Thursday, 9 November 2017

"You ain't nothing but a hound dog..."

The lyrics to that song were a model of brevity and simplicity.

Conversely, what makes "Africa" by Toto so enjoyable to listen to is the fact that each second line is so ridiculously long. They must have had a bet going or something. From lyrics.com:

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say "Hurry boy, It's waiting there for you"


It's only the second and fourth lines which rhyme, the rest all leave it hanging. Genius.

Just imagine Leiber and Stoller had applied this technique...

You ain't nothing but a hound dog
A member of genus Canis (canines) that forms part of the wolf-like canids, and the most widely abundant carnivore.
You ain't nothing but a hound dog
You and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa, with modern wolves not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated
You ain't never caught a rabbit
And were the first domesticated species that has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviours, sensory capabilities and physical attributes

6 comments:

Rich Tee said...

The Pet Shop Boys have always made me chuckle with their song titles like "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" and "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore".

And War Baby by Tom Robinson has some long lines in it as well.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RT, top stuff!

Lola said...

You need to get out more...

Mike W said...

MW, Very good, but too complex for me. It's about Taylor Swift lyrics isn't it?

Nick Drew said...

only the second and fourth lines which rhyme

A pedant writes:

tonight / flight

conversation / salvation

way / say

you / do

night / right / inside

company / Serengeti


Mark Wadsworth said...

MW, Taylor Swift is anti-music, it is ghastly.

ND, fuck me, I took my eye off the ball there. Oops.