop nonsense with a guest rapper to give it some grit and soul. (How many times can pop stars go to that well? Apparently, forever.)

This second video shocked me by being by Selena Gomez, not known for this sort of song. And yes, she looks like every bartender in the world would card her, and the song is about Justin Bieber, who simply needs to go away. Despite those handicaps, which are huge, it works. So let’s give it props. Watch and listen.


The six types of insane song lyrics

music video meme sound of music

If you love music, and music videos, you start seeing patterns.

Here’s what I’ve learned from dissecting lyrics and making fun of music videos: it’s easy to put them into categories, both amazingly awful and insanely great, and there are SIX KINDS, because I say so.

The six types are:

1) Boring Pop Songs

These are trite little pieces of drivel, sung by boy bands, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, written at a fourth-grade level because they’re meant to be consumed by seventh-graders.

It’s the kind of thing that makes the average Madonna song look deep.

What’s the acid test for Boring Pop Songs? If you do a “find and replace” in word for “oh baby” and half the lyrics disappear.

2) Pretentious Pop

Vivid imagery that’s poetic, yet confusing. That’s your basic recipe for pretentious pop, which is equally bad whether it’s (a) some boy band trying to get deep or (b) Sting trying to show everybody he went to college, and yes, I adore the Stinger, so that’s said out of love, because he usually hits the mark. Related: Sting nails it with WHY SHOULD I CRY FOR YOU?

Here’s some infamous nonsense from The Decemberists, who specialize in Pretentious Pop:

Fifteen lithesome maidens lay
Along in their bower
Fourteen occupations pay
To pass the idle hour

3) Cryptic Yet Meaningful Goodness

AMERICAN PIE is the best example of this. Are the lyrics deep and confusing? Absolutely. Yet if you dig deep into it, line-by-line, they make sense.

Continue reading “The six types of insane song lyrics”

Billy Squire wrecks his career with ROCK ME TONITE

music video meme sound of music

If you don’t remember Billy the Squire, probably because you weren’t born yet, he was kind of a big deal for a while. A rising star.

Then this video came out and smooshed him faster than you can say Milli Vanilli.

And yes, he started out by getting creative with the spelling of “tonight,” because that’s the revolutionary rebelliousness of a true rock star, though he didn’t go as far as Prince, who uses an entirely different alphabet.

Let’s ask ourselves, for the sake of history: Why was this music video so deadly?

It’s not the music. This isn’t some 11-minute long art film with a soundtrack that some rock star thought would be a killer idea. And yeah, that happens. Somebody gets famous and they think every idea that pops into their head is brilliant.

Close your eyes and listen to the song. It’s not terrible. A decent rocker with nothing to really complain about.

The lyrics aren’t inspired, but they aren’t completely insipid, either. Let’s go with banal.

Here’s the problem: people didn’t have their eyes closed. If this song simply hit the radio, Billy might have kept on rising up and making scads of money.

The visuals are simply awful.

Billy oozes uncool out of every pore. If there’s matter and anti-matter, there’s cool and uncool. Billy does not come off as cool in this video. He doesn’t seem like a cocky, confident rock star. It feels like he’s trying too hard, and failing.

There aren’t that many rock stars who look good dancing. The smart ones keep it low key. Billy Idol doesn’t dance — he pouts and pumps his fist. Bruce Springsteen never really dances. Bono, Sting, even Mick Jagger doesn’t really dance. He does a funky chicken and that’s about it.

Billy the Squire kept trying aerobic instructor moves, which did not look good on film.

When his band finally showed up, I kept swearing they cloned Billy, or shot multiple takes with him playing all the instruments. Every band member but one dude had the same outfit and over-permed hair. IT WAS CONFUSING, and not in a good way.

So all in all, this is an epic train wreck of a video.

Also: Bonus points to whoever digs up what happens to Billy Squire.

MISSING YOU by John Waite teaches us all about subtext

music video meme sound of music

Here’s a classic song with a video that proves singers should sing, and actors should act.

