Wake Up and Pay Attention to the Lyrics

Most people take scant time to pay much attention to lyrics. The radio comes on and some kind of noise emanates from the speakers and we’re too busy doing other things. Well, that needs to change. Here’s why… we can’t sit still for lousy lyrics anymore. Record companies are allowing crap lyricists to write lyrics for bands and they are recording this stuff and yes, it’s being played on the airwaves. The airwaves that all of us own and tune into for ‘entertainment’. That’s right. The public owns the airwaves. The government sells the rights to it ‘on our behalf’. And so, we get garbage like the following (actual song I just heard on my favorite radio station, 98.9 Liberty (the ‘we play anything station’ here in Richmond).

Excerpt of ‘Plush’ by Stone Temple Pilots (chorus):

Where ya going for tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?
And I feel, and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?

I struggle to begin a thoughtful analysis. The peculiarly disgusting final couplet of the above chorus repels with vivid imagery (or should I say ‘smellery’), while simultaneously being an odd non sequitur. In fact, the entire chorus seems like a string of unrelated statements absent even a vague correlation. It may make some sense if we knew who ‘she’ was. Yet there are so many other questions:

What mask? Where was it found? Who is the speaker in the song who found the mask? How did the person the song is directed to get the mask? Was it stolen? Was it given to the person? Why? What kind of mask? A tribal mask? Was it part of an archeological dig? Or was it a child’s mask left behind after Halloween? Was it a Power Puff Girl mask? Batman? Darth Vader? He repeats that he ‘feels’; what does he mean? Is he sad? Happy? Or perhaps he’s feeling the mask. Or maybe he’s petting one of the dogs. And why is tomorrow important? Is he just curious about what this other person is doing? Does he have feelings for him/her? Is he trying to set up a date? What does he feel? Again, what connection does this feeling have with the dogs? What kind of dogs are they? Poodles? Doberman’s? Shelty’s? Hounds? Is this a hunt of some perverse kind? Is ‘she’ actually a fox, literally, as in the animal? Perhaps the song is about the Lone Ranger on a fox hunt. Tht may explain the connection between the dogs and the mask. Assuming the ‘she’ in the song is a human, though, what happened that she smells so bad? Did she forget to take a shower? Or maybe she’s been injured and the dogs can smell blood. Of course, the dogs have heightened animal senses so perhaps she showered after all and they’re still able to follow her. But what about her ‘smelling alone’? Is she on her way to some kind of perfume festival? Why is she going alone? Does the protagonist in the song wish to go with her to the perfume festival? Does that make him gay (NTTAWWT*) or just a supportive boyfriend? Or is he wondering if she will join some kind of cult that doesn’t believe in bathing?

The hilarity is that the song is sung in earnest. According to trusty Wikipedia, Scott Weiland, the band’s singer, has said that the song’s lyrics are a metaphor for a failed relationship. That said relationship apparently is between Mr. Weiland and talent.

The sad thing is that this song is actually played on the radio and people take it seriously. Not that it’s too suprising (witness the entire career of the band ‘Kiss’). Keep in mind though that ‘Plush’ comes from a band who once thought ‘Shirley Temple’s Pussy’ was a good name for a band. I guess the answer is that in ‘rock and roll’ circles bad taste is often confused with being cool. As the great Nigel Tufnel (of Spinal Tap fame) once said, ‘It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.’

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