Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting It Wrong

The first Buffalo Springfield album, Buffalo Springfield, featured a highly regarded Neil Young composition called "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong." If you heard only that title, you might think Young or at least the narrator of the song had some kind of objection to flying on the ground. But the chorus to the song actually goes:

But if crying and holding on
And flying on the ground is wrong
Then I'm sorry to let you down,
But you're from my side of town
And I miss you.

So flying on the ground isn't really wrong, and may even be totally permissible. There certainly doesn't appear to be any issue with flying on the ground, making the title almost a contradiction of the lyrics. It's as if the Beatles had called that song "Want to Spoil the Party."

(While we're on the subject of the Buffalo Springfield, that same first album originally didn't contain "For What It's Worth," the band's first and only hit, because it wasn't done in time. How close did it come? "For What It's Worth" was recorded on December 5, 1966 - the very day that Buffalo Springfield was first released.)

Are there any other songs like that, whose title suggests precisely the opposite of what the lyrics say? I can't think of any others. Can you?


  1. I can't resist quoting the great Chuck Klosterman on "Don't Fear The Reaper": "I find this song significantly increases my fear of the reaper. This song is a failure."

  2. Bruce Hornsby, "The Way It Is," where the chorus says that this (tough racist world) is the way it is, but finishes with "don't you believe them."

    I like songs where the chorus is a lie, even that one.

  3. and the Beatles sang "Getting Better" when they were NOT, in fact, getting better. The previous song on that album, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” is a little better than “Getting Better,” and so is the next one, “Fixing a Hole.”

    for honesty’s sake, they should have put that song after “Good Morning, Good Morning.”

  4. And Ringo sang "I Am the Greatest," when in reality there were two or three people greater than he.

    Gavin, I bet you love Oasis' "Live Forever," which should be disproved any decade now. Plus, I wonder just how sorry Brenda Lee really was.

  5. If she's not sorry, she can sing "All Apologies," 'cause I don't think Cobain was actually apologizing for anything in that song.