"Smooth Operator" song lyrics goes like this:

Face to face, each classic case
We shadow box and double cross
Yet need the chase
A license to love, insurance to hold
Melts all your memories and change into gold
His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold

Why "change" and not "changes" after "melts"?

1 Answer 1


It is called poetic license, the right assumed by poets to alter or invert standard syntax or depart from common diction or pronunciation to comply with the metrical or tonal requirements of their writing. It is done usually to structure the lines in the song, or to rhyme better with other parts of the song, or because the singer/composer liked it that way. It happens all the time. Variations of the phrase include:

Artistic license 
Dramatic license 
Literary License 
Narrative License 
Historical License
  • 1
    Alternatively, change means coins.
    – Xanne
    Sep 18 at 9:28
  • Thank you for your response. "Melts change into gold" sounds reasonable too, as Xanne wrote.
    – Maciek
    Sep 18 at 9:29
  • Sorry to spoke your wheel - and Sade's, and Banuyayi's below - and I suggest those lyrics are more badly written than 'poetic licence' allows. Beyond any idiomatic 'play on words…' Sade is merely messing with your ears: throwing mis-matched sounds around in the hope some of their meaning will resonate so strongly, you don't notice that they don't belong together. More power to her bank balance and however many zeroes won't make '… Melts all your memories and change into gold…' mean more there than it would if it stood by itself. 5 hours ago

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