“Lost my shit, trying to act casual.” For years…years…that is what I thought David Byrne was singing on “Crosseyed And Painless” off the Talking Heads Remain In Light LP. Nope. It turned out he was singing “lost my shape.” The mis-hearing of lyrics is nothing new; there are books, websites, entire tomes dedicated to this very thing. But I’m not interested in rehashing cases of the “excuse me while I kiss this guy” Purple Haze variety; no, what I am interested in are the stories of when learning the song’s actual words changes its meaning. Byrne’s use of ‘shape‘ works, it makes sense in the context, but in learning the “right” lyric it effectively changed what the song meant to me—my interpretation as the listener. In fact it lost some of its power. For years I pictured an anxious dude losing his shit, you know, his anxiety overloading while, ironically, he’s just trying to play it cool and act casual. That was the introduction to the song’s character for me. Let’s open the discussion up. Oh, and for the record, when I karaoke this jam, I still sing “lost my shit.” It just feels better.
In The Comments: What songs come to mind where the mis-heard lyrics altered the narrative of the song? Also, in which cases were the mis-heard lyrics preferable to the “real” ones?!
MP3: Talking Heads :: Crosseyed And Painless