Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Before E, Party People.

I heard three similar songs in a row yesterday on the radio and then waited for the DJ to mention something about the theme, but he did not. It's possible that he didn't plan or notice the resemblance because it seems to be an increasingly popular trend in P-O-P-ular music.

Spelling out words in songs has become about as common as the use of the words baby, or girl, or club. Actually, I'm pretty sure that if you just spelled out Baby, Girl, and Club, and then put a catchy little beat under it with a few instructions to clap, you'd have a hit on your hands.
I saw you in the c-l-u-b (clap clap clap)
You were standing next to m-m-m-me (clap clap clap)
B-a-b-y can't you see (clap clap clap)
And that doesn't even rhyme, or make sense, or sound good. And that's ok. There's a song out now about an elevator. Anything goes.

The three songs I heard on the radio were Fergie's "Glamorous," Danity Kane's "Damaged," and a guy named Webbie with "Independent." (Webbie really kept it street with his rap name. I definitely feel more confident with my choice to go with Baby Bok Choy as my name for my debut EP)

Fergie and Will-i-am basically took the spelling thing to its extremes on their own. Will-i-am incorporated it into his name. That's dedication. D to the E to the dication. In "Glamorous," F to the E,R,G the I the E shows us that glamour means being able to spell glamorous many times. Also, she shows us that one word can take up the entire hook of your song if you spell it slowly enough--a lesson for all you aspiring song writers out there. Can't think of more lyrics? No problem. Just pick a word to spell, and then slow it down.

In their song, "Damaged," Danity Kane (could Sean John P.Puff Diddy Daddy please stop making the band?) asks with perfect spelling:

"Can you fix my h-e-a-r-t?
Cause it's d-a-m-a-g-e-d"

This song is about heart disease and has a serious message about plaque buildup. It is also not very g-o-o-d.

My boy Webbie holds it down with perhaps the best spelling lesson of the year with his song "Independent." "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that mean?" I've heard this song twice and haven't stopped spelling independent since. I'm thinking of switching political parties.

Spelling words in song isn't going anywhere and I imagine it will grow. Soon there will be entire songs spelled out so that while you're driving down the road listening to the radio you'll be like, "H-A-N-D-S U-P, R-N-B-Y-C-O-T-K-V...what's this song about?..." [crash].
And imagine the pressure at the club. Not only do you have to dress right and dance well, but now you have to be a good speller. People at clubs are going to start overhearing things like, "Yeah, she's cute, but she misspelled neighbor."

Note: I'm not really into the club scene, go figure, but just so you know, "bub" as in "bottle full o' bub" is referring to champagne, NOT bubbles. I made that tragic error when I showed up to Les Deux with this thing:

Anyway, I'm hoping the pop-spelling will work into an educational tool somehow, like School House Rock feat. Timbaland and Mnemonic Device. Look for these upcoming tracks:

The K is silent, fool
Spell Check on AutoCorrect
Except After C
and Sound it Out.

That ish would be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.


Anonymous said...

I can't find Baby Girl Club on iTunes yet - do you know when it will be released?

Pamplemousse said...

Jess, you are officially my freakin' HERO.

... you make me laugh so hard it's inappropriate at work.

Anonymous said...

I believe the importance of spelling in popular music is why you don't hear much from rapper "Fabolous" these days. When he raps "They call me F-A-B-O-l-O-U-S" listeners are just left wondering "why would they call you that?" "Are THEY allergic to English"?

Misspellings are only permissible in the name of the band, ie://Korn. That's because songs that spell things out are key tools for people who wish to practice their finger spelling for sign language class.
"They call me b-i-g p-o-p-p-a, no info for the d-e-a"

-The Notorious M.E.G

Jess said...

wait. how do you spell fabolous?
and is there a different way to spell korn? so confused.

biggie smalls wanted to start a reality show about all of hip-hops lils (lil wayne, lil john, lil kim, lil abner)called, "lil people, B.I.G. world." but i guess these people called the Roloffs pitched the idea first.