Hold Me Close, Young Tony Danza

Last weekend, my parents came to visit me in New York from Boston.  We were in their hotel room one night watching You Again, and they played one particular Hall & Oates song a few times throughout.  I didn’t necessarily know this song, persay. But I had definitely heard it growing up and was familiar with the chorus.  After about the hundreth time in the movie this chorus was being played, something clicks in my head and I go, “WAIT! Your kiss is on my LIST?!”  My parents raise their eyebrows at me and go, “Yes? What did you think they said?”

“Your kiss is on my lips.”

“They say, ‘My list of the best things in life’ right afterwards…”

“Well I never knew the rest of the words!! My whole childhood was a lie.”

“A self-inflicted lie.”

Which is what I think I shall entitle my autobiography. Self Inflicted Lies.

In my family, it is known that I live and breathe for music.  However, it has also become known (and therefore, a family joke) that I don’t always get the lyrics right.

With popular, current songs, I tend to get corrected by my peers rather quickly. Of course, it can occasionally become a mild epidemic and you could have the whole schoolyard singing, “Don’t go, Jason Waterfalls” before someone corrects you, but usually it’s caught pretty early.

Unless, of course, the misunderstanding is nation-wide. Like every Britney Spears song ever.  Girlfriend did not sing clearly.  “Oh baby, baby, I shouldn’t have let you go. And now you’re right outside, yeah.” Yup, that’s what I thought the lyrics were for most of my young adult life.  I’m almost positive all my friends thought the same thing. I’m sure if I Googled it right now, I could find you tons of misprinted versions of it.  However, if you listen more closely with your finely tuned adult ears, you might hear “Now you’re out of sight, yeah” instead. Which also happens to make more sense.

This isn’t the only B.Spears song that was/is cause for confusion.  I think I learned a new lyric in every single Britney song that Glee covered. There were parts of Me Against The Music that I didn’t even know were words until I saw Brittany S. Pierce rockin’ out.

Fortunately, most popular songs like that will be cleared up for you the first time you’re part of a car sing-a-long and it comes on.

However, when you’re little and you’re listening to the Oldies station with your parents and you don’t really have the vocabulary to understand what they’re saying, you fill in the blanks yourself.

Or you don’t.

I knew all the words to Paradise By The Dashboard Light by age nine. And by all, of course I mean MY version of “all”.   I usually fumbled through part of it, coming up with something along the lines of, “We were going like the middle on the edge of the night.”  It wasn’t until very recently – as in, the past year or two – that I finally understood, “Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife.”  Which makes just about as much sense as what I was previously saying, if you ask me.  And Meatloaf doesn’t exactly have stellar diction.

It’s funny to me, though, when words just all of a sudden click.  Words you never really could make out – or didn’t realize you had made out incorrectly – all of a sudden appear in your mind. Like you’re hearing them for the first time. Then, suddenly, you don’t know why you hadn’t heard it in the first place. For example, the song Out Tonight in RENT.  I used to basically howl vowel sounds at one part, until one day I finally just heard. “You’re on line with the feline of Avenue B.”  It was the Avenue B part that I never understood.  I literally didn’t even have words that I thought it COULD be.  “Avenue B” just wasn’t in my realm of familiarity at twelve years old.  It wasn’t until I moved to New York that it clicked. It didn’t help that no one who’s not from the Tri-State area says “on line” when they mean standing IN a line, not perusing the internet.

Then, of course, there are those times were you simply have to put your foot down. Half the time, when I realize I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics, it’s because my version is better. Yeah, I went there.

My mother and I had/are having an ongoing war about the lyrics to Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats“.  Every few months one of us will email the other with a website that supports our own lyrics.  This war is partially because I’m stubborn and think my version makes more sense.  It’s also partially to prove my point that you can find evidence to support just about any theory – no matter how ridiculous or even WRONG it is – on the internet if you know how to search for it.  Hence the email war.  Anyway, she seems to think the lyrics are, “Three dollars worth of that bathroom Polo” while I heard, “Three dollars worth of that bathroom cologne”.  Upon listening more closely, it’s clear to me that she seems to be saying “Polo” (and if you tell my mother I said that, I will gut you) but I don’t really care.  “Cologne” fits in just as well with it’s one syllable and long ‘o’ vowels, and it is accessible to a wider audience.  I had no idea what “bathroom Polo” was before my mother explained it to me in tiresome detail whilst trying to prove her point.  And I’m this American Idol’s target audience.

I was doing her a favor, if you ask me.

I could (and just might) write many more entries on lyrics I misheard.  I got into the bad habit of just guessing and going with it long before I had the ability to look up the lyrics right there in the car.  It’s kind of fun my way.  Definitely makes for interesting conversation when someone catches you singing something wrong.

And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 03/04/2011.

One Response to “Hold Me Close, Young Tony Danza”

  1. […] As Marie mentioned in her introduction, I do tend to write fiction and creative non-fiction, so here are some posts to check out if you’re new here. Because my writing is all over the place. Sometimes I write fiction, sometimes I use prompts, sometimes I write Glee recaps [Gleecaps, if you will], sometimes I do creative writing, sometimes I just write about life, love and laughter! […]

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