Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thursday 13: At The Risk Of Repeating Myself

Header from samulli

At the moment, I'm trying to edit a novel and, as I travel on that journey, I'm coming across a lot of repetition that I have to fix. While doing this, it's struck me how unfair it is that songs can get away with as much repetition as they like, indeed they thrive on it, and I've thought how slightly funny it would be if songs were edited to remove their repetition. So here are thirteen examples of why editing songs to remove their repetition just wouldn't work:

1. The Hallelujah Chorus

Back in 1741, George Frideric Handel wrote this song, which repeats the word hallelujah over and over again. Sure, it could stand to lose a couple here and there, but if all the repetition was stripped, it would hardly be a chorus, and so would just be called Hallejulah (like that Leonard Cohen song, the one which repeats the word hallejulah over and over again).

2. The Mamas & The Papas' "Monday Monday"

If you remove all of the repetition, this would open with "Monday, nah , can't trust that day". Somehow I don't think Monday by The Mas & Pas would have been quite that big a hit.

2-4. Various Beatles Songs

"She loves you, yeah," doesn't quite have the same impact as the original, and you can hardly sing along drunkenly with ever-increasing volume to the minimalist "La, Hey Jude". If that's not bad enough, the chorus of Yellow Submarine would just be one line.

5. Musical Notes

They're always using the notes A to G in songs, but H to Z never get a look in. What kind of musical conspiracy is that?

6. Gladys Knight & The Pips

Sadly, since their sole purpose in live was to repeat her words, the Pips would all be leaving (leaving) on the Midnight Train to unemployment.

7. Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody

"Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening" is a bit long-winded. Thunderbolts are just lightning bolts, which is a subset of lightning, so this could be reduced to "Lightning, very frightening". Don't even get me started on the Galileos.

8. On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas

The first eleven verses are made fairly redundant by the twelfth which relates near enough everything that's gone before. The twelfth verse would be sufficient, although, maybe just a preamble is needed about how the true love kept increasing the Christmas presents, never thinking of the storage and maintainance problems they would cause, nor the pointlessness of buying more rings than the receiver's fingers could possibly ever accommodate.

9. Happy Birthday

As an attempt at topicality, I'll drag in this song on this day of birthdays (Shakespeare was born and died on this day, it's also my sister's birthday today, and most importantly of all, it's the birthday of Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man). Anyway, if the song was sliced down to the minimal "Happy Birthday to you, dear " then no one would have had the time to taken the requisite deep breath to blow out their candles, and as a result all those wishes would be lost.

10. Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"

Maybe Meat would have had more time to actually get around to doing that, if he hadn't spent so much time mentioning "I would do anything for love".

11. 2 Unlimited's "No Limits"

A song that seems to consist mostly of the line "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no ,no ,no, no there's no limit!". If something was done about the repetition then the song would be in danger of vanishing, although, on the plus side, there'd be far less negativity present.

12. Pussycat Dolls - Don't Cha

Just because the Dolls have made up a new mispronounciation of "Don't you" they feel obliged to repeat it ad infinitum. Clearly by their next record Stickwitu the novelty of repeating made-up words had dimmed slightly.

13. Britney Spears' Song

I can't remember what it's called, only the lyrical genius that is the chorus, which goes something like "Womanizer, woman-womanizer, you're a womanizer. Oh, womanizer, oh, you're a womanizer baby. You, you-you are, you, you-you are Womanizer, womanizer, womanizer (Womanizer)". Maybe removing repetition from songs wasn't such a bad idea after all.


Alice Audrey said...

We would be living in a very different world without the repetition in songs.

The Bumbles said...

I am utterly amused at your Britney impersonation :0)

As Queen would say - Magnifico - oh - oh - oh - oh - oh - oh (much more interesting that way).

A Blog In The Rough said...

I was having fun reading your mentioning of such songs from the Beatles, meatloaf and the mama's and papa's until you ripped the carpet out from under me with the PussyCat Dolls and Britney Spears, GAG!

PennyLane said...

ha ha..I am a new reader of your blog! I love it! It makes me smile!

I agree with the Meatloaf thing! I despise this song with a passion. Actually, most of his songs are very repetitive and very, very, very long. It's never ending!
Also Britney lately, has been adding a lot of just repeating the song title over and over in her last two albums.

I am a guitar player/song writer but I have not experimented with this yet :)

Rikki said...

Another great idea for a list.
Did you know that we use A-H, but leave out B on the scale? I almost thought I caught you here, until I wiki'd just to make sure. But, of course, you were right.
Does that insufferable whiner Meat Loaf even get around to saying what the "that" is? I'm not sure but it certainly is a terrible song!
I don't think I know the Spears song, but I'm sure you got it right. Her success is a prime example of the triumph of shallowness over substance.

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Thanks for the comments.

Alice Audrey - Indeed we would. Happy Belated T13.

The Bumbles - I'm utterly amused by your Queen impersonation too.

A Blog In The Rough - I'm sorry for making you gag. Songs were chosen purely for repetition, and I clearly should have taken into account your gag reflex. From now on, well after these comments, consider this blog a Britney and Pussycat Dolls free zone (oh no, hope I haven't made you gag again).

PennyLane - Hello, new reader, I'm always happy to make people smile. To be honest, I'm a big fan of Meat Loaf, and don't mind his songs being so long (I always feel I'm getting my money's worth when I put him on the jukebox), but if you don't like the songs I can see how they might well seem interminable. As for Britney, I was only thinking of Womanizer, but now that you mention it, yeah, she has been repeating a lot of her song titles lately.

Rikki - You leave out the B? How bizarre (presumably Do-Re-Mi still survives intact). As for Meat Loaf, the thing that he won't do is go "screwing around", but it's only mentioned at the end of the song, so you've probably never stuck around that long into the song. I agree with your comments about Ms. Spears.

Rikki said...

Well, we don't actually leave it out, we rather skip it. I said that wrong; B is called H.
The "that" is screwing around? Does that make any sense? From the title I would assume it is something he's asked to do for love, but it is against his principles, so he won't do it, even if not doing it kills the love. Either I got that totally wrong or I should stop overanalyzing Meat Loaf, I suppose.