This is a post really examining the lyrics of Train songs. Why? Because they are bad. Just downright ... bad. The music is catchy and I'm still always hoping for a stroke of genius like they had when they launched with "Drops of Jupiter." The lyrics there were weird, but that seemed to be the point. It worked.
But as I've been listening recent lyrics, it makes me think about how, as writers, we have to be so careful not to just string words together that sound "pretty," but that also have some meaning beneath their surface. So, I'm going to be examining Train songs, one by one, for fun!! and maybe even to help my own craft as a writer. (Nah - this is really more about having fun.)
So, in the spirit of Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs (one of the funniest books EVER!!), I present the first edition of Jessie Harrell's Blog of Bad Train Songs.
Can’t swim so I took a boat
To an island so remote
Only Johnny Depp has ever been to it before.
(Pause: While I do like the Pirates of Caribbean pop culture reference here, wouldn't you have to take a boat to an island that remote anyway, whether or not you could swim?)
Stayed there 'til the air was clear.
(Clear of what? You're in the middle of nowhere.)
I was bored and out of tears,
Then I saw you washed up on the shore.
(So now the mermaid can't swim too?)
I offered you my coat,
Thank goddess (really?) love can float
(good to know - apparently unconscious mermaids remain buoyant. At least, I presume she was unconscious in order to "wash up on the shore")
Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was comin’ in.
We talked 'til the sun went down.
Love on the Puget Sound.
(Okay -let's stop right there. Puget Sound is in Washington, near Vancover - nowhere near the Caribbean for those of you keeping track. It has been inhabited since 1833, meaning it is not "remote" - or even an island, actually, but an estuary.)
My treasure map was on your skin.
Beauty in the water,
Angel on the beach.
I thought love was out of reach
'Til I got her.
Had I known it could come true
I would have wished in ’92
(At first I thought this was a totally clever reference to the movie Splash. Until I realized that the movie came out in '84. Disney's The Little Mermaid was out in '89. Some research reveals that Golden Films did release a direct to DVD animated version of The Little Mermaid in '92. Unless this is what they're referring to, it appears that the only significance '92 has is that it rhymes with "true" and "you")
For a mermaid just like you, whoa,
Just like you, whoa.
Sharks green with envy, they wonder what you see in me
(Maybe we have entered an animated film, seeing as how fish now have feelings.)
Funny but sometimes can’t help but wonder that as well
(Based on the quality of your lyrics, we're all wondering at this point.)
Now life is a holiday, making up for the years I paid
The way to this heavenly bay it went through hell
Rescued you by the banyan tree,
All the girlfish in the sea
(STOP! Girlfish? Is Pat Monahan letting his 10 year old nephew write the lyrics now?)
Couldn't hold a candle to you,
They don’t have a handle on you,
They don’t have a scandal on you
I love Ecco Sandals on you
(Dude. This is truly LOL stupid. How does a mermaid - get that: mermaid, as in tail but no feet - get sandals on a remote island no one has ever been to?)
Saving me was B-I-G,
(I thought you saved her by the banyan tree?)
All the boyfish in the sea
(Seriously, girlfish wasn't enough?)
They all wish that they could be me
(I know I sure do. If I could make millions for writing this inane crap, I'd be a jazillionaire by now.)
Here's my takeaway from the song. It's about an animated children's movie in which a lost Caribbean treasure hunter finds himself stranded 1/2 way around the world in the Puget Sound with a mermaid who is swimming-challenged and likes to try on sandals despite her lack of feet. All the other mermaids are gossipy bitches or jealous jerks (as are the sharks). The hero and heroine fall in love on the first day they meet. Sound about right?
And there you have it, my first running commentary to Train lyrics. I hope you enjoyed this (and are not offended!) and will come back and join me next Thursday, as we deconstruct more god-awful Train lyrics.