I had the unfortunate occurrence of seeing Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” video while at the gym the other day. I’d post a clip of it, but I can’t bring myself to.
The chorus of this “song” is as follows:
“Come here, rude boy, boy, can you get it up?
Come here, rude boy, boy, is you big enough?
Take it, take it, baby, baby, take it, take it, love me, love me”
It gets more blatant.
Now, I have no problem with vulgarity, that’s not my issue with this lyrical atrocity. My problem is that it’s just not interesting. It doesn’t challenge the listener. It doesn’t evoke any type of feeling, except maybe for the delusional souls who think they have a chance at sleeping with Rihanna. Not to mention it’s not musically redeeming, either.
Now, I’m not saying that any of the songs I am going to mention are wonderful examples of brilliant songwriting, but I’m just saying that at least there is some attempt at metaphor. Not to mention melody.
“You got the peaches I got the cream
Sweet to taste saccharine”
~ “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard
“Rubbin’ sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite”
~ “Afternoon Delight” by Starland Vocal Band
And, in the slightly more subtle department:
“If she’s put together fine
And she’s readin’ my mind
I can’t stop, I can’t stop myself
Lightning is striking again”
~ “Lightning Strikes” by Lou Christie
Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” is possibly the most innuendo laden song I’ve ever heard:
“I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruitcage
Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruitcage
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be”
And then, there’s Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin’s entire discography is about sex. Really, if it’s not about LOTR, it’s about sex. Here’s the tip of the iceberg in “Trampled Underfoot”:
“Trouble-free transmission, helps your oil’s flow
Mama, let me pump your gas, mama, let me do it all
Dig that heavy metal, underneath your hood
Baby, I could work all night, believe I’ve got the perfect tools”
On second thought, maybe bad metaphor isn’t really any better than no metaphor.