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I’m really bad at paying attention to lyrics in songs. Most of the time I’ll get into a track just because I like the beat or its sound brings up a long-lost memory. But sometimes I’ll catch just a little snippet of the lyrics and think I know understand the song. Take, for example, the first song of this album: “Wop-A-Din-Din.” For the longest time I thought it was written about a sexy, exotic lover because of the first few verses:

She’s got big green eyes
And a long Egyptian face
She moves across the floor
At her own pace
When I’m here in bed
She’ll jump up on my chest
And when we lock eyes there’s so much love
I wanna cry

Wow, I thought, that’s a pretty intense. Big green eyes, long Egyptian face…this chick must be quite a looker. Yeah it’s a little weird that she jumps up on his chest but she’s probably just primed for some lovins. Those crazy kids.

And that’s how my perception stood for a long time until one day I just happened to catch the wording in the song’s next chunk and it left me scratching my head.

She comes in near
When I scratch under her ear
And she lifts her head
When I kiss around her neck

Won’t go to sleep
When she falls along my side
And two green eyes fade
To a porcelain marble white
And somehow when I sleep
She’ll end up at my feet
And if I roll and kick her out
I might knock her to the ground
But she’ll come back anyhow

Why is he scratching his lover behind the ear and making her sleep at his feet? The song took a total 180 and I actually felt pissed that he was treating her so crudely.

Then I looked over at my cat, Piano Little, as she took a stretch break from her 22 hour nap in a pile of laundry and it all became clear. The big green eyes, Egyptian face, jumping on his chest, scratching of the ear. This wasn’t some sultry Mediterranean fling. Wop-a-din-din is his kitty and I am a fool.

It was really quite obvious after taking n the time to listen to what’s right out in the open. After this I told myself I’d never listen to a song again without understanding its true meaning. And for a while I did listen to the lyrics and found that most of the songs that I liked now really bothered me. They were either too repetitive, too trite or too confusing. Sometimes I just don’t get things.

So I’m back to merely absorbing the tones of the human voice instead of comprehending the underlying message. Yes perhaps that makes me a philistine but maybe if I wanted to read a poem I’d go to the library. Asshole.

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