Monday, December 30, 2013

Economy in Song Lyrics

How can song lyrics be economical? I write about three types:
  1. Songs with expressions repeatedly peppered throughout
  2. Instrumentals with the song title in it, frequently with few or no additional words
  3. Songs that have one verse, repeated one or more times
The idea for writing about economical lyrics has popped up for a few years, but percolated a bit more when I heard "Deck the Halls" recently, thinking about the "fa la la" part . Another Christmassy song came to mind—"Angels We Have Heard On High Lyrics " with drawn-out "Gloria" ("GLaw-aw-aw-aw-aw ... riah"). Funny that few lyrics websittes spell Gloria as actually sung.
Extreme examples of repeated chanting expressions ("n" words!) that pervade a song:
  • "Nobody But Me" by the Human Beinz, written by Isley Brothers ("Shout") loads up on "No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no …". This Songfacts Lyrics webpage includes trivia and comments.
  • Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye uses the na-na chant throughout, including fadeout, fadein, and seemingly endless looping. This ST Lyrics webpage states near the end "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye [repeat many times and fade out]". No kidding about many times!
  • The ending of "Hey Jude" ("nah nah nah …") is another example of repeat-many-times in a song, although the end is a final "HEY JUDE".
The previous three songs predominantly feature "no" or phonetic variation of "no". In some songs, the spoken or sung lyrics are the same as the titles, maybe to better remind listeners what the song title is. Some examples:
"Woo Hoo" features one main utterance (ok, maybe two) was obscure enough that the song title initially eluded me—The Rock-A-Teens -- Woo Hoo (lyrics). More recently, "Woo Hoo" was popularized by a group named 5,6,7,8 for "Kill Bill" starring Uma Thurman (lyrics). On a barely related note, Homer Simpson has uttered woo hoo for the past 25 years.

The following five songs repeat their verses—no story here!

What songs cross your mind that fit the lyrics economy models I listed?

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