Monday, 1 October 2012

Song Dissection - Beck


So, here’s another Song Dissection for you.  This time I felt like a challenge, so I decided to tackle Beck – Loser, as suggested by Chiz.  Let’s see if we can discern some sort of narrative within this blithering mess:



In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins so I'm out to cut the junkie

-       OK, so we’ve established that Beck is a monkey that is addicted to hooking up Calor gas cylinders to his veins.  Quite why he decided to go into song writing is beyond me, but let’s continue.

With the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables

-       Two points.  One, if you have plastic eyeballs, you really need to change your doctor.  They should at least be giving you glass ones, or could probably resolve your ophthalmic needs with laser eye surgery. Two, I would never support a man who enjoys spray painting paraplegics.  It’s just cruel.

Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose

-       I used to know a girl at school who smelled distinctly of bacon.  Not nice smoked bacon, but bacon that’s been spat out of a dog’s mouth and left on a windowsill for a month.  We eventually found out that this smell was caused by incontinence, and the fact that she didn’t change her undergarments.  The point I’m trying to make here is that if you own some pantyhose that smells distinctly of meat, it’s probably not a great item to keep around food preparation areas, even if you’re only selling dog food.  Food hygiene is important.

Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flamin' with a loser and the cruise control

-       We’ve now established that Beck is not a great driver.  That’s probably how he got his plastic eyes.

Baby's in Reno with the vitamin D
Got a couple of couches sleep on the love seat
Someone keeps sayin I'm insane to complain
About a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt

-       Actually, I think he’s a got a right to complain about this marriage.  What kind of sick weirdo would force a blind monkey to marry their daughter?  Also, they could at least give him some clean clothes for the big day.

Don't believe everything that you breathe

-       So if I breathe in noxious fumes, they don’t necessarily exist?  Quick, pass the glue!  I have some school years to catch up on.

You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve

-       Is that the punishment for a parking violation?  I’d take a maggot on my sleeve over a parking fine any day.

So shave your face with some mace in the dark
Savin' all your food stamps and burnin' down the trailer park

-       Sounds like a good night out to me.  Someone’s going to be hungover tomorrow!

Yo, cut it.

Soy un perdedor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?

-       I won’t kill you because assisted suicide is illegal, even if you are a blind monkey suffering from car crash injuries.

Soy un perdidor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?

Forces of evil in a bozo nightmare
Banned all the music with a phony gas chamber

-       Let’s take this back a step and contemplate what Beck is describing here.  He is imagining a post-apocalyptic world in which music, in all forms, has been outlawed.  Any kind of sonic output is punishable with bruising justice.  The standard sentence for a convicted musician is to put rounded up into concentration camps, pushed into a makeshift gas chamber, under the impression that they’re going to die.  Then, the whole thing turns out to be a hoax and streamers come out of the showers or something.  This is unimaginable cruelty.

'Cause one's got a weasel and the other's got a flag
One's got on the pole shove the other in a bag

-       Are these Christmas presents?  I’d be pretty pissed if my parents only bought me a flag or a pole for Christmas.  The weasel would be pretty cool though, although difficult to wrap.

With the rerun shows and the cocaine nose job
The daytime crap of a folksinger slob
He hung himself with a guitar string

-       Don’t know of many folk singers that have died a rockstar death, but there you go.

Slap the turkey neck and it's hangin from a pigeon wing

-       I assume this is an insult towards the wobbly bit of fat that some people have underneath their arms.

You can't write if you can't relate
Trade the cash for the beef for the body for the hate

-       This is the weirdest trade-up I’ve ever heard of.  He should start with a bottle of water and try and work his way up to a camper van.  Still, if I was Beck, I’d have stuck with the body.  It sounds like he needs a new one after that traffic collision.

And my time is a piece of wax, fallin' on a termite
That's chokin on the splinters

-       That’s an incredibly wretched life for that termite.  He might even rival Beck himself as the most severely disabled person in this song.

Soy un perdedor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
(Get crazy with the Cheeze Whiz)
Soy un perdidor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
(Drive-by body pierce)

Yo bring it on down
Sooooooy...
(Soy un perdedor I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?)
(I'm a driver, I'm a winner; things are gonna change, I can feel it.)

