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Question for our younger members, and Camy, who's in the business

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I was getting a haircut today. I mention that not to elaborate on the impressive state of my grooming, but as an explanation of why the following happened.

I don't listen to rock music. OK, that sounds a bit like a non sequitur, but it isn't. Just wait. This all hangs together. Anyway, rock music. I won't say it's anathema to me, or, well, maybe I will say that. It covers the subject nicely. But, see, I was in this barbershop, which was one of these modern day places that are more beauty shops than barber shops, at least how barbershops were back in the day. Now the places are unisex, which always seemed to me like a third gender, but I digress.

So I was in this hair emporium and the radio was playing, which I didn't notice till I'd sat down and so it was too late. It was playing rock music, and I was trying to ignore it, but trying to ignore something is in fact sort of concentrating on it. It doesn't work with an itch, and it doesn't work with rock music.

Well, this rock music was playing on the radio, and, inadvertently, definitely inadvertently because I was trying not to listen, I heard the following line sung, or growled, or whatever the word is for the noise the guy was making:

Someone told me you had a boyfriend,

Who looked like a girlfriend

Now that was all I could decipher, although I did, at that point, perk up my ears, not necessarily a smart thing to do with scissors clipping busily away only a half-inch from the meat. But I did try to listen harder at that point to understand what was going on in that 'song'. That was the only lyric I could comprehend, however. That's more than I can usually comprehend of any rock lyric.

But now I'm curious. I don't know if this is being sung to another boy, in which case it's a gay song, or to a girl, in which case it could still be a gay song if some girl is going out with a boy who she really wishes were a girl. If you get my drift here.

So I'm sure someone out there can enlighten me. I don't care what the song is titled, or who's mangling it, I just want to know what happens. Does the boy get the boy or the girl? Does the girl get the boy or the girl? Help me out here!


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First of all, thank you. I'm 43.

You can also say; "get real, I was not talking to you, with your 43." :blink:

Anyhow, I used Google and it came up with this;


Somebody Told Me

Breaking my back just to know your name

Seventeen tracks and I've had it with this game

I'm breaking my back just to know your name

But heaven ain't close in a place like this

Anything goes but don't blink you might miss

Cause heaven ain't close in a place like this

I said heaven ain't close in a place like this

Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight

Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight

Well somebody told me

You had a boyfriend

Who looked like a girlfriend

That I had in February of last year

It's not confidential

I've got potential

Ready? Let's roll onto something new

Taking its toll and I'm leaving without you

I'm ready, let's roll onto something new

'Cause heaven ain't close in a place like this

I said heaven ain't close in a place like this

Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight

Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight

Well somebody told me

You had a boyfriend

Who looked like a girlfriend

That I had in February of last year

It's not confidential

I've got potential

A rushin', a rushin' around

Pace yourself for me

I said maybe baby please

But I just don't know now

When all I wanna do is try


Somebody told me

You had a boyfriend

Who looked like a girlfriend

That I had in February of last year

It's not confidential

I've got potential

A rushin', a rushin' around


Uhmm.... I still don't know the answer. I guess it's a guy who is singing this to a girl, with the strage fact that her boyfriend looked like a girl he was dating earlier...... I feel a connection between those two. I think he does too.

For the rest... Get a bottle of Jack Daniels, drink it, and listen again. You must be in the same state of the writer when he wrote the stuff to understand it, i guess...


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The band is "The Killers". I have no idea to what their thinking but the tune is good.

I'm 43 too, lets do a old people dance. Groan.............

I do rock and variations of it. Really hard and abusive to mellow stuff.

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I now better understand why I dislike rock music.

Even with the lyrics printed out, I don't have a bloody clue what they're going on about.

I know now I'll never become a milliaire writing rock lyrics. I can't write gibberish worth a damn!

But thanks for the help. Unfortunately, I'm more confused now than I was before.

And everyone be sure to bring it back down tonight!


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Maybe it's exactly what I've always thought, singing voices are just instruments and not intended to convey logical meaning. It might just as well be Greek, Latin, or Swahili for all the difference it makes to me.

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1. The singer is (almost always) male.

2. His girlfriend is seeing a boyfriend who looks like (read: is) the singer's old girlfriend.

3. Ergo, his girlfriend is a lesbian or at least is les-curious.

4. The singer is mightily pissed.

Jeez, guys, this is SO simple!

This would make a great topic for a story.

Colin :blink: (who is 20)

(Cole, my DSL connection is still live, I don't know for how long though)

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I now better understand why I dislike rock music. Even with the lyrics printed out, I don't have a bloody clue what they're going on about.

Oh, come on. You're saying The Beatles' music is worthless? Dylan? Paul Simon? And there's a ton of recent stuff that's listenable, even literate and intellectual.

While I mainly listen to rock, I also have a large library of classical and jazz. (In fact, I can only write to jazz or classical -- but rock lyrics get in the way when I'm writing.)

Maybe you should try some of the hybrids between rock and classical, like Moody Blues or ELO. Tons of great stuff there -- and I actually played in an orchestra for years.

