“Cameo Lover” [Kimbra]

Blue field with the Union Flag in the top right corner, and four red stars with white borders to the right.

*Don’t forget the video down below–>

This is nonstop baby, you’ve got me going crazy

You’re heavier than I knew

  • “Heavier” here in the sense that he is weighing on her or holding her down, in a figurative sense.

But I don’t want no other, you’re my cameo lover

  • *Double negatives. “But I don’t want any other/another…” Sometimes using a double negative can sound more natural, though, like with these lyrics. A “cameo” is a quick appearance of someone, usually famous, in a work like a movie or TV show. The guy is her lover who appears in her life for only small amounts of time, as she explains in the next line.

Only here for a moment or two

You stay inside that bubble with all of your trouble

In your black hole

  • The idea is that he is collapsing on himself, self-destructing.

You turn from the skies,

You dance with your demise

  • “Demise” is another word for death, basically, or an otherwise bad ending to life. “Dancing with your demise” is a more formal way of saying, “Playing with death.”

I’ll be here when you come home (home)

We’ve all gotta break down

  • *”We’ve all got to break down.” In the English accents more closely related to British (Kimbra is from New Zealand), using “have got to” tends to be more common than “have to” in such situations. “I’ve got to go pick up my mother.” “I have to go pick up my mother.” “Break down” here has a double meaning; to have an emotional breakdown and cry, get depressed, etc., or; to have fun and dance! Interesting, right? She is probably referring to both of these opposing meanings in the line.

Let me come and break down there with you

  • Whether he wants to cry and be sad or have fun and dance, she still wants to be there with him.

‘Cause every day’s like talking in your sleep

  • *”Because every …” The original author from the website where I found these lyrics wrote, “Everyday’s like…” I wanted to take advantage and explain: “Every day” is where “every” just describes “day.” “I go to the mall every day. I wake up early every day;” “Everyday” is an adjective and describes something that is done every day, or is very common. “I’m going to do my everyday bike ride. He’s your normal, everyday teacher. Nothing special.” Native English speakers also often get these two confused.

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

  • A “silhouette” is the outline of a shape, usually of a person, something like an empty shadow.

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out

Every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here

I’ve got high hopes baby, but all you do is take me

Down to depths that I never knew

You’ve got two arms baby, they’re all tangled in ladies

As the black sky’s posing blue

  • To “pose” here means to fake an appearance or to show an untrue face. A similar word is “to front.” She could mean that he feels dark or sad on the inside, but he’s showing that he feels sunny and clear like a blue sky on the outside. On another note, “pose” is also used a lot to get into position for a photo. “Pose for the camera!”

Let go of your mother and turn to your brother

Not a long gone lover’s noose

  • A “noose” is the loop of a hanging rope. He’s literally choking himself to death because he won’t let go of this past love.

Sometimes baby the hardest part of breaking

  • “Breaking” again refers to having a breakdown, being depressed, or emotionally hurt.

Is leaving pieces behind you

  • But she plays double meaning again with the literal definition of breaking; tearing into pieces.

Oh we’ve all gotta get by

  • *”We’ve all got to …” To “get by” means to survive, make a living, get past our challenges.

Let me come and hold you high, with you

‘Cause every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out

Every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here

Open up your heart to me!

The sun won’t shine if you’re not looking

Baby, love is all that you need…

When every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams

Open up your heart, open, open… (open…)

And the lyrics repeat.

  • She seems to be talking to a person she wants to be with or feel closer to. This person has a hard time letting go of some past lover who apparently hurt him emotionally. Still, he refuses to let go and wants others to feel sorry for him. This is obviously weighing on Kimbra who’s tired of his downer attitude, but she also doesn’t want to leave him (I don’t want no other). He seems to hide in a bubble, lose hope (you turn from the skies, you dance with your demise), and express himself very lazily like a person mumbling in their sleep. He seems to be going through a rough time, though her words are not harsh but hopeful. Kimbra insists for him to open up and let her help, be a part of his recovery, to hold him up high, and to pull his love out from inside.

Do you think this kind of relationship is worth it? Let me know your thoughts!

Watch it here:

“The Ghost Who Walks” [Karen Elson]

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View the video below–>

The ghost who walks, she’s on the prowl

  • “On the prowl” is used generally for predators or hunters, as with a lion or shark. Searching for a victim.

For the man she loved, he cut her down

  • This is an artistic or lyrical way of speaking and is not common in regular speech. “For” means “because” here. “Because the man she loved cut her down.” She could also be on the prowl for this man, so it has a bit of double meaning. “He cut her down” is a lighter way of saying he killed her.

It was an ordinary night in June

When he drove her to the lake so they could watch the full moon

The ghost who walks she’s on the prowl

For the man she loved, he laid her down

  • Sometimes, saying “lay” referring to a person has a sexual meaning. “He laid with her last night.” It’s a bit old-fashioned though. “Laid” here probably uses both sensual and physical meanings.

In the tall grass he kissed her cheek

But with a knife in his hand he plunged it in deep

She looked at him with pleading eyes

  • “Pleading eyes” are associated with a victim begging not to be attacked or killed.

He softly spoke, My dear, the love has died

And then he muffled her desperate cries under the moonlight

The ghost who walks, she’s on the prowl

Wanders in the moonlight, she’s crying to herself

  • *She wanders in the moonlight…

Because his eyes never looked cruel

But the moon in the blade, it shimmered like a jewel

She looked at him with pleading eyes

He softly spoke, My dear, the love has died

And then he muffled her deadly cries under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

The lyrics are written in a very literary, poetic way. Karen wants the song to sound old-fashioned on purpose, since the story sounds like an old ghost mystery tale. Instead of singing about feelings or partying, she tells a story of a woman who was taken by her man to a field, seemingly a nice and innocent guy. He was never cruel to her before, but he “snaps” and kills her, admitting that their love has died, or ended. The only witness of the murder was the moon above. Her ghost floats around trying to find the man who murdered her. Kind of dark, but it’s an interesting change of pace to most current song lyrics.

