I have to admit that I frequently substitute the words in pop songs, either to fit the situation (“Get your Crocs on, get your Crocs on honey”) or just because it amuses me (“Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard!”). My current favourite is to sing “She’s got a chicken to hide” along to the Beatles song, mainly because I have a developed a whole surreal backstory where the hero presents a chicken to a random lady and says “Quick! Hide this!”.
So it is not surprising that my daughter thought I was doing the same thing when I sang “Get along with Starbucks lovers” to Taylor Swift’s Blank Space (actual lyric is “Got a long list of ex lovers”). The thing is, I thought “Starbucks lovers” was the actual lyric. What is more I had thought it was pretty good. I had actually spent time thinking about what Taylor meant when she chose this line, dismissing the obvious meaning (people who love Starbucks) and assuming instead that it was a very clever metaphor. I thought Ms Swift was making an astute observation on society, comparing the transitory and superficial nature of relationships for the Tinder generation with the coffee shop culture that pervades modern life. You could even go as far as to think that the ‘Blank Space’ of the title where ‘I write your name’ is a reference to the barista writing your name on the side of the cup when you order your drink.
I feel a bit disappointed.
I suppose this is a classic example of reading far too much into song lyrics, not even the actual lyrics in my case. In fact I think this happens a lot with novels as well. I’ve sat in the back of classrooms watching students discussing what exactly the author might have been thinking when he chose a particular word. “Every word is chosen for a reason!” I remember a teacher saying.
But I don’t think the reason is always deep and meaningful and symbolic. Sometimes stuff just sounds good.
So I’m just going to go back to making up silly lyrics to sing along. Do you ever do that? If so, why not share with the group and leave a comment?