Questions tagged [lyrics]

Questions about the words used in a song.

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18
votes
9answers
5k views

Why did Ylvis use “go” instead of “say” in phrases like “Dog goes 'woof'”?

Why did Ylvis use the verb "go" instead of "say" in their 2013 pop song "What Does the Fox Say?" Dog goes "woof." Cat goes "meow." Bird goes "tweet." Is there some specific meaning for "go"?
15
votes
7answers
28k views

What does the expression “Brothers in Arms” mean?

I was listening to Dire Straits and wondered what "brothers in arms" are...
12
votes
4answers
13k views

What does “I Can't Get No Satisfaction” mean?

This song by The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". As a non-native speaker, I always wondered what's the exact meaning of this phrase? Is it "I'm not getting any satisfaction" (this ...
11
votes
2answers
70k views

What is the difference between a “stanza” and a “verse”, as applied to English literature?

What is the difference between 'stanza' and 'verse' in English Literature (Poetry)? I've read one of my classmate's essays and the word 'verse' cropped up - I thought that the word 'verse' was usually ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

What does “Hallelujah” mean in Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah song? [closed]

Rufus Wainwright's Cover of Hallelujah The literal meaning of hallelujah is "Praise Yah", however the song uses it in different ways and I have always wondered what it really means in the song. ...
7
votes
3answers
949 views

Is Waltzing Matilda comprehensible outside of Australia? In Australia?

I'm American, but it seems to me that when I’ve encountered Australian speech or writing, I didn’t have much trouble understanding it. The words are mostly familiar to me. So what’s going on in the ...
7
votes
3answers
46k views

What does “pass it on” mean?

I love the song Pass It On by The Coral, but I can't understand the meaning of this sentence: Just find the feeling, pass it on. What does pass it on mean?
7
votes
4answers
51k views

First use of the slang term “Scrub”?

The slang term "scrub", when referred to a person, can mean several things. It seems like the original usage as an adjective is someone who is not good at something - video games, sports, etc. I am ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

“I'd-a lost”? What does this contraction stand for?

The first lines of George Thorogood's version of "One bourbon, one scotch, one beer": Wanna tell you a story about the houseman blues. I come home one Friday, had to tell the landlady I'd-a ...
6
votes
2answers
16k views

What's the meaning of the expression “Grab a hold”?

What does it mean to "grab a hold"? There is a song by Cyndi Lauper that says If you wanna grab a hold, let it go...
6
votes
2answers
18k views

What is “hoolihan” in “Old Paint” song?

Lyric is: I ride an old paint, I lead an old dan I'm goin' to Montana to throw the hoolihan They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw Their tails are all matted, their ...
6
votes
4answers
909 views

Have I got a little story for you

There is a song called "Alive", by Pearl Jam. The opening line is: Son, she said, have I got a little story for you Despite the subject-auxiliary inversion ("have I"), which would be expected in ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn” - What does it mean? [closed]

I've come across this quote from Phil Collins' Son of Man: In learning you will teach And in teaching you will learn I'm not really sure what it's supposed to mean - I think it means more ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

What does “love me do” mean?

As many of you know, there is a famous song by the Beatles entitled Love Me Do. Nevertheless, I have some doubts about the correctness of such a title. Does "love me do" mean the same as "love me" or ...
6
votes
3answers
204 views

Did “sublime” and “cherubim” rhyme in the past?

In my choir we are currently practicing some carols, including See amid the the winter's snow, which was written by Edward Caswall (1814–1878). Its six verses and refrain each have two pairs of very ...
5
votes
5answers
14k views

Meanings of 'killing moon' and 'killing time' in song by Echo and The Bunnymen

I was wondering what the meanings of the expressions killing moon and killing time on the song Killing moon by Echo and The Bunnymen are. Under blue moon I saw you So soon you'll take me Up in ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

Non-verbal lyrics in songs - is there a nice name for these?

Often in songs the lyrics will be "na na na", "doo doo doo" etc in a particular section or part. Is there a name for these sorts of sounds? I've seen "non-lexical vocables" which, while being ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

What does “do the 45” mean? [closed]

As a non native speaker I'm quite stumped trying to understand what "do the 45" means in this song by Ryan Shaw that has the same title. A few searches didn't help at all, so I wonder if this is some ...
5
votes
4answers
63k views

What does “put it down on me” mean?

What does the phrase "put it down on me" mean?
4
votes
7answers
894 views

Term that describes the technique in which an artist repeat lyrics from their previous work

I just want to preface this by stating I'm not sure if this would be better suited for the music stackexchange site, though I feel it's probably still appropriate here because my question mainly ...
4
votes
14answers
10k views

The meaning of “blue canoe” in the lyrics of “Where to Now, St. Peter” sung by Elton John

In his song Where to Now, St. Peter, Sir Elton John sings: I took myself a blue canoe, And I floated like a leaf Dazzling, dancing half enchanted In my Merlin sleep. Crazy was the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the word “spitters” in The Chemical Worker's Song?

Amongst the different versions of this song (Known by various names including "The Chemical Worker's Song", "Process Man" and "The ICI Song") that are floating around, there seem to be two variations ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of the sentence from the song “Powerless”

As I am not a native English speaker, I am a bit curious to know the meaning of this sentence which I heard in Nelly Furtado's song "Powerless": 'Cause this life is too short to live it just for ...
4
votes
1answer
57k views

What does “Hollaback Girl” mean?

Gwen Stefani says, "I ain't no hollaback girl" in her song. What does it mean?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“Buy the farm” meaning

In Alice Cooper’s song “Hey Stoopid” from his 1991 album, there is a verse that runs like this: Now I know you’ve been kicked around. You ain’t alone in this ugly town. You stick a needle ...
4
votes
2answers
897 views

“Lick on a trick for a Rolex” — meaning?

