OPINION: Can a Good Song Have Bad Lyrics?

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Back when I still had my looks and used to hit the downtown Manhattan club scene with a book in my back pocket, there was a song that, whenever played, would get the biggest reaction from the ladies in the house. It was bonus cut on Dr. Dre’s Chronic CD; a song known quite unprintably as “_______ Ain’t ____.”

Imagine my amazement! I would have thought that women would hate this song. But they’d go running out there on the dance floor, dancing with each other and singing all the lyrics! To my thinking at the time, this would have been akin to me starting to pop and lock to a song called “Hang Me a Darkie”.

Of course, this song had one of the best beats on the entire Chronic CD and when I finally did get around to asking one of the young lovelies how she could ignore the obvious insults that the lyrics flung at her gender she replied simply, “The song’s not talkin’ about me!”

“Oh,” I said, starting to dance myself. “You sure?”

Now, if we were face to face and you asked me right now what my favorite radio song was I’d lie and say it was John Legend moaning like Jeffrey Osborne after a bad car accident and then, thankfully, letting Estelle get busy on “No Other Love.”

Of course, the truth is, it’s not that song. It’s actually Lil Wayne and Birdman with “Always Strapped”. I know, I know, I know…

In this song, you have all the worst: crass materialism, forced lesbian acts, drug abuse, violence involving “soda” and a coerced Young and the Restless lifestyle. Yet despite the dreadful subject matter, the lyrics are actually a perfect study in minimalism, with Weezy proving that the wordier is not always the better by delivering a 16 as good as I’ve heard all season.

That was a tough confession for me to make. Somebody please admit to liking “Birthday Sex” or something worse so I can feel a little bit better about myself.

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