My Lyrical Life

Music is my second language. My sister nailed it over Christmas when she said I was bi-singual. She lit up and repeated it, “Bi-singual!” Then she bowed and strutted away like a boss.

I can’t sing well, but I’ve got a song in my head from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. You’re probably thinking, “Oh, that’s so sweet! A song in her sweet, precious heart.” WRONG.

Here is a glimpse of the brain I’m dealing with:
Do what you want, what you want with my body
Do what you want, what you want with my body
Do what you want, what you want with my body
Do what you want, what you want with my body


I didn’t say I was proud. That’s why I shake off Lady Gaga with five verses of “Our God Is An Awesome God” … my Christian version of five Hail Marys.

I mean, why can’t the loop in my head be the more acceptable chorus?:
You can’t have my heart and
You won’t use my mind
You can’t stop my voice cause
You don’t own my life

Nope, only the sketchiest for me, thanks.

Because of my tendency to get lines stuck in my head, and because I don’t want my brain in a non-stop loop of:
Have a drink, clink, found the Bud Light
Bad bitches like me, is hard to come by

… I often just change lyrics to align with my beliefs. Simply put, I dislike both her grammar and her choice of beer.

I use to really like the song Closer, by Ne-Yo, but I had to change this line:
She’s the sweetest taste of sin to She’s the sweetest taste of cinnamon, so I could fully enjoy it. (Yeah, I know cinnamon isn’t sweet, but neither is sin, and my hands were tied.)

Remember the song “Breakeven” by The Script?:
I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Just pray to a God that I don’t believe in
Cause I got time out, she got freedom
Cause when a heart breaks, it don’t breakeven

I didn’t want to miss out on a pretty good song when I could just as easily sing over them:
Just pray to a God that I do believe in
I win, Script—I win.

Similarly, Five For Fighting says in Superman:
Man, Heaven is overrated
That’s an easy fix:
Man Heaven ain’t overrated
Sure, I could say “isn’t” … but I like to match the syllables when possible, leaving the integrity of the song intact.

And it’s not even like I bought these songs on iTunes. I just knew they’d be on the radio every hour, on the hour, and I’d be sunk.

Those are all child’s play compared to “Imagine” by John Lennon.

I’m fully aware that what I’m about to say will cause some of you to back away, shaking your head side to side slowly at first, then faster, as you turn and sprint into the direction of the first loving arms you find. But you know what? You can get over it the same way I got over this:

Well this is certainly disappointing.
Well this is certainly disappointing.

It’s true—I don’t like the song “Imagine.” I don’t like the lyrics and can’t find any way to change them, because the entire song—while melodically beautiful—is built around an unappealing portrait, in my opinion.

When a song starts off with, what is likely the writer’s favorite line, and that line is, “Imagine there’s no Heaven. It’s easy if you try,” I’m pretty much out. I wouldn’t stick around if a song jumped off with, “Imagine there’s no salsa,” so I’m certainly not cheering on the idea that there’s no Heaven.

But that’s just me! Everyone has his or her own parameters and sticking points. I’m no saint just because sacrilegious lyrics are a no-go for me.

I’ve got next to no discretion when it comes to hip-hop and R&B. We’ve already discussed, my inexcusable—yet gifted—ability to rap about a wide range of obscene topics. It’s despicable.

Side Note: Please don’t blasphemy my Lord and Savior while I’m polishing my glock on the way to the club.

Songs, hooks, choruses … it’s a part of every hour of every day. Some people can’t quiet their minds of to-do lists and itineraries; I can’t quiet my mind of lyrics—and I’m not even picky or discerning.

It seems logical that a current hit would be on my brain, but no. A lot of times it’s just the Napa Know-How commercial: Na-na-na-na Napa know how!

When that commercial comes on and I’m in earshot, Jocelyn knows how the next hour will unfold. That is, unless a Mattress Firm commercial takes its place.

Mattress Firm, where it’s easy … to get a great night’s sleep.

O-O-O-Oreillyyyyyyyyy!!!!! Auto Parts.

