Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whhhy? - Meet Virginia

In 1999, Meet Virginia provided American rock band Train with a bonafide hit, peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. By all accounts, it's a good song. It has a catchy tune, a memorable hook. But... As inspired as some of the lyrics are ("You see her confidence is tragic/But her intuition magic"), the rest is lazily and haphazardly written.

At one point in the first verse, lead singer Patrick Monahan wistfully intones the line, "[She] smokes a pack a day/Wait, that's me, but anyway." If it were an off the cuff remark, then it could be considered a funny aside. But they wrote that line, crafted it into their song. That would imply they put some thought into it. But it's a line about thoughtlessness, and it's a throw away line. It's the type of line you write when you want to be cute and need something to match the rhyme and meter.

In the second verse, unable to find a suitable rhyme for "president" (resident?), they simply use "president" again. And it only gets worse from there.

The first chorus roughly follows an A-A-A-A rhyme scheme. However two of these words are "queen." To make matters worse, the first and last lines of the first chorus are more or less the same, simply restructured. Furthermore the actual content of each line contradicts the other: "Well she wants to be the Queen," and "'I don't really want to be the Queen.'" It just seems like lazy songwriting. But that's not all. It gets even more worse.

Again, the second chorus follows the rhyme scheme of A-A-A-A, but this time three of the rhyming words are the same. And again, the lines are more or less the same in terms of structure, while simultaneously contradictory: "Well she wants to live her life," "Then she thinks about her life," "I don't really want to live this life." Incredibly enough the last chorus combines both choruses into a work of astonishing laziness. If that's all it takes to write a hit song, then here's a version of the chorus I came up with while washing dishes: Well she wants to eat her peas/Then she mashes up her peas/Throws her head back as she pees/But she really doesn't like her peas.

Although it's a catchy song, with some occasionally inspired lyrics, Meet Virginia is also one of the laziest songs I've ever heard. So I ask, why, Train? Whhhy?!

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