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Sulk songs

The Ting Tings, That’s Not My Name
They call me “Hell”
They call me “Stacey”
They call me “her”
They call me “Jane”
That’s not my name (x4)

They call me “quiet girl”
But I’m a riot
Mary, Jo, Lisa
Always the same
That’s not my name (etc, etc)
AOL: What inspired you guys to write “That’s Not My Name”?

JULES: We were both in a band before this, with more members and stuff, and it went really, badly wrong being signed to a label that was changing their personnel. So we got caught in that cliché of [being] stuck on the shelf, not putting records out, not doing anything. When we wrote that, it was like we felt really invisible. We’d been dumped by our label, no one was picking up the phone, we lost a lot of friends, no one wanted to seem to know us at all. Also, when Katie was singing the chorus, I remember Katie had quite a lot to say from a girl’s point of view being signed. And again, no one [was] remembering her name, just treating her kind of [like] a bit contemporary. [AOL]



Mika, Grace Kelly
I could be brown,
I could be blue,
I could be vi-o-let sky!
I could be hurtful,
I could be purple, *
I could be anything you like!
Gotta be green,
Gotta be mean,
Gotta be everything more!
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!
* You might be as surprised as I was to discover that this is the actual lyric rather than, as Mika’s dreadful muppety falsetto makes it sound, “I could be happy, I could be bappy”.

LAUREN LAVERNE: “Grace Kelly” sounds like it’s a straightforward 3-minute pop song, but it’s got a bit of a dark undercurrent lyrically. Tell us about that.

MIKA: It sounds like the happiest song ever but I wrote it when I was completely furious. I went home from an hour-long meeting where they told me that I had to knuckle down and write songs like everyone else—at least for my first album; by the time I get to my second album I could do whatever I want—and I knew that was completely false. So I went home and I wrote Grace Kelly as a little “stick you” song to them and I typed out the lyrics and I sent it to them. I think by the time they got to the bit that said, “Should I bend over, should I look older / Just to be put on your shelf?”, they kind of figured out…

LL: Yeah. Their loss. [The Culture Show, BBC]



McFly, One For The Radio
LA temptations, or music sensations
There’s great expectations that weigh on our heads
So here’s to the liars who dream and conspire
Against the admired, we hope you drop dead

So here’s another song for the radio
And here’s another line from the heart
So don’t pretend you hate us when we sing our songs
‘Cuz we all look the same in the dark
“One For The Radio” is about McFly’s constant struggle for critical acceptance. The song is aimed at people who secretly like McFly but refuse to admit it. I don’t have any figures on how big a demographic that is, but McFly clearly think it comprises enough people to bother writing a song for. Apparently the way to persuade your closet fans to declare their allegiance is to sound exactly like Green Day, except that your protest is directed not at any contemporary issues but at how much people like you, and to give your album away free with the Mail on Sunday—a trick that Miami rapper Flo Rida, whose album, bafflingly, is actually called Mail on Sunday, somehow missed.

At least in this case McFly are not sulking at their record company. Instead, they are sulking at people who have had the temerity not to buy or enjoy any of their records—a worthy target, by any standards. Are you a non-McFly-record-buyer? Do you pretend you hate them? Do you feel suitably chastened by this song?



These are all recent, but what other examples are there of successful sulk songs? What other personal whinges or diva-esque hissy fits have struck some kind of chord with the record-buying public, usually because the record-buying public has liked the tune and not bothered with the lyrics?

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
chiller
Aug. 6th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
I always interpreted those lines from Grace Kelley as "I could be hurple, I could be burple". I take great pleasure in singing those lines, just so.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)
oh blimey - me too. it's rather a blow to know they're not the lyrics.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 6th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Actually, thinking about it (bloddy Mika ear worm) I think I thought the lyrics were "I could be happle, I could be bapfle, I could be anything you like". Either way, still better than the really lyrics.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 6th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
"New York, New York" is a thinly veiled attack on the unimaginative naming of the city and state. Frank Sinatra was so upset by President Kennedy's refusal to change the name of New York City to Frank Sinatra City that he organised to have Kennedy shot.
bobgodjunior
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Haha! This is excellent if true.
nja
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:00 am (UTC)
I'm not sure that Van Morrison's Drumshanbo Hustle struck a chord with the record-buying public, but it's the only song about music biz machinations and unfair contractual terms I can bear to listen to.

"I can't think of anything to write about."
"What about writing a song about how our old manager ripped us off on merchandising and the record company is taking too high a percentage of net profits as repayment of our advance?"
"Yeah, cool!"
braisedbywolves
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
You're so Vain, Wave Hello Say Goodbye, Don't You Want Me, spring to mind. And I think the people are considerably bothere with the Ting Tings' lyrics!
braisedbywolves
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
Ah hang on, I've gotten it wrong, I don't know the actual impetus behind these songs being written at all.
braisedbywolves
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)
Wait hang on, why is there a picture with Mike and Chris Morris in the same frame?
webofevil
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
My comment here explains all.
rhodri
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
I think this is much more common than we think it is. Loads of "artistes" run out of stuff to write songs about, and end up resorting to writing tunes about how badly they're getting on with their record company or their manager.

Except the Vengaboys. They stuck to the script. They knew which side their bread was buttered.
bobgodjunior
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
that vengabus kept on rollin'.
mrslant
Aug. 6th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
David Bowie tells the story of how he was asked to write some English lyrics for the French tune Comme d'Habitude, but they didn't like his lyrics and got Paul Anka to write My Way to it instead, so Bowie sat down and wrote Life on Mars.

Then there's Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, for which Ian Gillan still hadn't come up with any lyrics the night before the performance, and ended up writing some lyrics about not being able to think of any lyrics the night before you're supposed to perform them...
(Deleted comment)
bobgodjunior
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
It's dissapointing to learn that the Ting Tings have actually been given a platform upon which to spout their shite. Their songs are total kack, and it's wholly understandable from the point of view of someone who actually wants to SELL RECORDS that they never had any work released. I suspect they will end up in a very similar situation with their new record label before too long, after the general public realise that they are, actually, complete kack.
lifesizemonkey
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson whining about a stalker.
Leave Me Alone - Michael Jackson whining about being famous/weird.
When Will I Be Famous? The Goss twins and Ken whining about not being famous yet.
How Do You Sleep? (or whatever it's called)- John Lennon whining about Thumbs Aloft.
Give Peace A Chance - John Lennon whining about there being too many wars going on.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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