1538: "Lyrics"

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1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Jragonlord » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:06 am UTC

Image
Title text:To me, trying to understand song lyrics feels like when I see text in a dream but it𝔰 hอᵣd t₀ ᵣeₐd aกd 𝒾 canٖt fཱྀcu༧༦࿐༄

... And this is the part where we start Googling song lyrics. The last line's "Forgetting love", and I think the opening is "I can't even." Does anyone read Randallese better than I?

Edit: Edited to correct copy-paste-fail and include edit note.
Last edited by Jragonlord on Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:17 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Bisqwit » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:13 am UTC

It is quite comforting to learn that someone whose native language is English is also struggling with this problem. For me, to understand the lyrics in most English songs that I hear I must really, really concentrate hard to listen, and I usually can't be bothered.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Eutychus » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:19 am UTC

It probably begins along the lines of

# blinded by the light... #
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Jragonlord » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:19 am UTC

Bisqwit wrote:It is quite comforting to learn that someone whose native language is English is also struggling with this problem. For me, to understand the lyrics in most English songs that I hear I must really, really concentrate hard to listen, and I usually can't be bothered.

I think it's a problem for everyone, native language or no. Artistic license gives way to altered pronunciations, and lyrics suddenly are incomprehensible. There are songs I've listened to hundreds of times, and I still can't figure out all of the lyrics on my own.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby BlitzGirl » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:26 am UTC

This is why I usually look up the lyrics after I hear a new song for the first time, because if I'm going to be singing along in the future it's probably better if I know what's actually coming out of my mouth.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby higgs-boson » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:31 am UTC

Jragonlord wrote:I think it's a problem for everyone, native language or no. Artistic license gives way to altered pronunciations, and lyrics suddenly are incomprehensible. There are songs I've listened to hundreds of times, and I still can't figure out all of the lyrics on my own.


This depends heavily on the genre. Would someone care to perform a statistical analysis on all "misheared lyrics" post on the internet?

Folk, along with most singer/songwriter stuff is no trouble whatsoever. They depend on lyrics more than on sound fx.
Pop is tiring and introduces syllable-related packet loss.
Metal* - do they really use actual words? And if they do, would it matter?

*This is one of the very rare occations I can compare Metal to Opera and call it a tie.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:42 am UTC

That's why music without lyrics is so good!
Actually, this doesn't happen too often for me. Probably due to my common choice of genres. But on the other hand there's some songs that the lyrics are clear to, but the meaning of the lyrics is totally opaque. (Like Switchfoot's Concrete Girl. Love the song but what does it mean??? Maybe I should look it up.)

Then there's gems like this:
Spoiler:
that fool old mary lee threw foil on me
i let it cool so many could see
hold me down
the girls all cast some foil at me

so let the way i felt go wah ah ah
a wicker lick of hooves to go lah lah lah
you’re so mean
severe old malady

dance on your balls
cat bussing a handbag
yours only yours
walrus tickle dance bance
it’s no lie
lisa in the crowd saying
meh anyhow
it’s caramelldansen

so me i’m such a fool baby i push doors
asking all around if i slipped my laws
cool me down
it’s hard standing with all meat out

so let’s go in a field and go wah ah ah
a wicker little hoof to go lah lah lah
you’re so mean
severe old malady

so come on

dance on your balls
cat bussing a handbag
yours only yours
walrus tickle dance bance
it’s no lie
lisa in the crowd saying
meh anyhow
it’s caramelldansen
(repeat 3 more times)

source: https://desertbus.org/blog/2013/11/20/w ... c-contest/
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby LordHorst » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:57 am UTC

Sometimes I even have a hard time figuring out that the lyrics are supposed to be in english, heh. My favorite genre is metal, and it has already been stated here, there are subgenres where you simply cannot understand the lyrics, even if you look them up. :lol:

Also, since I don't listen to pop music (like, at all...), I cannot even tell if I also have a hard time figuring out the lyrics in my native language. Maybe I should give it a try.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby FOARP » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:08 am UTC

Meh, another "get off my lawn" piece.