Soy un perdidor

I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
(I can't believe you)
Soy un perdidor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
Soy un perdidor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
(Sprechen sie Deutches, baby)
Soy un perdidor
I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?
(Know what I'm sayin?)

-       These aren’t closing lyrics.  They’re more like spasms.


So what can we take from this song?  Well, Beck goes into great detail about a car crash which turned him into a partially-sighted simian, and repeatedly begs us to kill him.  Lovely!

If you have any songs you’d like to see dissected here, please let me know.

22 comments:

  1. This was awesome, and I have no words to offer. All I can suggest is your next song, if you haven't done it already. The Mars Volta - Eriatarka. Some sample lyrics:

    Trackmarked amoeba lands craft
    Cartwheel of scratches
    Dress the tapeworm as pets
    Tentacles smirk please
    Flinch the cocooned meat

    Please tell me what the fuck this means.

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    1. This is a description of intercourse with a Lovecraftian horror. That's all I can come up with!

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  2. Now Beck makes sense...No, never mind, on second thought he's still intensely incomprehensible. Also, you forced me to go to an English/Spanish translation site so I could see how you're supposed to spell "perdedor."

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    1. Well I got that off of a lyrics site, so it's not 100% reliable. Is "Perdedor" the correct spelling?

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  3. Wow, come to think of it, I've been singing the wrong lyrics my entire life. Instead of "soy un perdidor," I always said, "Rawr, open the door." Wow, couldn't have been any more off than that. Anyway, I applaud you for being able to tackle this song. Maybe you could dissect the murderous undertones of Mary 'Had' a Little Lamb, next?

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    1. Where I'm from, to have "had" something or someone is to have had sex with them. I don't think I need to explain further.

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  4. I once tried using one of those voice recognition software programs to save me from my own rubbish typing and what it produced was this song I am sure, or almost the same thing. So I think Mr Beck is a fraud and has discovered all he needs to do is read something like a cook book and hay presto he has another hit. I was told voice recognition needs training so I sent my PC along with the dog. Apparently it did stay really well but was rubbish at fetch and although it could play dead it was not always on the right command.

    I thought about suggesting 'I am a fire starter' as your next song but I think it is plainly clear that the singer likes starting fires.

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    1. I sent my voice recognition on some training, and it came back with a degree in social economics. Very clever, but not quite what I had in mind.

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  5. I've always wanted MMM MMM MMM by the crash test dummies to be explained to me. Tis a nice if odd song. Get cracking.

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    1. Love that song. I'll see what I can do.

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  6. I've really got to listen to more music.

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    1. Oh you should, definitely! Music has taught me many important life lessons. I now know the correct safety procedure for a roof fire (let the motherfucker burn), and that if you like it then you absolutely have to put a ring on it.

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  7. Oh my gosh! This was great despite the fact that I have been singing this song wrong all these years. And, now it's stuck in my head.

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    1. Misheard lyrics, eh? I thought that Secret Agent Man was actually Secret Asian Man for far too long.

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  8. DAMN I thought I left a comment but it is not here . . . . . . . I wonder if I have left the comment elsewhere that might confuse someone. . . . . . . I am more than capable of doing something like that I think Beck is not the only confused chap in the world.

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    1. You did leave a comment, but Blogger flagged it as spam. Obviously Google have identified you as a Viagra salesman.

      ...Can I have some? For a friend, of course.

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    2. I'm British it must be my stiff upper lip

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  9. Man oh man, I do love me some of that Scientologist's musical blarf. Even if it makes non-sense, I love it. Don't forget "Sea Change" which is a wee departure from this oodles-of-brain-noodles here. And if we are all requesting musical interpretations, may I suggest some teeny-bopper pop crap from today? [i am drawing a blank, and have far too many grey hairs to suggest any particular kiddo.]

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    1. For the record, I do actually like Beck. But I feel disappointed to learn that he's a Scientologist. Are there any celebrities left untainted by this hideous pyramid scheme?

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  10. Awesome XD I think you ought to dissect something by System of A Down. They're mental, but in a good way.

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    1. The first time I heard Chop Suey I honestly thought the lyrics were "Wake up! Put on a little monkey makeup."

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