OK, I’ll stop. They’re all so catchy.

So just know that if we’re talking and you make the grave error of accidentally using a line from a song, I will hear nothing from that point on, except the song you got stuck in my head.

You: Oh hey Anna—how’s it going?
Me: Good, good. Looking forward to the weekend.
You: Right? The story of my life.
Me: The story of my life, I take her home, I drive all night, to keep her warm and ti-i-ime, is fro-o-o-o-o-zen.

Meeting Leader: Good morning! First things first …
Me: I Poppa freaks all the honeys, dummies, playboy bunnies, those wantin’ money …

Side Note: Our God is an awesome God 5x.

When I hear someone in a nearby cube answer her phone, “Hello?” I’m just over at my desk finishing it off, “Is it me you’re looking for? ‘Cause I wonder where you are, and I wonder what you do. Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?”

I usually don’t even know I’m doing it. I’ll be chopping veggies, singing quietly, when Jocelyn will stop and tilt her head:
J: Is that Foreigner?!
Me: Is what Foreigner?
J: That song you keep singing.
Me: What song? I don’t think so.
J: Yeah. It is. That’s the second time I’ve heard you singing Cold As Ice. You know it’s 2014, right? Why?
Me: *hangs head* Because my hand got really cold when I was trying to break up the ice in the dispenser.


At this point, my family pretty much knows not to say someone’s a “good ol’ boy” unless they’re up for some Waylon Jennings. I don’t hold back either. I’ve stopped many a conversation in its tracks by belting that song out, on the heels of my dad talking about a good guy.

And here is the thing—when it comes to music, my filter is pretty faulty. Whatever fits, fits. From Kenny Rogers (usually Lady, but The Gambler is a close second) to Jay-Z … they’re all fair game if you say anything that makes me think of a song or sentiment.

My mom was having a bad day awhile back and it wasn’t anything I could really help with, so I did the next best thing. I left her a message singing, “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu. Why? Because have you heard it? Are you telling me that getting a voice mail of your daughter crooning, “I’m gettin’ tired of YO SHIT, you don’t never buy me nothin,” wouldn’t brighten your mood considerably? Well. Then you are not my mother.

Be glad. Be very, very glad.

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0 thoughts on “My Lyrical Life

  1. Good stuff! Def put a smile on my face this morning!

    Oh, all I have to hear is 588 2 300, Empire! 🙂 Yes, you’re welcome!

  2. Ok…so Jana beat me to it with Empire…sadly , that is how we taught Emily our phone number…using that jingle. Any way…is it bad that car toys a better way to go pops in my head almost weekly?

    Love that you have a hail Mary song!! I may adopt that for myself!!

  3. Thank you very much. Now Tyrone will be stuck in my head all day! And I really mean that – I love that song:))))

  4. Can I give you my phone number so I can get singing messages too?

    And this: “I wouldn’t stick around if a song jumped off with, “Imagine there’s no salsa,” so I’m certainly not cheering on the idea that there’s no Heaven.” I’ll climb aboard that bandwagon. All these hippies and gangstas with questionable religious morality are always making these catchy tunes you can’t help but love while simultaneously feeling guilty you are perpetuating a free-for-all sin fest. The woes of a music lover with high moral standards.

  5. You left off the fact that you have changed the course of many a family get together by breaking out with the theme song to Archie Bunker’s show. All said, I love the song in your heart. 🙂

    1. Bro-man still wants me to do that—even begs—but the “and you knew where you were then!!!!” part injures my throat. I guess I could tone it down, but where is the fun in that? I’m not gonna deliver a half-hearted Edith to the people I love.