Like most people I've gone decades with the wrong lyrics to a song stuck in my head, but none as wrong as my sister, who on her 23rd birthday (an entirely boozy affair spent in an outdoor karaoke place in rural Taiwan) asked whether any of us knew "Baby Bananas". None of us did, so we asked her to hum the first few lines - and out came the tune to "Lady Madonna" by the Beatles!

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Bloopy » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:49 am UTC

This is very me. I'm sure I'm slower to perceive words than others. It took me until at least adulthood to be patient enough to wait for my brain to process rather than immediately asking someone to repeat themselves.

I remember when I started liking a particular punk band. I'd disliked them previously because I could barely understand a quarter of the words. It marked a major turning point where I started appreciating sounds rather than just catchy lyrics. Songs with lyrics I can understand still dominate my favourites though.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:10 am UTC

I've had Taiwanese friends amused that I like Chinese pop when I can't understand Mandarin, and Brazilian friends likewise that I like Xuxa and don't know a word of Portuguese. They nod knowingly when I point out that I can't understand most song lyrics in my own language either.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:12 am UTC

Sometimes, even after looking up the lyrics, they still don't make any sense.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby solune » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:17 am UTC

xkcd wrote: when I see text in a dream but it𝔰 hอᵣd t₀ ᵣeₐd aกd 𝒾 canٖt fཱྀcu༧༦࿐༄


I've had dreams where I read poetry, but the dream lagged because my brain couldn't invent the text fast enough for me to read it. GOOMHR !

... The poem was of the quality you'd expect from a dream ; I'm not sure it even rhymed.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Garrett » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:34 am UTC

I always wondered this but do people really have trouble reading in dreams? Because I never had a problem with it. In fact, after I woke up and managed to remember the dream I was always surprised how logical and grammatically correct the documents/books/notes/whatever I read were.

As for lyrics, yep, have to look them up, though I don't bother with songs I'm not going to listen hundreds of times.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby FOARP » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:37 am UTC

PS - just looked up the lyrics to "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" by REM, a song I must have heard hundreds of times: "Call me when you try to wake her up"? WTF?

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:56 am UTC

FOARP wrote:PS - just looked up the lyrics to "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" by REM, a song I must have heard hundreds of times: "Call me when you try to wake her up"? WTF?

As I understand it, that's just one candidate for what he sings. I believe REM are one of those bands who refuse to disclose the lyrics to their songs, though this might have changed in the decades since Sidewinder was written.

May I take this opportunity to introduce the word mondegreen into the thread.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:08 am UTC

Ah, but mondegreens are such fun! How else could we get such entertaining gems like Nightwish's "hard porn will find a way"...? :lol:
Anyway, looking up lyrics is also somewhat pointless, due to the lyrics-equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle - you can always find any number of differing interpretations but the more you find the less certain you get which one (if any at all) is the right one...

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Postby Bo Lindbergh » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:10 am UTC

Tom Lehrer must be near the top of the can't-be-misheard list.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby sfmans » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:00 am UTC

This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon. Modern pop music, can't hear the words, weren't like that in my day ...

Not saying that I don't AGREE, mind, but it's exactly what my Dad would say when he chanced to encounter the joys of Pink Floyd, Yes, and the like. And then when punk came along and compounded the problem x100 ...

I found myself watching TV highlights from a big open air concert recently, the Radio 1 Big Weekend, and although I couldn't make out a single word that was being sung onstage, a sea of enthusiastic teenagers were singing along with every word so they obviously thought they knew what the words were!

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:20 am UTC

sfmans wrote:This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon.

Wow, projecting much...? Mishearing lyrics is a truly universal and timeless issue if there ever was one.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby staticsan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:23 am UTC

This comic has interesting timing, with the rise in K-pop in the last few years. I don't speak Korean (okay, I've learnt a few words and am slowly learning more) but I still love my K-pop. But it became obvious to me in the last month or so that a lot of the fans of the radio station I listen to aren't that interested in the language.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby armandoalvarez » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:01 am UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
sfmans wrote:This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon.

