Monday, December 24, 2007

a verbal substitution

i'm always so disappointed when i hear lyrics, think they are brilliant, and then realise that the brilliant lyrics were actually misheard and incorrect. it always turns out that the real lyrics are never quite as good, inspired, or meaningful than the ones that i imagined were there.

it happened again today. i was listening to "sam's town" by the killers. i love that song. it has a great beat to it, and i saw so much in the first few lines of the song. it turns out, though, that i had one little word messed up, and that changed the entire meaning of the stanza. these are, as i found out, the real lyrics to the opening part of the song:

nobody ever had a dream round here
but i don't really mind that it's starting to get to me
nobody ever pulls the seams round here
but i don't really mind that it's starting to get to me


that's so straightforward: it's starting to annoy him that the people around him are set in their ways, and he's okay with the fact that such a thing bothers him. sure, it's an unusual way to put it. you would think he would just go ahead and say that it annoyed him instead of saying that he wasn't bothered that it was starting to annoy him. it puts some mood of previous ambivalence, but it makes it very clear that the ambivalence is fading away. it makes it clear that he is annoyed at the other people instead of at his own ambivalence.

i thought the second and fourth line said "i don't really mind and it's starting to get to me." that wording meant more to me because it implies that he wasn't getting frustrated with the stagnant people around him so much as he was getting frustrated at his own ambivalence to and complacence with all that stagnation. it implies a certain level of living in one's head: it's not enough to matter to the speaker that the people around him are stuck. he can only bring himself to care about his own reaction to the other people. that's a mindset i have been struggling with a lot lately, one of living in my own head just a little too much, and i felt like that line encapsulated where i was coming from.

the real lyrics just don't do that nearly as well.

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