We’ve all experienced it before with a great song: no matter how many times you’ve listened to it, even if you can sing the entire thing from memory, there’s always some part where the lyric sounds like pure and complete jibberish. It goes without saying that Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam should probably tie for most wins. Here are the greatest perpetrators of recent note, and the reason why Rap Genius became our best friend.
"The Wire" - Haim: Danielle Haim’s funky inflection is what makes this song so great and slightly misunderstood.
The lyric: Always keep your heart locked tight/Don’t let your mind retire/But I just couldn’t take it/I tried hard not to fake it but I fumbled it when it came down to the wire
"Last Night" - The Strokes: Julian Casablancas’ voice is very special. So special that he manages to take a perfectly understandable sentence and turn it into a foreign language.
The lyric: And I don’t know why/I keep walkin’ for miles
"Debaser" - The Pixies: Okay, gotta let Black Francis off the hook slightly for this one. Turns out the perpetrating lyric in this song was actually in a different language.
In French, un chien andalusia = an andalusian dog
"Pompeii" - Bastille: One of the most popular pop songs last year was characterized by epic chanting and the fact that the best part of the chorus was unintelligible.
The lyric: How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
"Suck My Kiss" - Red Hot Chili Peppers: Anthony Kiedis’ signature, need for speed rap-singing is what gives RHCP its unique flavor. The band has a lot of verses that require Google to understand, this being just one example.
The lyric: Someone full of fun/Do me ‘till I’m well done/Little Bo Peep/Comin’ from my stun gun
"Yellow Ledbetter" - Pearl Jam: Most of the time, there’s always at least one part of Pearl Jam song that you know you’re not hearing quite right. The exception is “Yellow Ledbetter,” which is 99% jibberish, we’re convinced. Even Rap Genius doesn’t sound sure of itself when presenting the lyrics.
Lyric sample: Once I saw her on a beach of weathered sand/And on the sand I wanna leave it again. Yeah/On a weekend I wanna wish it all away, yeah/And they called and I said that “I want what I said” and then I call out again…
"If I Ever Feel Better" - Phoenix: Phoenix’s earliest hit was characterized by Thomas Mars saying really eloquent things in English with really out-there punctuation and delivery.
The lyric: No one knows the hard times I went through/If happiness came I miss the call/The stormy days ain’t over/I’ve tried and lost know I think that I pay the cost
"The Boys of Summer" - Don Henley/Ataris: Sure, we didn’t know what we were singing when we blasted this song in the car the summer before high school, but that didn’t stop us from singing it as loud as we could.
The lyric: But I can see you/Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun/You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby