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Let’s Get Lyrical #22 – Jon Jon Bon Bon

Now, I love Bon Jovi just as much as the next over-inebriated person at a grotty rock club in the Cowgate of an evening.  But you have to wonder how/why/whether they take themselves seriously.  I mean, Wanted Dead or Alive is a bit wanky, isn’t it?

It’s all the same, only the names will change

Ever heard of context, Jon?  I mean, whilst I appreciate it’s seen as good writing technique to jump straight into the story to pique the reader’s interest, in this scenario a little bit of context wouldn’t hurt.

Everyday it seems we’re wasting away

Sure, yeah, why not.  The entire world has chronic wasting disease.  Right on!  You tell it like it is!

Another place where the faces are so cold
I’d drive all night just to get back home

Touring Alaska’s stadium circuit can take a heavy toll, I’ve heard.
I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride

Good metaphor there, Jon.  Did you think of that all by your onesie?

I’m wanted dead or alive

Mostly dead though, am I right?

Wanted dead or alive

Oh for goodness sake, no you aren’t.  Pretending to be a cowboy isn’t cool, either.  You might think you’re Clint Eastwood, but you are definitely Kevin Costner in that interminable version of Wyatt Earp.  The one that makes most people want to chew off their own face rather than watch.

Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it’s not for days

Well maybe you need to get yourself into a better routine.  Stop roaming around the countryside at random hoping a mean lookin’ cowboy will engage you in a stand off and I dunno, take up running.  Eat some vegetables.

And the people I meet always go their separate ways

Wow.  That’s profound.  Or, alternatively, that’s LIFE.

Sometimes you tell the day
By the bottle that you drink

Oh yeah, who doesn’t.  Tuesday is Malibu day, Wednesday it’s maybe a bottle of port, Thursday detox with some cherryade…

And times when you’re alone all you do is think

Yeah right.  Think about whether you have time to make another toastie before the next episode of Diagnosis Murder comes on TV.


I walk these streets, a loaded six string on my back

Ugh.  Shut up.

I play for keeps, ’cause I might not make it back

Might not make it back from WHAT?  A dangerous day of busking?  The most dangerous occupation in the West, apparently.

I been everywhere, and I’m standing tall

Dirty stop out.

I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve rocked them all

Excuse me while I blow my own trumpet, won’t you.

I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted dead or alive

Saying it in a slightly modulated key doesn’t make it any more true.

I’m a cowboy, I got the night on my side

Sure, yes, because of course everybody knows that cowboys are NOCTURNAL.  Glad to see I’m not the only one who carries out the bulk of my research on wikipedia…

I’m wanted dead or alive
And I ride, dead or alive

That’s ridiculous.  If you’re dead, you can’t ride a motorbike.  Even the cast of Dirty Sanchez wouldn’t try that.  Probably.

I still drive, dead or alive
Dead or alive [x4]

Alright, alright, have it your way.  You’re a super cool, nocturnal cowboy who was apparently killed in a freak busking accident.  Probably decapitated with your own six string.  Now please, go away, and don’t come back til you’ve come up with another You Give Love A Bad Name.

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Let’s Get Lyrical #13 – Really, Bryan Adams?

In June 1991, just before I turned six, floppy haired bland rock monger Bryan Adams released THE GREATEST LOVE SONG EVER™.  It went to number one in the UK charts, and when my brother was born four months later it was still there.  Many tried, but the only track with the power to kill it turned out to be a not particularly great cover of Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonderstuff, which finally knocked it off the top spot after 16 weeks.  Nearly twenty years later, “Who was still buying Everything I Do after 16 weeks?” is one of the single greatest mysteries of our time.  Particularly in light of the lyrical content, which is actually a little bit creepy.

Look into my eyes!

Said a scary hypnotist to the nation one day, and everyone complied.

You will see, What you mean to me

Squillions of dollars is what we meant to him, as it turned out.  Although you can’t really buy much with Canadian money.  They prefer to barter using maple syrup and moose jerky.  Probably.

Search your heart – search your soul
And when you find me there you’ll search no more

Because you’ll be filled with terror by the apparent fact you value your life so little that you’ve filled your metaphorical self with middle of the road music cynically designed to make people think Kevin Costner was a convincing man from Nottingham.

Don’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for

OK, I won’t.  But we both know I’m thinking it.

You can’t tell me it’s not worth dyin’ for

He means love, and I think that probably depends on context to a large extent.  She said, romantically.

You know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you

By ‘everything’ he very specifically means ‘making records’.  Sorry to break it to y’all, but Bryan Adams isn’t thinking of you when he makes his toast in the morning, or when he buys himself a sofa made of solid gold (not for sitting on, but because he can), or when he goes on holiday.  Bryan Adams wouldn’t help you mend a fence, or loan you 20p cause you’re slightly short of change for the bus.  He won’t even recommend a book you might like.

Look into your heart – you will find
There’s nothin’ there to hide

Really?  To me, ‘nothin’ there to hide’ implies emptiness.  Look at those two words in isolation: ‘nothin’ there’.  This doesn’t make an ounce of sense in a song that’s meant to be about eternal passionate love.  Furthermore, if you literally looked into a heart, you’d find four chambers and four valves and a bunch of veins and blood – they’re not nothin’.  They keep people alive and buying your records, Adams!  Meanwhile, if you metaphorically looked into a heart… I dunno, you’d probably find pictures of your loved ones or something.

Take me as I am

A vision in flannel…

Take my life

Tempting, but that’s not really how I roll.

I would give it all – I would sacrifice

Like, in a roman way?  White bulls for Jupiter, milk and honey for Ceres…

Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it – there’s nothin’ I want more

Than to be number 1 all over the world for the best part of a year and make so much money that it hurts my brain to think about it all..

Ya know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you

I’ll believe it when I see it.

There’s no love – like your love

True.  Most love is more pure and true than the love between a record buyer and the.. buyee.

And no other – could give more love

I wonder if that was meant as a challenge, so that Britain would try to outshine other countries by buying even more copies of the single than anyone else?  Clever.

There’s nowhere – unless you’re there

Wow, sounds like all this wheedling people into buying the song has plunged Bry into some kind of existential crisis!  It’s OK man, you totally exist away from the hard earned cash of your fans.

All the time!  All the way!

That’s just silly.  You can’t spend all of your time together, you’ll get bored of one another.  It may take a long time – roughly sixteen weeks, at a guess – but eventually people get sick of each other and need to spend some time apart.  Maybe with Vic Reeves.

Oh – you can’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for
I can’t help it – there’s nothin’ I want more

What, to be eternally at number 1 with this song?  Dude, it’s not worth trying for.  Do you have no artistic integrity whatsoever?!  Actually, maybe don’t answer that…

I would fight for you – I’d lie for you

Not necessary, but thanks.

Walk the wire for you!

Go on then! …*waits for some time*…  Yeah.  Thought not.

Yeah I’d die for yoooou..

Well, I guess we could call Alan Rickman and see if he’ll cut your heart out with a spoon.  He was good in that film, wasn’t he?  As my sister’s boyfriend says, “why have a man when you can have a Rick-man?”

Ya know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you.

In the words of the teenagers I used to work with in the library, “nah mate.  That’s lies.”

Jog on, Bryan Adams.  And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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