Wow, projecting much...? Mishearing lyrics is a truly universal and timeless issue if there ever was one.

I think it's also partially that Randall's music knowledge is better than his sports knowledge, but not much https://xkcd.com/132/

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:09 am UTC

staticsan wrote:This comic has interesting timing, with the rise in K-pop in the last few years. I don't speak Korean (okay, I've learnt a few words and am slowly learning more) but I still love my K-pop. But it became obvious to me in the last month or so that a lot of the fans of the radio station I listen to aren't that interested in the language.
I stumbled across a K-pop song by chance last year and love it despite the lack of comprehension. Or maybe because of it. (I did look up the translation though, not that it matters much.)

Oh and there's a song which I was disappointed to learn hsd the lyrics "hey, devil go home, get your junk out of here" rather than "...get your truck out of here". And sadly it started with "she dialed him about 6PM" not "she dialed in about six feet ten", thus the subsequent lyric "stepped througx the door, like this" did not imply ducking to fit in the door. :(
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Locoluis » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:44 am UTC

Oh, dear. Researching about the lyrics and meanings of individual songs has deepened my appreciation for many of my favorite bands, and also made me a fan of bands I once didn't want to give a chance.

On the flip side, it also made me cringe many times, as I wouldn't have listened to certain bands if I knew them better. While I recognize that many of those are quite talented, it's their message and significance that made me dislike them.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Xenomortis » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:49 am UTC

Most of the music I listen to have* lyrics in languages I don't speak, so this doesn't bother me too much.
Of course, I still feel compelled to look them up online.

*has or have - I spent way too long thinking about it.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Mental Mouse » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:52 am UTC

Oh, yeah, it's another "Randall, get out of my head" here too. (Hearing-impaired since birth, and it's slowly getting worse with age.) And that's a great visual expression of what it sounds like!

This is why I usually favor balladeers, but even that doesn't always help. Especially when the track is filtered and remixed into pudding... :roll:

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby billk » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:56 am UTC

A friend used the term "lyric-deaf" as a parallel to "tone-deaf."

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:23 pm UTC

sfmans wrote:This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon. Modern pop music, can't hear the words, weren't like that in my day ...

I don't think there was any implication in the comic of older songs being clearer.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:25 pm UTC

sfmans wrote:This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon. Modern pop music, can't hear the words, weren't like that in my day ...

Not saying that I don't AGREE, mind, but it's exactly what my Dad would say when he chanced to encounter the joys of Pink Floyd, Yes, and the like. And then when punk came along and compounded the problem x100 ...

I found myself watching TV highlights from a big open air concert recently, the Radio 1 Big Weekend, and although I couldn't make out a single word that was being sung onstage, a sea of enthusiastic teenagers were singing along with every word so they obviously thought they knew what the words were!


ORLY? From the day it came out, we've been arguing over what "the pompitus of love" actually means.

But actually I came here to observe that the "broken language" in the drawing is strongly reminiscent of the difficulty Cueball and Megan had communicating with the 'modern' society they met up with (and stole maps from).
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:30 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:Most of the music I listen to have* lyrics in languages I don't speak [...]

*has or have - I spent way too long thinking about it.

has. Music is a mass/uncountable noun, which requires the singular form of the verb. But most of the songs you listen to have lyrics in languages you don't speak, which is probably how you confused yourself.

Personally, I'm terrible at understanding lyrics, but I get so much enjoyment out of melody, harmony and rhythm that I don't generally mind.

ETA: Actually, the Tin Pan Alley songwriters were geniuses, and they had great tunes too. That's why I love jazz: you take that fantastic raw material and add some extra harmonic and rhythmic complexity, and (if you have a vocalist) perform it in a way that allows the words to be heard clearly. I never understood why older people said "they don't write songs like they used to" until I discovered the Great American Songbook. Having said that, I love Hendrix too, and am quite happy to excuse him while he kisses that guy.
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:01 pm UTC

The song from Final Fantasy VIII, Eyes On Me, is somewhat Engrish so I eventually discovered that "ifromishuutha" was intended to be, not "I promise you that" but "If frown is shown then"...

