What's Up Darlin'?
OK, OK... I know there are easier targets to pick on in the world of hackneyed, cliché-ridden song lyric writing than the otherwise talented Dizzee Rascal. I'm actually a pretty big fan of some of his work, particularly 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' from his precociously impressive first album, Boy in da Corner, and the unfortunately titled but belting Brit-hop Grime single 'Pussy'Ole (Old Skool)' from his third release, Maths + English.
But this little snippet of comedy gold is just too good to ignore, revealing as it does the way in which music artists half-disguise such lyrical junk with their vocalisations - which in Dizzee's case, is through rapid-fire, often double dutch style rapping. Get a well-spoken, middle-class radio presenter called Carrie to 'rap' along to the song's tune, however, and what makes for highly danceable Brit-hop descends into the complete farce it lyrically is, and not just because the girl can't rap or sing. I'd recommend watching the original Rascal version (below), before you listen to the Radio 1 spoof (above).
All this, then, and Michael Horovitz was still banging on last week in the Guardian book blogs about 'stuffy academics' ignoring the 'poetry' of Bob Dylan. What Horovitz, like so many others, fails to acknowledge is that there's a reason why the man himself was once so uneasy about critics trawling his lyrics alone for subtext and deeper meanings. You can belittle Germaine Greer as a person (or indeed, academic) all you like, then, but her much-publicised line on song lyrics as poetry is still right, and I'm yet to hear a compelling argument against it: they're not, 'cause all song lyrics collapse without the music they're set to whereas a good poem creates its own music through the rhyme and rhythm of language alone. As I said on this blog a year back, the good poem possesses a singularity that song lyrics - being what they are - lack. Good to see that the majority of reader responses to Horovitz's article were level-headed and considered in their defence of the thrust of Germaine's intelligent standpoint, then.
Oh, and I should point out that I don't think 'Dance Wiv Me' is hilariously solely because it happens to feature that detestable chap Calvin Harris. Not solely.