10 factual and grammatical errors in popular music
by Aaron Zorgel
January 15, 2013
Far be it for us to interfere with an artist’s “poetic license,” but the factual inaccuracies and grammar issues in these lyrics are just begging to be highlighted. Allow us to be total dicks for a moment, and draw your attention to ten lyrical slip-ups made by popular artists.
Disclaimer: any grammatical or factual errors seemingly attributed to the author of this article are placed there intentionally as a test for any smart-ass amateur proofreaders and blog commenters.
Common, “Making a Name for Ourselves” feat. Canibus
Offending Lyric: “I’m your worst nightmare squared / That’s double for niggas who ain’t mathematically aware.”
Analysis: If your worst nightmare is one rapper, one rapper to the power of one rapper is still one rapper. Fear is exponential, y’all.
Correction: “I’m your worst nightmare squared / Based on exponential math, that’s still just one worst nightmare.”
Johnny Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues”
Offending Lyric: “I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on…But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”
Analysis: If Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno (Nevada), he wouldn’t be locked up in Folsom, because it’s a state prison in California.
Correction: “I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on…But I shot a man in Fresno just to watch him die.”
Snow Patrol, “Chasing Cars”
Offending Lyric: “If I lay, if I just lay here / Would you lie with with me, and just forget the world?”
Analysis: We can only assume that Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody is singing in present tense, so he probably means to use the present tense of “lay” all three times in this lyric.
Correction: “If I lie, If I just lie here / Would you lie with with me and just forget the world?”
DMX, “Party Up In Here”
Offending Lyric: “That’s why you layin’ on your back, lookin’ at the roof of the church.”
Analysis: This one is a doozy. We’ll let DMX slide on his use of “you” instead of “you’re” altogether, and attribute it to, you know, rap music. Like Gary Lightbody, DMX probably wants to say “lying” instead of “laying,” and if he’s lying on his back inside of the church, he’s looking at the ceiling, and not the roof.
Correction: “That’s why you’re lyin’ on your back, lookin’ at the ceiling of the church.”
Ke$ha, “Die Young”
Offending Lyric: “Wild childs, lookin’ good / Living hard just like we should.”
Analysis: This one might seem like basic grammar to most people, but perhaps not to an artist who has a dollar sign in her name. The plural of child is children, K-Dolla.
Correction: “Wild children, lookin’ good / Living hard just like we should.”
Postal Service, “Nothing Better”
Offending Lyric: “And I will block the door like a goalie tending the net / In the third quarter of a tied-game rivalry.”
Analysis: This one kind of depends on what sport Ben Gibbard is basing his simile on. If it’s hockey, there are periods and not quarters. In soccer, there are halves. Unless ol’ Gibby is referring to Lacrosse, he’s dead wrong. I have to call bullshit on this one. Ben Gibbard does not seem like a real sports fan.
Correction: “And I will block the door like a goalie tending the net / In the third quarter of a tied Lacrosse game at my local recreational facility.”
Offending Lyric: “Shine bright like a diamond.”
Analysis: Ask any gemologist: A DIAMOND DOESN’T SHINE, IT REFRACTS EXISTING LIGHT SOURCES.
Correction: “Shine bright like an original light source.”
System Of A Down, “Lonely Day”
Offending Lyric: “Such a lonely day, and it’s mine / The most loneliest day of my life.”
Analysis: This is the most redundantest lyric of my life.
Correction: “Such a lonely day, and it’s mine / It’s the loneliest day of my life.”
U2, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”
Offending Lyric: “Early morning, April 4 / Shot rings out in the Memphis sky.”
Analysis: Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination took place around six o’clock in the evening. Professor Bono has acknowledged the error, and changes the lyric to “Early evening” in live performances.
Correction: “My name is Bono / Cut me some slack, you nerds.”
Nicki Minaj, “Starships”
Offending Lyric: “Starships were meant to fly / Hands up and touch the sky.”
Analysis: A starship is a theoretical interstellar space craft designed for traveling between stars. Humans have yet to construct such a vehicle.
Correction: “Starships do not exist / If they did, it would be really awesome.”