What’s not to love here?

John Waite‘s hair is pure ’80s gold, with feathery blow-dry action in the front and a sneaky pseudo-mullet in the back. It’s a Don Johnson-punk mullet. Plus he rocks the standard One Dangly Earring look that every lead singer was required to have for about two years.

HOWEVER: What’s most interesting to me is how the lyrics clash with the video.

The lyrics avoid being “on the nose,” which is Hollywood screenwriter slang for people saying, or singing, exactly what they mean. Nobody in real life does that. It’s not realistic, not good for a story and not fun for the audience.

People avoid coming out and saying directly what they truly feel.

A hero doesn’t say, “Hey, I’m really scared, and I don’t want to die, so maybe you could drop that gun and let me handcuff you, seeing how I don’t want to get shot or get stuck with piles of paperwork if I shoot you first.” He says, “Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?”

A villain doesn’t say, “Being locked up in this dark basement next to low-level lunatics is beyond boring, and I would rather stick needles in my eye than communicate with these beasts, but pretty young FBI agents are something I never get to see, so I hope you stick around and talk to me for hours, Special Agent.” He says, “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

So while the acting and the visuals in the video are completely on the nose, with zero ambiguity or subtlety, the lyrics are great and full of subtext.

John Waite misses his girlfriend / lover / wife, but he doesn’t say, “Hey baby, I miss you a lot, and I’m a wreck, and I wish you’d come back.”

He sings, “I ain’t missing you” and follows that up with “I ain’t missing you at all” and seven other variations of the same thing.

But we know he’s lying.

And that’s what makes this song a classic.

NOVEMBER RAIN rocks out for an epic nine minutes

music video meme sound of music

These days, Axl Rose is just another rock star who fell off the top. He’s trying to claw his way back up, and yes, taking 5.923 billion years to produce your big solo album, which lands with a thud, isn’t the way to do it.

So I say this not as a fan of Axl Rose, but as a hard-core skeptic: NOVEMBER RAIN is a masterpiece.

No question. Start to finish, it’s brilliant.

Everything comes together: the orchestra, Axl on the piano, Slash wailing on his axe, the drums, it’s all clear as a bell rather than the mush you get with some bands today that’s less Wall of Sound and more I Can’t Tell Which Instruments Are Playing.

Each major instrument gets left to do their part, even the piccolo-whatever, which fits in perfectly.

And yes, this video clocks in at 9-plus minutes but you don’t care, because it is telling a story that fits the music.

Well shot. Well produced. Perfectly put-together. Axl, I salute you and hope you put this on an endless loop in your mansion for six straight days until you get inspired to try something as ambitious, and good, as this.

SAFETY DANCE by Men Without Hats is insanely classic

music video meme sound of music

This has every element you could possibly want from an ’80s music video:

(1) a thumping synth beat,

(2) a lead singer with a vague accent (Montreal!) who looks like Adam Ant’s less insane cousin,

(3) some kind of ren-fair Hobbity goodness instead of the usual music video of the band preening while they lip-synch and pretend to play instruments,

(4) the best band name I’ve heard in forever, PLUS

(5) as a special bonus packed chock full of irony, nobody, not even the friends of the lead singer who professes his love for dancing, can dance a lick.

I won’t include all the lyrics, because they’re not that complicated or subtle. There’s nothing to interpret here.

HOWEVER: It’s worth dissecting the four lines everybody knows.

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine

Those lines are so easy to remember because they’re well-built, structurally. The first two lines start the same — “We can” — and have seven syllables exactly. The singer isn’t talking about himself, but “we,” and he gets the audience involved more by making you think of “your friends.”

All the ideas come together. You’ve got three lines of setup for the payoff in the fourth line. It’s short, it’s simple and instead of using rhymes (none of these lines rhyme), the singer links the lines together using concepts and repetition. A nice little interweaving that pays off.