Friday, 30 June 2017

My Top Ten Pedantic Songs

I am well know for being a little bit of a pedant. It comes with being an English teacher... and a blogger. But at least I've never written a pedantic song. Unlike these people...

10. Weird Al Yankovich - Word Crimes

Good on Weird Al for parodying the hideous Blurred Lines... and turning it into a pedantic rant about grammar crimes.

Say you got an "I","T"
Followed by apostrophe, "s"
Now what does that mean?
You would not use "it's" in this case
As a possessive
It's a contraction
What's a contraction?
Well, it's the shortening of a word, or a group of words
By the omission of a sound or letter

9. Of Montreal - An Epistle To A Pathological Creep

Kevin Barnes has a pedantic mate he really doesn't like...

He'd explain to you but it would take too long
Why he is right and everybody else is wrong
He'd endeavor friend to make your mind correct
He'd try but he thinks it would take too long too long
It's probably simple math
That keeps him on his elevated path

8. Biffy Clyro - Born On A Horse

...whereas Simon Neil (least rock star name EVER?) doesn't like the way Americans spell and pronounce one particular kind of not-so-heavy metal.

I pronounce it aluminium
'cause there's an I next to the U and M
Now write it down slowly
And read it out fast

7. Harry Connick Jr. - Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

Yes, I know I should have gone with Fred & Ginger. Or Louis & Ella. But I have a special fondness for the HCJr version, even though he's arguing with himself. Seriously though, have you EVER met anyone who says 'po-tah-toe'?

6. William Shatner & Henry Rollins - I Can't Get Behind That

Two grumpy old pedants put the world to rights. I can get behind that.

5. My Life Story - If You Can't Live Without Me Then Why Aren't You Dead Yet?

Charming. You don't need to take things so literally, Jake. You might upset Father John Misty (below).

4. Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill

Scroobius Pip tells you how to live your life... and gets his knickers in a twist over how the Oxford English Dictionary spells the word 'phoenix'. (He's wrong though.)

3. Half Man Half Biscuit - National Shite Day
I defy you to find a more pedantic songwriter than Nigel Blackwell. This is just one example... there are many more available.

I finally managed to reach the station
Only to find that the bus replacement service had broken down

After wondering to myself whether or not it should actually be called a train replacement service...

2. Father John Misty - The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment

FJM gets rather bent out of shape about a lady friend's use of one particular word...

She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes
And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream
I wonder if she even knows what that word means
Well, it's literally not that

He does have a point. Quite literally.

1. Barton Carroll - Past Tense

Barton's girlfriend dumps him when she gets her Master's Degree. She's a grammar nazi too. He's probably better off without her. But the strict ladies do make him weak at the knees...

Now if I ask what's wrong
You say, "It's not you, it's me"
And if I ask who's him?
You say, "It's not him, it's he."
My sentence composition is so far from refined
My participles dangle
Like a fish on a line

OK, my fellow pedants... which pedantic song did I miss out?


  1. Replies
    1. It strikes me he isn't someone to get stuck in a lift with.

  2. Replies
    1. It took me a long time to get that pun.

  3. Oh I love this top ten, some brilliant lyrics there. It's a real revelation; I had no idea there were so many musicians obsessing about grammar and language, and I applaud them for it. Who'd have thought it?
    (Talking of which, that's one that gets me... when 'have' is replaced by 'of' in the above. Years ago a colleague once needed to write 'would have' and thought it was 'would of' - then asked me if it should have one 'f' or two.)
    The use of 'literally' when it means the opposite gets me as well. Seems to turn up all the time right now, along with 'obviously' when it's not, and the overuse of 'basically' as a filler word. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm getting picky here too. I suppose it doesn't really matter as long as we know what someone means. But then, isn't that what grammatical rules are all about, to prevent ambiguity?

    1. I'm torn, because I also believe that language is ever-evolving and that archaic rules should be abandoned in favour of popular usage. However, when popular usage is hideous or just plain wrong... then I become enraged.

  4. Funnily enough, this week I was listening to a new song by Alison Moyet "The English U", which according to ( is about her mother who was very particular about grammar errors.

    1. Not heard that before, but I like it a lot. Since writing this post, I've also found myself listening to Dan Baird's I Love You, Period...

      ...which would have fit the bill perfectly.

  5. An excellent Top 10 Rol. Would 'Oxford Comma' by Vampire Weekend count? Comment of the week goes to Adrian.

    1. I considered it, but decided I'd save it for my Top Ten Punctuation Songs... along with the Dan Baird track I mention above.


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