Who hasn’t listened to the lyrics of a song, and thought “wait-what?” Pop music is full of awkward (and just plain wrong) rhyming, non-linear thought processes, and incorrect grammar. Encyclopedia of Music has made a short list of some of the most awkward lyrical offenses that artists like Jay Z, Ariana Grande, and NWA have gotten away with. Feel free to add your most absurd lyrical offenses in the comment section below.
Number One: Ariana Grande – Break Free. Ariana Grande’s Zedd-collab “Break Free” may be a smash hit, but the song has also attracted negative attention for its awkward lyrics. In “Break Free,” Grande commits two major crimes against lyricism with “Now that I’ve become who I really are” and, “I only wanna die alive,” neither of which makes any sense. Ariana Grande has tried defending the grammatical errors, claiming she fought against producer and co-writer Max Martin, saying “I fought him on it the whole time…’I am not going to sing a grammatically incorrect lyric, help me God!’ Max was like, ‘It’s funny — just do it!’ I know it’s funny and silly, but grammatically incorrect things make me cringe sometimes.” So while the lyrics of Break Free are…questionable at best, at least, Ariana is fully aware of and perturbed by them.
Number Two: Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty. Is this one really surprising? Not that we’re expecting poetic lyrics from Derulo. His skills lie in choreography and slick dance moves more than profound lyricism. Jason explains the process of meeting international hotties with a checklist in Español in “Talk Dirty.” We have a feeling these lyrics won’t land him too many beautiful latinas. Derulo sings “Uno, met a friend in Rio/ Dos, she was all on me-o/ Tres, we could manage a three-o.”
Number Three: Jay-Z – Heaven. On “Heaven,” off of Roc’s Magna Carta Holy Grail Jay Z raps “You gotta love it/ I arrived at the pearly gates/ I had luggage/meaning I had baggage.” Thanks for the clarification on that one Roc, we weren’t really sure. Jay Z may be the ‘King of New York’ but these lyrics are almost indicative of sheer laziness. Need we have to mention the genius hook of “Tom Ford”? Is the Jay-Z even trying anymore?
Number Four: LFO – Summer Girls. This 90s hit was probably made popular because of it’s ridiculous lyrics. Every other line deserves spot on this list. The stand out line is “When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet/ Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets.” Even ignoring the fact that this couplet doesn’t even rhyme, it makes absolutely no sense. “Summer Girls” works better as a testament to LFO’s short attention span than a summertime fling. Another gem from the song is the disjointed “New Kids On Block had a bunch of hits/ Chinese food makes me sick.”
Number Five: NWA – Express Yourself. The lyrics on this one go: “Moving like a tortoise/ full of rigor mortis.” We admit tortoises are slow-moving creatures, but saying something is “full of rigor mortis” is not only awkward, it’s also physically impossible. If a turtle really had rigor mortis, it would be paralyzed, and not moving at all. It sounds like NWA just got lazy on this one, but we’re willing to look past it considering they have one of the largest vocabularies in hip-hop.