I heard this line in the rap song Ghetto Bird by Ice Cube (full lyrics here) and I'm completely puzzled by its meaning. My homey's here to lick on a trick for a Rolex And let me try the four next ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “Don't you forget about me” a correct use of the imperative?

I listened to the Simple Minds' song Don't You. It has following chorus: Don't you, forget about me Don't, don't, don't, don't Don't you, forget about me Why is this usage of imperative ...
4
votes
1answer
332 views

What is the meaning of the lyric “don't answer the phone 'udden udden'”?

There is a Ray Stevens song titled "Shriner's Convention" which, at around 1:05 in the linked version, contains the following one-sided phone conversation between two characters: "Coy, why aren't ...
4
votes
2answers
150 views

Why would singers omit 's' from “He takes/makes/etc” in song lyrics?

I heard it done on purpose in different songs; like here http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/mark+knopfler/news_20089384.html He's burning the grass He take up a glass He swallow it neat and here ...
4
votes
2answers
444 views

What's up with the -es/-eth inconsistency in “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”?

This hymn was written more than a century ago, back when more people were aware of how Early Modern English arranged its conjugations. But in the second verse, there appears to be an inconsistency ...
4
votes
2answers
263 views

Pronunciation of “the East” in the Carol “The First Noel” [duplicate]

I sing in a choir and most of us are Spanish speakers. We're singing The First Noel, and last night someone questioned whether we should say "the East" pronounced as "thuh East" or "thee East." The ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

What/who are “toy soldiers”? [closed]

There is a song called Toy Soldiers by Martika of which a part of the lyrics goes: Step by step Heart to heart Left, right, left We all fall down Like toy soldiers Bit by bit Torn ...
3
votes
3answers
520 views

Define “plate” from Sweeney Todd musical

The opening song of the Sweeney Todd musical contains the following passage about his wife: There was another man who saw that she was beautiful... A pious vulture of the law who, with a ...
3
votes
5answers
13k views

Meaning of “Ain't Seen Nothing Yet”

Was a little surprised I couldn't find a previous question asking about the phrase "Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". I try to decode its meaning every time I hear the song of the same name by Bachman Turner ...
3
votes
2answers
326 views

Is “you've coming from” a colloquialism?

In the Take That song, Never Forget, the lyrics run "Never forget where you've coming from". Was that a mistake, or is it a colloquialism (or something else) to say "you've" instead of "you're" in ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “look off”

In the line from the song ‘Million reasons’ by Lady Gaga, what does look off mean? Head stuck in a cycle, I look off and I stare. I searched an English dictionary. There’s no specific definition ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Join with all nature in manifold witness

In the song Great is Thy faithfulness there is a line that reads Join with all nature in manifold witness What does that mean? What is manifold witness?
3
votes
3answers
440 views

Carry we who die in battle

A song by the heavy metal band Manowar includes these lines: Carry we who die in battle Over land and sea The "we" sounds wrong for me. I'd use "us" in this sentence. A quick google search ...
3
votes
6answers
4k views

What does “[got] a bird-dog on” mean?

I have recently discovered the, in my view, rather splendid song Guitar Town by Steve Earle (released 1986). It contains the following lyric: Hey pretty baby are you ready for me, It's your good ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Shake 'em on down [closed]

In 1937 Bukka White recorded a blues song under the title of "Shake 'em on down". Part of the lyrics are cited on Wikipedia: Get your nightcap mama, and your gown Baby 'fore day we gonna shake '...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
3
votes
1answer
837 views

Term for poems structured by repetitive devices

Terms such as "blank verse", "free verse" and "heroic couplet" are used to refer to poems with particular forms. I am curious to know whether there exists a term for poems that are strongly ...
3
votes
0answers
5k views

What is the precise meaning of “f***” in the context of the hip hop mantra, “F*** bitches, get money”? [closed]

I've been hearing the line "Fuck bitches / Get money" in hip hop songs recently. I mostly noticed it lately in a couple of notable songs by Lil Wayne and other Young Money affiliated artists, but ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

What does the word 'dicta' ('dita'?) mean in the song 'Who's That Chick?'?

The song 'Who's That Chick?' by David Guetta featuring Rihanna features the following line in the chorus: She's been a crazy dicta, disco fever and you wonder... Lyrics websites disagree on the ...
2
votes
3answers
16k views

Pink Floyd's “steel breeze” [closed]

Keeping in mind how difficult to explain/translate Pink Floyd's lyrics are, I would carefully listen to all insights that native speakers might have as per the meaning of the phrase "steel breeze", ...
2
votes
4answers
682 views

Double negation

How should I interpret the following lyric from America: we ain't had no time to drink that beer?
2
votes
4answers
989 views

“to go up the field a ways”

I found this phrase in some Chemical Brothers lyrics: I thought we were going To go up the field a ways To join all the other living souls But you never came English's not my first language ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “And she promises the earth to me…” mean?

I like the famous song. But I can't understand what does "to promise the earth" mean. Does she want to give the Earth to him? I suspect native English speakers find it a strange question. Maybe I don'...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Man of the room” mean?

I am in the process of translating Sister Sledge's "B.Y.O.B" song into Russian. Could you please help me to grasp the meaning of the "Man of the room" idiom used in this song?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the deep meaning in the lyrics of “Heavy Traffic” by Elton John? [closed]

In the lyrics, some pieces I couldn't understand very well: Shakey wake up thirsty from a night in the bar And snake hips Joe is Mr. Cool What's snake hips? And, does the name Joe have a ...