Racing Like a Pronoun

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Most of us have at least one song that we thought we knew the lyrics to, only to realize we were singing the wrong words.  I do it all the time, but one of my strangest came from my favourite album, Boxer by The National.  The song is “Racing Like a Pro” and it describes someone who’s miserable in his middle class job and middle class life, and doesn’t know how to escape it.  The real lyrics are:

“Your mind is racing like a pro now
Oh my god it doesn’t mean a lot to you”

And of course the first time I listened, I heard line one as “Racing like a pronoun”.  I’m a writer and probably think about pronouns more than the average person, but still?  Do pronouns race?  If so, is Nathan Detroit placing bets on them?

Everyone in my family has their own misheard lyrics.  My husband listened to The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” for years, including the line “Yeah, all your sickness/ I can suck it up”.  Except his personal variation was “All your sickness/ I’m a sunken duck”.  True story.

And my youngest daughter told me about one of her own.  In “Viva La Vida”, she thought “Now in the morning I sleep alone” was actually “In the morning I sleep til noon”.  She couldn’t figure out why that was supposed to be a bad thing.

What about you?  What’s your most entertaining misheard lyric?

And if you haven’t entered my 100 Follower Giveaway yet, you’ve still got a chance! 

25 comments:

Jess said...

This was fun to read! I especially like the part about your daughter not being able to figure out what was wrong with sleeping until noon :)

Carol said...

That was really funny!
and I'm with your daughter, I wish I could sleep until noon sometimes!

Belinda said...

You know that song with the chorus, "Stop the World," for ever I thought it was "Stocks and Bonds." Made NO SENSE.

Heather said...

I am horrible when it comes to lyrics. I can't remember any of them! :)

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I used to think Rod Stewart's "...you are my heart, you're in my soul, you are my strength as I grow old..." was really "...you are my heart, you're in my soul, you are my *precious Idaho*..." I am generally terrible with lyrics.

Beth said...

Belinda and Kirsten, I love your lyrics! It's gratifying to see that I'm not the only one who makes these mistakes!

Ruth said...

My worst is "Groove is in the Heart", which I thought was (and still sing) "Roses in the Heart". Sheesh.

Raina said...

Very funny! This really made me smile. I make mistakes with lyrics all the time. My favorite is my cousin Nancy thought the singer of the song Sexual Healing was saying "your my Nancy" when it was saying "your my medicine."

Claudia said...

My husband. Yes - I cannot divulge his mis-interpreted lyrics. I think it would be a breach of marital bliss. My favorites are always the children's lyrics - the truly sing what they hear. And it's never what you think.

Janet Johnson said...

'The sunken duck' is hilarious!

I do this all the time, but can't think of a good example at the moment. Most times I'm just blissfully ignorant about it anyway. Maybe it's better that way. ;)

Joanne said...

I'm with Janet, I do this often too. But hey, as long as we're in the groove :)

Monet said...

Smile. This was so cute. I can completely relate as a former English teacher and writer. I would have thought the same! I can't think of anything now...but I'm sure I will later on tonight. My memory seems to work like that!

Shanae Branham said...

I really enjoyed hearing about all of your families misheard lyrics. Thanks for stopping by my blog and helping me see the criticism of my screenplay as a "real coup"!

Sue said...

My daughter thought Neil Diamond was singing "Reverend Lugi" when he really sings "Forever in blue jeans". :)

Domestic Goddess Wannabe said...

My dad does this all the time so your post made me smile :)

Manzanita said...

This is a fun and delightful post. I'm with Claudia in that kids usually hear something totally different. When my son was little.... the Beatles sang, "When I saw her face..." He was singing "When a sour face."

Valerie said...

As a child, I loved the song "Smoke on the Otter".

Great post, Beth! :D

Table Talk said...

I am the queen of singing the wrong lyrics...the worst offense was with an old Police song "Canary in a Coal Mine" I would sing "Canary in a Coma"

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

What a fun post! I know that there are songs that I have sung wrong, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. I do know that I got new ear buds for my ipod and I was totally shocked at what I could hear between the songs on one of my favorite rapper cd's. My daughter is no longer allowed to listen to that one.

Lena said...

I just found out that there is a word for this! It's called "mondegreen." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen
Thanks for the fun post!

Amie Kaufman said...

My favourite is one of my husband's. He heard a Brittney Spears song on the radio and apparently when she was singing 'do you want a piece of me?' he thought she was singing 'do you want a piece of meat?'.

Joanne said...

Haha I do that all the time with lyrics, suiting them to fit my lexicographical needs. It's always funny to find out what they really say.

Barbara said...

Do you want a list? I could make one...that's how bad I am! :)

Mary said...

Any who need a giggle would get one listening to my grandson's sing their favorite songs. Too dear! I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Lynne said...

I have so many that I can't think of just one. The younger kids seem to figure all the words-maybe it's my age. It does get funny though!

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