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Plutarch » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:58 pm UTC

Can anyone tell me where all the lyrics on the internet come from? I find I can look up the lyrics to quite obscure songs, and it makes me wonder, who put these here? A dedicated team of scribes who listened to all the songs and then wrote down the lyrics? Or do bands supply them? (Do lyric sheets still exist?)

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby jotun » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:01 pm UTC

Pearl Jam comic

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby zombie_monkey » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

Garrett wrote:I always wondered this but do people really have trouble reading in dreams? Because I never had a problem with it. In fact, after I woke up and managed to remember the dream I was always surprised how logical and grammatically correct the documents/books/notes/whatever I read were.

As for lyrics, yep, have to look them up, though I don't bother with songs I'm not going to listen hundreds of times.


Yeah, me neither, I have no trouble reading in dreams. In fact once I dreamed I had an email from someone about a scientific topic I was interested in, but when I woke up I was weirded out because awake, I didn't recognise the name, although in my dream I knew him. I googled it and it turned out he was an actual expert in that field. I guess I had read about him weeks or months ago. And the information I read in that email in my dream was actually useful.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby jozwa » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:15 pm UTC

Reminds me of the time someone introduced me to a song (Sabaton - White Death) and I said it was okay if a little generic-sounding. They pretty much got offended and said I didn't give enough credit to the awesome lyrics. Cue this trope.

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Keyman » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:
sfmans wrote:This is such a Grumpy Old Man cartoon. Modern pop music, can't hear the words, weren't like that in my day ...

I don't think there was any implication in the comic of older songs being clearer.

If it's a Grumpy Old Man thing, I'd plead guilty, but it ain't necessarily just "modern pop music". It's been going on for a while.

Seems to me, if an artist believes the lyrics are meant to convey a specific sound, then there is no real need for the words to be intelligible (or comprehensible, if they are (I was told once, this was a "Jon Anderson" thing - the lyrics don't have to make sense because he sometimes chooses phonemes for the harmonic structure)). But if the lyrics are to be appreciated as a message, a poem, a rant, a political statement...then they owe it to us, the audience, to make it clearly heard. It's a much better experience to be saying 'WTF did he mean?, rather than "WTF did he say?'
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby moz1959 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:59 pm UTC

I can't help wonder the following:

1. Has Randall been listening to Madder Lake's Twelve Pound Toothbrush?
"Na na na na na na na, na na na na na na Na na"
The rest is open for interpretation, and I've never been able to find out what the lyrics actually were supposed to be.
(It pretty much pre-dates the internet! :shock: )

2. Didn't Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis already cover the meat of this gag in "The Long Kiss Goodnight"?
"I'm not talkin bout the linen"

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby cryptoengineer » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:59 pm UTC

If you want music with understandable lyrics, try Broadway Musicals.
Since significant bits of exposition are usually wrapped up in the lyrics,
there's an effort to get them enunciated clearly.

That doesn't mean you can't have a lot of fun with them.
Try this Sondheim tune:

"Your Fault", from "Into the Woods"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gye0nO_efqI

On the other hand, if you've ever wondered what English pop
songs sound like to a non-English speaker, try this: its one
of the most extraordinary pieces of music I've ever heard.

"Prisencolinensinainciusol"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfSJEWNTvo4


ce

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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Xenomortis » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:07 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Xenomortis wrote:Most of the music I listen to have* lyrics in languages I don't speak [...]

*has or have - I spent way too long thinking about it.

has. Music is a mass/uncountable noun, which requires the singular form of the verb. But most of the songs you listen to have lyrics in languages you don't speak, which is probably how you confused yourself.

Yeah, "has" following "music" sounded correct, but the rest of the sentence didn't...
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Re: 1538: "Lyrics"

Postby Mishrak » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:35 pm UTC

Obligatory post about Yellow Ledbetter.


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