Rock is a lot more than just about the lyrics. But I agree, the song you cited has some interesting ideas.

BTW, this same concept goes back to 1965, with The Barbarians' 1965 hit "Are You a Boy, Or Are You a Girl". Partial lyrics...

Are you a boy? Or are you a girl?

With your long blond hair you look like a girl

Yeah, you look like a girl

You may be a boy, hey, you look like a girl

You're either a girl or you come from Liverpool

Yeah, Liverpool

You can dog like a female monkey, but you swim like a stone

Yeah, a rolling stone

You may be a boy, hey, you look like a girl

Hey! Aw!


You're always wearing skin tight pants and boys wear pants

But in your skin tight pants you look like a girl

Yeah, you look like a girl

You may be a boy, hey, you look like a girl


The song was co-written by a young guy, Doug Morris, who is currently the (very angry and outspoken) CEO of Universal Music, the biggest record label in the world. I only discovered the song in the last 10-15 years, and never heard it in the 1960s, but it's unintentionally funny (and certainly gives a mixed message).

And you can hear the song

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The quality of lyrics varies wildly among bands. Some you can tell are very good at writing lyrics. With others lyrics are a distraction or an after thought to their music.

The bands with the best lyrics are the ones that are remembered and stick around.

the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the Kinks

Stone Temple Pilots, Tool, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails

What all of these bands have in common is that their lyrics are better and more substantive than their contemporaries.

Time by Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain

And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking

Racing around to come up behind you again

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say


Home, home again

I like to be here when I can

And when I come home cold and tired

It?s good to warm my bones beside the fire

Far away across the field

The tolling of the iron bell

Calls the faithful to their knees

To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

Schism by Tool

I know the pieces fit cause I watched them fall away

Mildewed and smoldering, fundamental differing,

Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers souls in motion

Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication

The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so

We cannot see to reach an end crippling our communication.

I know the pieces fit cause I watched them tumble down

No fault, none to blame it doesn't mean I don't desire to

Point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over

To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

The poetry that comes from the squaring off between,

And the circling is worth it

Finding beauty in the dissonance

There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away

Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting

I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing

Doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication

Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion

Between supposed lovers

Between supposed lovers

And I know the pieces fit

I agree: most popular music is rubbish. I think the key there is popular because to be popular it has to be dumbed down to the average 12 year old.

However- there is minority of very good writing in rock music and that is the stuff that will stand the test of time and people will be listening to it 10, 20 or 30 years hence.

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Why is it difficult to believe a person can dislike rock music? And why is the 'cure' to listen to a watered down version of it?

When I was younger, I hated raw tomatoes. Thought they were terrible. Always took them off any salads someone had unfortunately stuck them on.

The solution wasn't to force me to eat tomatoes, or to put smaller pieces on my salads, or to hide them in dishes so I'd eat them unknowingly. The solution was, I grew older and found my tastes had changed and I could actually eat them. And then someone gave me some chopped up and mixed with olive oil, basil, salt and garlic and told me it was called bruchetta and I found I loved them.

Nor is the 'solution' to disliking rock music to listen to more of it. I think there is a solution, a partial one. It's getting older, believe it or not. When I was younger, I simply couldn't tolerate it. Now, I can be in a room with it and survive. That's a big change for me.

I can understand that people can't understand. If you love tomatoes, it's beyond you how someone else can hate them. Makes no sense, and so you begin to think there's something wrong with that person who can so dislike what you love. So, I can understand how someone who loves rock or reggae, jazz or alternative, easy listening or be-bop, can find someone who loves classical music and opera and rejects what they like to be a little touched in the head.

Hey, I'm used to it. People have been telling me that all my life.


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But Cole: have you ever tried listening to the Moody Blues' Days of Future Past? Rock doesn't get more classical than that.

Seriously, I speak as a guy who grew up with classical and folk and jazz and all kinds of stuff. Sturgeon's Law still applies: 90% of it is crap. But the reverse is also true... in that 10% of it is pretty good, even borderline great, provided you open up your mind and give it a chance.

(And I absolutely hate tomatoes, BTW, so I'm with you there. I hate broccoli even more. And I also really, really detest seafood... and I grew up in Florida.)

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It isn't the words so much as the cacophony blasting you with discordant notes. I can fully understand Cole's situation, being in a similar position. I have become much less frustrated by music that doesn't seem that way to me, but it truly is an aging thing. In my past I hated rock of all kinds, jazz of all kinds, big band of all kinds, and even lately I can't stand rap, and a lot of other so called music.

Give me a nice violin piece, or simple piano, pan flute, or even in voice like Enya or Nana Mouskouri, and I'm happy.

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Young Dude in CD-shop (Yes they do still exist): Hi Gramps what are you doing here?

Gramps: I'm buying this latest recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture.

Young Dude: How can you listen to that crap, it's got no songs.

Gramps: well it does actually, the themes are all based on folk tunes.

Young Dude: It's all old and has no beat.

Gramps: The beat's just not as obvious as in your rock music.

Young Dude: Whatever, I just don't like all that symphony stuff.

