Author: Joe West

Film Editor and Languagician.

Catchiness in pop is never an indicator of a song’s actual quality. For example, Friday by Rebecca Black is car crash of a record on every level.

And yet it Can't. Be. Forgotten.

Meanwhile Call Me Maybe could be taught as part of a master class on making expertly judged tracks that transcend the medium of music and become cultural memes with their own momentum. And I apologise if that sentence seems like it is overwritten, because it is. But it is also true.

The middle of the catchiness spectrum is occupied by songs that trick you into learning lyrics that you should never say aloud. Which is why at the moment I can hear “Bitch better have my money” echoing inside my skull like a police siren in a car park. In the past I’ve also recited “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada, basic bitches wear that shit so I don't even bother” and the chorus of this little ditty from Eminem to myself over and over again. And whatever you think of these songs, the lyrics are at least relatively coherent.

Call Me Maybe, on the other hand, make very little sense. Now read on as I pretend to be more baffled by it than I actually am.

VERSE 1
I threw a wish in the well
You absolutely did not.

Don't ask me, I'll never tell
MAN: I love making wishe-
ARMY RECRUITING SERGEANT: [puts fingers in ears] LALALALALA

I looked to you as it fell
And now you're in my way

Guess where all the hot guys hang out at the moment?
That’s right. The wishing well.

I'd trade my soul for a wish
SATAN: [bursts through door] Did somebody say Faustian bargain?
[he starts playing a trumpet that is on fire]

Pennies and dimes for a kiss
The wish is trading very strongly against the kiss, which some market analysts believe is being undervalued as a result of the current economic pressure in the Eurozone.

Sorry. I am not very good at satire.

I wasn't looking for this
But then romance always blossoms in the most unexpected places. At the office. On a bus. When you’re chilling by a creepy, coin-filled well.

But now you're in my way
I love you. Now get out of my way, jerkwad.

BRIDGE
Your stare was holdin'
Holdin’ what? An axe? Mighty powerful stare you got, partner.
Please read the previous sentence in the voice of Yosemite Sam.

Ripped jeans, skin was showin'
Like a man who has hit 35, become a dad and decided to wear the same pair of jeans until he is dead.

Hot night, wind was blowin'
Perfect weather for drying clothes in the dark.

Where do you think you're going, baby?
This is the kind of thing that would constantly be shouted at me in prison.

CHORUS
Hey, I just met you
MOVIE EXECUTIVE: Clumsy exposition? I love it! Also I am morally bankrupt

And this is crazy
CROCODILE DUNDEE: You think that’s crazy? That’s not crazy. This-
[puts on 2 pairs of sunglasses & does jazz hands]
-is crazy

But here's my number
So call me, maybe

Catchier than “Fax me, perhaps”.

It's hard to look right
At you baby,

A DAD: Why won't you look at me? Is it the ripped jeans? Can you see too much of the skin of my ass? I don’t care I’m never buying a new pair

But here's my number,
So call me, maybe

Catchier than “Snapchat me, when you've got a minute”

And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But they can’t catch up because Carly Rae Jepsen is fast as shit.

But here's my number
So call me, maybe!

Catchier than “Shout at me from a car window, actually don’t do that please”.

VERSE 2
You took your time with the call
GUY: [looks at number written on napkin]
[looks at phone]
[hits ‘0’ on keypad]
[looks back at napkin]
[looks back at phone]
[hits ‘7’ on keypad]
[looks back at napkin]
[look back at phone]
[hits ‘8’ on keypad]
[looks b-

I took no time with the fall
People ‘fall’ in love, but hate is the reverse. Hate rises to the surface, like an apple in a bathtub.

You gave me nothing at all
But still, you're in my way

Yeah, why don’t you make like a tree and become several tables?

I beg, and borrow and steal
To fuel your wishing well addiction.

At first sight and it's real
Love can allegedly happen at first sight. But did you know that if you see someone who annoys you, your brain will actually make it appear as if they are moving more slowly? This is very funny and also 100% true.

I didn't know I would feel it
But it's in my way

Hey, Jepsen. Stop feeling around like a mime in a basement and open your eyes.

BRIDGE

CHORUS

MIDDLE 8
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so, so bad

“There goes Carly Rae Jepsen again. Firing arrows at nothing.”

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so, so bad

Falling in love is like getting a tattoo. It’s always better if the person you do it with is really good at drawing skeletons.

CHORUS

I love everything about Blank Space. The melody. The production. The general empowering sentiment of the song. Men being portrayed as disposable for a change, etc. But this fondness isn’t enough to save it from analysis. Quite the opposite. If you love something, judge it. Or, in this case, deliberately misunderstand it over the course of several hundred words.

VERSE 1
Nice to meet you, where you been?
Hello. I have been watching .gifs of babies eating lemons.

