5 Times I Gravely Misunderstood Song Lyrics


These are a series of stories mostly about slip-ups, song lyrics and college. If you read on you will learn about the five times I misunderstood song lyrics and five consequences that ensued.

Number Five: I think what must have happened is that the first time I heard Chris Brown’s “Loyal” was on the radio. In the clean radio version, the line goes, “These girls ain’t loyal,” which I heard as, “These girls aren’t lawyers.” You can probably imagine the lack of street cred I racked up for that one.

Number Four: It’s Spring Break of my junior year of college. I’m in Panama City, Florida with about fifteen of my closest friends. We rented a whitewashed beach house with a huge wrap-around porch, mismatched furniture, and for decoration, a few framed prints of fading, bloated fish. If you were to stumble in through our back door, you would have come across a rosy-cheeked freshman passed out in his clothes from the night before, a group of us playing drinking games at the sticky kitchen table and my freckled friend on the porch, bonging beer after beer and asking anyone who looked her way, “Wanna bong a burr?”

I can’t remember a time during this trip when we weren’t listening to music. One of the songs we kept playing was “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters. I was out on the porch with a bunch of my friends, drinking and laughing when this song came on, so when the chorus began to play, I sang right along. “Only the voices!” I belted out, only to be informed that the lyric was in fact, “Only the horses.” Word spread quickly in that beach house and the rumor was out: Audrey hears voices. At that point I took my friend up on her offer and “bonged a burr.”

Number Three: I was back home this past December, sitting down with my family for Christmas Eve dinner. Sometime after trying to wrap my head around my brother’s new job description at an investment company, and before we all started arguing about what haircut my other brother should get, “Evil Woman,” by Electric Light Orchestra came on. I made the mistake of singing along, and my mom stared at me. I thought maybe she was being confrontational because I had chimed in that my brother should shave his beard, and she couldn’t bare to see it go, but it turned out that stare had nothing to do with my brother’s facial hair.

I was singing “medieval woman” instead of “Evil woman.” I had heard that song hundreds of times, but it wasn’t until this past Christmas Eve that my mom pointed out I was hearing it all wrong. She found it hilarious.

Number Two: Remember the “Let’s bong a burr” girl? She makes a comeback for this story. I was in her room senior year of college and we were sitting in her bed watching a lyric video for the MKTO song, “Classic.” God, that song is catchy. Anyway, there’s a part in that song in which they start naming people who are, you guessed it, classic.

The names scroll across the screen. “Hepburn. Beyoncé.” And then this one comes up. “Marilyn MASSIVE.” We were rolling in laughter, assuming the line was actually Marilyn Manson and that the creator of this lyric video was horribly mistaken.

However, I later watched an acoustic version of the band singing this track, and I think they really are saying “Marilyn massive.” Looks like my friend and I didn’t get the last laugh after all.

Number One: This one wasn’t actually me, but I was a part of this wonderful moment so I count it as one of my experiences. I’m not sure if it was like this for other people, but I went to college in the south where the song “Wagon Wheel” was an anthem during those four years.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I left for a two-day retreat as part of a class I was taking. During this time, my suitemate, also a fan of “Wagon Wheel,” but unaware what a toke was, wrote on my Facebook wall, “Miss you Audge. Let’s have a toke when you get back.” She was familiar with the lines, “Walkin’ due south out of Roanoake / I caught a trucker out of Philly / Had a nice long toke,” but she assumed that a toke was a talk. Close enough.