Gramps: What record did you buy?

Young Dude: It's really great, it's the latest Star Trek Soundtrack.

Gramps, Yeah, whatever.

And they each went home and didn't realise they were listening to each other's music... sort of, anyway.

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It isn't the words so much as the cacophony blasting you with discordant notes.

Well, there's always melodic rock. If you can consider The Carpenters rock -- OK, soft rock, at best -- I'd say 90% of their stuff wasn't discordant.

I'd put The Association in that same category (for the most part), from the 1960s. And there's a lot of other mellow stuff that's fairly peaceful, with a standard chord structure, nothing dissonant or weird. Same thing with Bread or America, plus a lot of 1970s folk/rock.

You got me on rap, though. That's pretty hard to listen to, but if I really force myself, there's a half-dozen rap hits I can barely stand. (I still refuse to call rap "music," since I've always defined it as, "urban socio-political poetry set to rhythm," and not following any rules for harmony, structure, or most other conventional kinds of music.)

I tell you what I really hate about modern music: the constant use of Auto-Tune, a digital circuit that forces off-key voices onto the right notes, making their voices sound very metallic and robotic. I didn't mind it so much with Cher's 1999 smash hit "Believe," where they used it as a legitimate effect, but it's so overused today... it makes me grind my teeth in frustration. Plus, they're using it as a crutch to help extremely untalented singers have hit careers. One of the worst developments in music technology ever.

Now, excuse me while I punch up some Chopin piano concertos on the iPod... ahhhhh, that's better.

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Pec, you've got to understand, like being gay, not liking rock is who I am, not something I choose. I would like to like rock, because it would open up a whole new world to appreciate. You surely understand this if you hate tomatoes. Like them, and a whole new food group is there for your enjoyment. Take away that liking, and your world is further circumscribled.

Some of our tastes just are what they are. I'm sure mine evolved from how it was at home, where only classical music was heard, and none of that recorded. My father didn't like the radio on, felt it was noise. I did hear music: he was also a classicially train pianist of some ability, so I heard classical chamber music live in my home throughtout my formative years.

Some kids, in their rebellioius years, reject all that their parents are. I didn't do that. I don't know why. Again, life would have been easier had I conformed to how my peers were. I rarely did. It's hard to say figure out the why of some things.

There are some things that I like that you can't call strictly classical. The Beetle's Tomorrow is very nice. There are some movie soundtracks I like. Musical comedies from the 40s through the 70s were often wonderful. But for the most part, popular music just doesn't do it for me, for the reasons Trab gave, and others, like lack of structure, inability to hear let alone understand any lyrics, use of a drum and rhythm machine, too heavy and unrelenting a drum beat, complete lack of melody in many of the songs, and on and on.

You can explain why I'm wrong on this all you want. And then I'll explain to you how much you relliy should like tomatoes. In the end analysis, we like what we like.


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Question for our younger members, and Camy, who's in the business

I want it known that I've never cut anyone's hair, and I am not, and don't intend to become a hairdresser. I thank you. :blink:

As for the rest, dunno. You do what you do, record it, and hope for the best. Personally, I can't abide opera. ;)

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Despite my age, I don't have much patience for general rock music. Take the aforementioned song by The Killers, for instance - it sounds like it's just one long chorus. They keep saying the same thing over and over. Booooring.

There are really two things on which I judge music:

1 - Lyrical content. I can listen to anything of any genre, provided the lyrics are interesting to me. Whether they're socially relevant, like much of peace punk, anarcho/socialist folk, or activist rap, or whether they just have a lot of cool wordplay and challenging vocabulary, like abstract rap or nerdcore.

2 - Honesty/genuineness. I hate, hate, HATE songs that feel "fake," in which the performer comes off like a bad cartoon character. "Party, party, rock and roll! WOOO!" falls under this category, as does "Guns, money, and hoes" rap, and "tough guy" hardcore. I respect musicians that show themselves as they really are. Auto-tune and studio tracks that seem very, very polished and produced fall under this category, as well. I like to hear the rough edges, the voices cracking, the fingers sliding up and down the strings between notes, the pops and hisses. It reminds me that there's an actual person making that song, rather than a bunch of guys in suits telling their studio techs how to make it more marketable. To quote one of my favorite songs on the topic:

"They know how to produce a hit

Same formula in every track

That?s not art, that?s just wrong

Same ol' shit in every song

But zombies, they just sing along."

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No, the song is not quite that old. It's from 2004, and only made it to #54 on the American Billboard charts. Ironically, the song did a lot better in Australia and the UK, even though The Killers were an American group.

To me, a song is only an "oldie" if it's at least 25 years or older. Sadly, that means stuff from 1985 is now considered old. But "classic oldies" in radio typically mean hits from the 1950s, 1969s, and some of the 1970s.

It's scary to consider that fairly cutting-edge classic rock songs like The Police's "Every Breath You Take" (1983) are now starting to get played on oldies stations. Yikes...

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It's not just scary, but sad. The people who like the REAL oldies now get crap. They'll have to make a new classification: ancients. :blink:

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