      Thank you 🙂

  6. I use to sing to my kids at school—and yes that too sounds so sweet, that is until you understand it was a room full of highschoolers, I can’t sing a lick, and I usually made up the words to some current or not so current tune they may or may not have known—lots of rolled eyes, and the whispering to the next group of kids coming in, as the bell rang, that “she’s singing today, good luck” 🙂
    Now my poor husband suffers usually after we’ve watched an episode of The Voice or Am. Idol—they ain’t go nothing on this girl 🙂
    Love it and good stuff Anna Lea West
    hugs to you—cookie who has a song in her heart 24/7

  7. I love the line, “Yeah, I know cinnamon isn’t sweet, but neither is sin, and my hands were tied”. I have the exact same problem with lyrics going over and over in my head. I have always loved ZZ Top’s music, but have you listened to some of those lyrics! Yikes!
    No one is a bigger Beatle fan than I am but I share your rejection of the lyrics to “Imagine”. Sorry, just can’t quite find myself looking forward to “no heaven” and I’ve yet to see any hint that “the world will live as one”.
    The world doesn’t know what it is missing when you sing “Good Ole Boy”! Also, Edith Bunker would be PROUD of your rendition of their theme song. Many a true belly-laugh has come from your spur-of-the-moment outbursts. You keep our family laughing and The Good Lord knows we could all use more true laughter! Thanks for another enjoyable read!

  8. You really are a rock star! I dont like the song Imagine all that well either, but its one of the only songs I can play on my guitar, so sometimes I rock it out!! 🙂

  9. I think you are a rock star at making people laugh through singing, witty comments, and your blogs. I would thoroughly enjoy a voice mail message being sung by you. Fun! I am the exact opposite…I rarely get the lyrics right. True story. On a brighter note, I recover quickly (once its pointed out that I am singing the wrong words) by telling people mine was the original version. Ask Jeni if that makes me no-singual? Ha!

    1. I can assure you Jeni will say that you’re no-singual or come up with an even better term. I’ll ask her! And I have some of my own “original versions” too … make no mistake! 😉

  10. Welp. Here, I was, ready to cheer another awesomely entertaining and fun-reading blog post from you … but I can’t. Why? Because after reading this greatness, my brain is rapidly firing off nothing but a mash-up of the O’Reilly Auto Parts song and graphic Nicki Minaj lyrics. And while it’s a bit unsettling, it’s not entirely unpleasant either. What does that say about me??? (otr though, love this!!) 😉

    1. No, it’s not entirely unpleasant, is it? This is my life. And yours. I’m pretty sure I’ve first-things-first-I-Poppa’d you before … I know I have, HA! 🙂

  11. I’m with you on this. My thing with lyrics that get stuck in my head, is that despite my ability to sing perfectly well, I attempt to see how badly I can butcher the tune in an attempt to get it out of my head. For example, about six months ago, I had lyrics from Bobby McGee stuck in my head for about three days, unceasingly.

    “Feelin good was easy lord, when he sang the blues. Ya know feelin good was good enough for me, good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.”

    The more times I sang those words, the more of a twang I tried to put into it, and then I tried singing it like William Shatner would. It just wouldn’t go away.

    My husband, on the other hand, likes rewriting lyrics to popular songs. I won’t sully your blog with the details, because they include the F@#t word, as well as other bathroom humor type words. One of my favorite things that he does, though, is sing them in the voice of the character Karl Childers from Sling Blade. He makes me laugh so hard.

    When my two youngest boys were little, they liked watching many of the cartoon shows on Nickelodeon. After a while, I knew all the words to all the songs. So when my second youngest was watching a show that I knew the songs on, I’d start singing the songs with the show. He would immediately tell me to be quiet. If that didn’t work, he would run over and put his hand on my mouth and say Mommy! NO! STOP! LOL He hated hearing me sing with the songs. But how I enjoyed making him try and stop me.

    As always, thanks for the laughs.

    1. First of all, I love to sing songs as different people/genres. My niece and I have been doing this since she was LITTLE. We’d sing ABCs or Jingle Bells or ANYTHING normal, then rock, then country, the opera, then like a crazy person, then like Kermit … you name it 🙂 So I feel ya on this! Second … nothing beats changing the lyrics to songs—the raunchier the better. KNOW THIS. So glad y’all can laugh the way you do! Thank you for your post, too 🙂