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For those of you who don't know, a Mondegreen is a mishearing, usually applied to song lyrics, although it can have to do with spoken dialogue and phrases as well. The classic example is thinking that Jimi Hendrix sang "Scuse me, while I kiss this guy."

My favorite example from my own life, is that FOR YEARS, I thought Bruce Springsteen was asking Wendy to "strap your hands cross my inches." (There was an image, let me tell you.)

I think with the internet, there's probably somewhat less of this as there are lyric sites and places to find transcripts of dialogue. Of course those are still done by fallible humans and there's plenty of misinformation out there.

Anyway, I happen to absolutely adore the Elvis Costello song, (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea. My husband used to play it for me on his guitar when we were first going out. This means I've been listening to this song for over 20 years and I ALWAYS thought there was a line that went, "Everybody's got new orders. Be a nice girl and kiss the waters." OK, I didn't know why one would kiss the waters, but thought it might be a religious allusion or just Elvis throwing out some line to rhyme with "orders."

I've always wanted to sing this song at Karaoke and I finally found a version from a website that kindly offers samples so you can hear and see what the CDG will look and sound like. Awesome. Only the snippet I saw showed that the lyric is actually, "Be a nice girl and kiss the warders."

OH! I get it. A warder, being a guard on a ward. Like a Yeoman Warder at the Tower. Hello! DUH. I'm an idiot. Warder actually makes sense and, you know RHYMES with Orders.

Unfortunately, now I have a much better idea of what Elvis was getting at and I kind of wish I didn't. Along with the line, "Men come screaming dressed in white coats, take you very gently by the throat." I have to assume that the "girl" is in a mental institution of some kind and being sexually abused. YUCK!

On the other hand, it's still a great riff, (and would make a great mash-up with All Along The Watchtower), so I'm still probably going to get the Karaoke disc and sing the song. However, it'll also be an angrier, darker rendition.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
Jul. 7th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Well, always nice to learn a new word!

But, eww. I'd not heard the song before so looked up all the lyrics and...not nice. He thinks of all the lips that he licks
And all the girls that he's going to fix

On a side note, I'm in the midst (kind of) of making my first fanmix, and in doing so I'm checking lyrics and stuff online, and it's really surprising me how many of the lyrics sites have it so wrong, even on really easy-to-hear lyrics! Weird.
Jul. 7th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
Well, Elvis Costello lyrics always tend to be on the dark side. Check out Watching The Detectives or even Oliver's Army.

Lots of karaoke discs, especially the old school videos made in Asia have HILAROUS typos and Mondegreens. I always used to imagine some guy in Taiwan listening to the record over and over trying to figure out what some of the lyrics were. Let's face it, some of our greatest performers aren't the best enunciators. (Mick Jagger, Van Morrison etc.)
Jul. 8th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC)
Let me know if you'd like any help on fanmixing...I have a LOT of songs on my Itunes, including fairly obscure stuff, and I love matching songs to characters or pairings.
Jul. 10th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
Aww thankyou :D
I have to admit I'm not sure even where to start, where to upload stuff to, anything... but hopefully I will figure it out! :) The couple I have in mind are both White collar ones for my h/c bingo card.
What are your thoughts on how obscure tracks should be? Do people prefer it in general if most of the songs are from artists they've never heard of?
Jul. 10th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
You'll need something like Sendspace or Mediafire so that you can link the songs. The one thing I have no idea how to do is use WIN-RAR to make a file with all the songs in one place.

I think you need to balance obscure and more common, but please try to avoid stuff that EVERYONE knows and EVERYONE uses. If a song can be applied to almost any ship or character then it's pointless and everyone will have it already anyway.

One thing I like is to use cover versions by less popular or less likely performers or less well known songs by popular performers.

For finding songs that suit a character or ship...try jotting down a few words that you feel express the ship or character and then type them into your Itunes and see what comes up.

I have a LOT of songs in my Itunes, so if you think of a song and you don't have it, I MIGHT be able to give it to you.
Jul. 7th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
I spent YEARS hearing "Groovin" by the young rascals and wondering who the fuck Leslie was till I realized they put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle.
Jul. 8th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
I guess they were Young Rascals; having threesomes and all.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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