Despite alll my prior ragging on the English lyrics to “Dhoom Again” there are plenty of other songs with cheeezy English lyrics that I do play quite frequently in my sets. In fact, many of my favorite artists prominently feature dumb-ass lyrics in their work, such as my long-time favorites: The Jesus and Mary Chain. So why do I happily play songs like “Where’s the Party Tonight” and “It’s the Time to Disco” while dissing “Dhoom Again?” Well, it goes back to an earlier post about the subjectivity of taste. I might like something that has a million suspect elements, but none of those elements interfere with my enjoyment of it. They may even enhance my enjoyment, like when Jim Reid sings “feels like, feels like, pain . . .to my brain.” Or how about “don’t know why, don’t know why, things vaporize and rise to the sky.” Or how about “get your lips around a cool black pepsi coke.” While I fully understand that such lyrics might inspire revulsion in others, I derive enjoyment from them. No doubt like some people derive enjoyment from the lyrics of “Dhoom Again.” Not me, however. I re-listened to the track the other day and realized that even with wildly-soloing guitars, I don’t have any problem with the instrumental to the track, it’s just the awful lyrics. Maybe they could re-do it in Hindi, and with my limited language ability, no matter how bad the lyrics were, they wouldn’t bother me.
That is one thing of which I am all too aware. Since I am only fluent in one language, I don’t fully understand the lyrics to most of the songs that I play. Even with my knowledge of Spanish, I can hardly penetrate the linguistic intricacies of most Reggaeton tracks, due to my ignorance of the peculiarities of Puerto Rican slang and pronunciation. –I bought a book specifically on Puerto Rican Spanish. The gringo author claimed that he had lived in several Spanish-speaking countries and believed he was fully fluent, but after moving to Puerto Rico, had to practically learn a whole new language.– Because of my limited language abilities, I am very possibly playing dumb-ass (or highly-offensive) lyrics all the time, that would offend my sensibilities a great deal, were they in English. In my ignorance, I play them happily. In fact, when one is not fluent in a language, simple lyrics are great, because you can understand them. –Hey, the singer is saying “I love you, Baby, tonight,” that’s great!– Whenever there is a popular song in another language, if the beat doesn’t grab me, I assume there has to be something in the lyrics that is meaningful to native speakers.
When I criticize a song for cheezy lyrics I am not making any objective claims about the content of the song. I am merely making a strongly-worded personal judgement. I don’t pretend that my tastes have any validity outside my own nervous system. In fact, with my years of dance floor-clearing experience, I know my taste has no validity outside my own nervous system. It’s not that the songs I play have “better” cheezy English lyrics, they just don’t bother me as much, for whatever reason. You can have your “Dhoom Again” and I’ll gladly take New Order, all Mark Robinson projects, The Ramones, and the Reid brothers.