I could show you incredible things
This is the kind of hyperbole people use to trick you into being Rickrolled.

Magic, madness, heaven, sin
These are the names of my four daughters. Daddy loves you, girls. Please return my calls.

Saw you there and I thought
Oh my God, look at that face
You look like my next mistake

And you, Taylor Swift, look like a beautiful scarecrow.

Love's a game, wanna play?
Yes, but I get to be the iron or the little dog. You can be the shoe or the top hat I guess.

New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine

That magazine? Fantastic Dude Monthly.

Ain't it funny, rumours fly
Quite funny, gossip spider. I like these nicknames for us, btw.

And I know you heard about me
Yes I've heard of you. You're a blogger, right?

So hey, let's be friends
This is basically the inner monologue of all dogs.

I'm dying to see how this one ends
Grab your passport and my hand
*Martin Freeman in The Hobbit voice* I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE

I can make the bad guys good for a weekend
And I can make a pretty good Bolognese sauce even while I am quite drunk.

CHORUS
So it's gonna be forever
Or it's gonna go down in flames

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

You can tell me when it's over
If the high was worth the pain

I will do, but first let me tell you about the health benefits of this memory foam mattress.

Got a long list of ex-lovers
They'll tell you I'm insane
Have you ever seen Four Weddings and a Funeral? I think you would like it.

'Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game

I think the game is mediocre at best. The release was a bit rushed, the PC port is shabby and the DLC looks overpriced, but at this point I'm too invested in the franchise not to buy it.

'Cause we're young and we're reckless
We'll take this way too far

You know what else is reckless? The low, low prices at my memory foam mattress warehouse.

It'll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Do I get to pick? I choose breathlessness. Unless the scar can go somewhere sexy, like above my eye or across my ass.

Got a long list of ex-lovers
They'll tell you I'm insane
But I've got a blank space, baby
And I'll write your name

So basically this song is about how Taylor Swift loves doing a bit of romantic admin.

VERSE 2
Cherry lips, crystal skies
Now she’s just reading from a catalogue of paint colours.

I could show you incredible things
Me too.

Stolen kisses, pretty lies
COP: [answers phone] Hello? What...there’s been a robbery?...At the kisses factory? That’s the third time this month.

You're the king baby I'm your queen
That’s right, I am the King Baby. My crown is too big for me, but that’s okay because it keeps slipping down over my eyes, which is adorable.

Find out what you want
I already know what I want; 200 litres of ice cream and a robot sidekick that speaks with a French accent.

Be that girl for a month
Spend a month living as a woman? To what end?

Wait, the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I’m sorry but this is the kind of behaviour you have to put up with when you date me, the king of the babies.

I can make all the tables turn
And I can put out the napkins and the silverware. I am glad that we opened this restaurant together.

Rose garden filled with thorns
When they bloom it will be filled with tourists. The rose garden has done wonders to boost the profile of our restaurant, Joe & Taylor's Bargain Chow Hole.

Keep you second guessing like
"Oh my God, who is she?"
You remember that month I spent living as a woman at your request? I took a bunch of selfies & that's probably what you've found on my phone.

I get drunk on jealousy
Jealousy. The new wine cooler from Nicki Minaj.

'Cause, darling, I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream
And at Halloween I’m a man dressed like a vampire.

CHORUS

MIDDLE 8
Boys only want love if it's torture
Men only want red wine if it is at room temperature.

Don't say I didn't, say I didn't warn ya
Ok. I will never forget the time you gave me a piece of advice that is basically useless.

CHORUS

Friends is a show about an unassuming coffee shop owner called Gunther and how his life is slowly ruined by 6 awful narcissists. The theme song is catchy as hell though; a frantic guitar-pop anthem that forces a feeling of contentment to bubble up in fans of the dashing Central Perk proprietor and his seat-hogging customers. And as with all good theme songs, the lyrics perfectly encapsulate the premise of the show.

Or do they?

Yes.

So here they are, picked apart like carrion by crows.

VERSE 1
So no one told you life was gonna be this way
ME: How is my life going to turn out?

[shakes Magic 8 Ball]

[the message in the little window reads “I refuse to tell you”]

ME: I hate this recalcitrant orb

Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A.
Hah. Imagine Joey Tribbiani on Tinder in 2015. Hah. Hahha.

He’d-

He’d like, keep messaging women with aggressive sexual come-ons, and then someone would take a screenshot of the conversations and make a Tumblr about it or some shit.

It's like you're always stuck in second gear
Ironically this is the best gear to be in if life is an uphill struggle. Some car humour there, folks. Always wear a seatbelt.

When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
...allow your dreams to die?

CHORUS
I'll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)

Like an umbrella or a duck’s wing

I'll be there for you
(Like I've been there before)

In the shadows. Watching. Waiting. Wearing a t-shirt with “WE WERE ON A BREAK” printed on it.

I'll be there for you
('Cause you're there for me too)

It's unsettling to imagine someone whisper-screaming this at their own face reflected in the back of a spoon.

VERSE 2
You're still in bed at ten and work began at eight
If you’re late for work you obviously don’t have time to make a cooked breakfast.

You've burned your breakfast, so far things are going great
What did I JUST say?

Your mother warned you there'd be days like these
So no one someone told you life was gonna be this way.

But she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees
KID: Will my life be good, mother, or will an uncaring world crush me under its boot heel?

MOTHER: I don’t know. Now be quiet and eat your dinner. I made you your favourite; burnt breakfast foods

CHORUS

MIDDLE 8
No one could ever know me
Damn that’s aloof.

No one could ever see me
And THAT is ghost talk, mister.

Seems you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me
Why did Friends never do a Freaky Friday-style body swap episode? Like, Ross and Monica swap bodies and then Chandler has sex with Monica while Ross’ brain is inside her. Then when they swap back and tell Chandler he'd say “Could I BE any more devastated?”

Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with
You're the mayor of the friend zone.

Someone I'll always laugh with
Even at my worst, I'm best with you, Yeah!

Laughing with your best pal as you toss a cobra at an orphan.

CHORUS x2

Set aside half an hour of your evening and check out Kung Fury. The best 80s action parody in existence.

Air swimming, doge-style.

Single Ladies, but not as you know it.

One of the better Shia LaBeouf mash-up videos we've seen. If you've not seen the original it's here.

Ok this one is good as well.

A cat that is happy and knows it.

A cat that's not so happy at the sound of crinkling plastic.

A silly mishearing of an Edith Piaf song, illustrated with an intricate pop-up book presentation in real time.

Very cute baby ferrets being corralled by their mum.

This beast.

BONUS: SADDEST THING OF THE WEEK - Steven Seagal performs a half-hearted martial arts demonstration in Russia.

Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back) is not just a sweary pop song from 2003 sung by a man whose name looks like it is missing a few letters. It’s an anthem of impotent rage that, to a modern ear, sounds a lot like the misogynistic ranting of a gamergate supporter. Fans may remember that there was even a remake called F.U.R.B. (Fuck You Right Back), which annoyingly is much, much more spiteful and entertaining than the original. But analysing the lyrics of an ‘answer song’ first would be insane. In. Sane. So I shan’t be doing that. Until next week.

VERSE 1
See I don't know why I liked you so much
“Or why I got this Lego man haircut”
Seriously check out the video. Eamon has a formidably uniform hairline. And wears a butterscotch-colour velvet tracksuit that makes him look like a nude Winnie the Pooh.

I gave you all of my trust
And also a Futurama box set.

I told you, I loved you, now that's all down the drain
Stand back and watch as this, the only metaphor in the song, zooms past on a loud motorcycle.

You put me through pain, I wanna let you know how I feel
So far it’s apparent that he’s just an emotional boy who’s had his heart broken. Let’s give him a chance to be the bigger person.

CHORUS
Fuck what I said it don't mean shit now
Apart from the advice about punching sharks on the nose.

Fuck the presents might as well throw 'em out
Apart from that fountain pen. It is useful as heck for writing these aggressive ballads.

Fuck all those kisses, they didn't mean jack
Eamon kisses you, then mutters “ctrl+z” under his breath. The kiss is undone. It’s as if it never happened.

Fuck you, you hoe, I don't want you back
With this line Eamon thinks he’s doing the relationship equivalent of Bruce Willis walking away from an explosion, when in reality he sounds more like Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy.

VERSE 2
You thought you could
Keep this shit from me yeah

EAMON: [struggling] Give me my hat back I am embarrassed by this haircut
WOMAN: [hand on his forehead, keeping him at arm’s length] No

You burnt bitch, I heard the story
You played me, you even gave him head

This is not a story. It’s barely a sentence.

Now you asking for me back
You just another act, look elsewhere
Cause you done with me

Actually it seems like Eamon is trying to pre-emptively dump his girlfriend, sure in the knowledge that she was just about to finish with him anyway. It’s a “You can’t fire me, I quit!” scenario attempted by a desperate man with hair like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber. And yes, this second Jim Carrey reference was necessary.

CHORUS

Oh oh
Uh huh yeah
[x4]

VERSE 3
You questioned, did I care?
You could ask anyone, I even said
You were my great one

WOMAN: I love you
EAMON: And you..you are my great one
WOMAN: You talk to me as if I’m a god or a kung fu master
EAMON: Can I wash your feet sensei?

Now it's over, but I do admit I'm sad
It hurts real bad, I can't sweat that, ‘cause I loved a hoe
Yes, you do seem to be coping very well.

CHORUS