Watch here:

“Child” [Lights]

A vertical triband design (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the center.

Video below –>

What is this about? _ Where is everybody going? _ What am I doing here?

  • She seems very uncertain about her place in the world.

Can’t separate what I really need to know and _ What I just want to hear

  • *I can’t separate… This is related to today’s media in part since we hear so much information on TV and social media that it’s hard to decide what’s important and what’s not. Also, there may be some trouble deciding between what’s true and what she just wants to accept as true, similar to the whole “fake news” deal.

Maybe I’m alone _ Maybe everybody’s lost too _ Looking for a way out

  • She’s not sure if she’s the only one or if everyone is struggling with this. Problems of our times.

Maybe I don’t know _ Maybe I don’t even want to _ Just don’t want to be let down

  • *I just don’t… To “be let down” is to be disappointed because your expectations were not met.

There is no sureness, I kind of just stumble along

  • “Kind of” is a very popular term in common speech. It often shows that the speaker is not sure or is explaining something that they’re unsure about. It’s also used a lot just to take up space so that the speaker has time to think while they talk. “I just kind of need some help.” We also use it to mean “a little.” “I kind of liked that show, a little bit.” Different from when we use it to talk about a type of something. “Football is a kind of sport.” That’s a completely different usage.

There must be purpose in trying to keep on

  • *There must be a purpose… To “keep on” is to continue with something. In this case, it sounds like she’s questioning if there is a purpose to keep living, working hard, dealing with other people, etc. The tone is not suicidal or depressed, though; she seems to be just questioning the world and people’s motives.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does

  • She says she’s not really a grownup but a child who is acting like she thinks an adult should act. A little girl in a grown woman’s costume, to put it one way.

Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was _ oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does

  • It sounds like she’s saying that life or childhood don’t last as long as you wish they would. Even as an adult, she’s still trying to be confident and not worry about things, just like children do.

And I always feel like I did when I was younger _ Can’t talk sense into me

  • *You can’t talk sense… To “talk sense into someone” means that you give them some advice to make them wiser. She’s saying that people try to give her advice and help her, but she denies it and does what she wants anyway. This behavior is similar to a stubborn child, which is why she makes the connection.

How do you decide when to know or how to wonder _ Or how to just get free?

  • Here, “get free” means to free oneself from undesired situations, like the stress of social media, the news, and living in a complicated modern world. She struggles between knowing when to be a teacher and give information, when to ask questions and learn, and when to just accept things for what they are and not worry about them. She says a lot with just a few words.

There’s no certainty _ I kind of just stumble along _ Doesn’t bother me

  • *It doesn’t bother me… Her not using a subject in many of her sentences makes the lyrics seem very casual and relaxed, the same way she might talk in regular situations.

I’m trying to keep on

  • She says stumbling (making mistakes) doesn’t bother her, but she’s trying to “keep on.” This makes it feel like “keeping on” is not a huge struggle in her life. Maybe, like most people, she has accepted that there will be difficult times and that she will make mistakes. But she’s trying, and that’s the best she can do.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does _ Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was, oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does _ I’ve seen both sides of the door _ I’m not a child anymore _ But I can stand in it the way I did when I was a kid

  • She’s been a child and an adult, so she knows how both sides feel. Standing in the door gives the sense that she continues to be rebellious and speak her mind or be stubborn like she was when she was a child, at least when she wants to. She still keeps part of her “inner child” with her, both the bad parts (being stubborn, naïve, insecure, making mistakes) and the good parts (being outspoken, being confident, not worrying too much about life).

Then the lyrics repeat.

  • *Just a note: Child and kid mean the same thing, as with children and kids. Kid is more commonly used and sounds more natural in most situations, though child tends to be used in more serious situations.
    • “Do you want to play with the kids down the street?”
    • “Hey, you stay away from my child!”

Watch the video here:

“Jesus He Knows Me” [Genesis]

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Watch the video below –>

D’you see the face on the TV screen coming at you every Sunday? _ See the face on the billboard? _ Well, that man is me

  • *Do you see the face…? He says Sunday as a reference to being a holy or spiritual figure.

On the cover of a magazine _ There’s no question why I’m smiling _ You buy a piece of paradise, you buy a piece of me

  • Buying a piece of paradise has the same feeling as buying a plot of land as if going to heaven were a business transaction.

I’ll get you everything you wanted _ I’ll get you everything you need _ You don’t need to believe in the hereafter

  • The “hereafter” is another way to talk about life after death.

Just believe in me _ ‘Cause Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything is alright _ I believe in the family _ With my ever-loving wife beside me

  • Putting “ever” before some verbs can make them mean that something is lasting or persisting. “He is ever talking about that same TV show.” Ever-loving is the most popular usage, though, especially in music.

But she don’t know about my girlfriend _ Or the man I met last night

  • *She doesn’t know about… His wife doesn’t know about his undercover actions. It presents how, often, people who show to be perfect in front of others have problems and secrets like anyone else, even religious leaders.

Do you believe in God? _ ‘Cause that is what I’m selling

  • He’s using the image or idea of God to make money and fame.

And if you wanna get to heaven _ Well, I’ll see you right

  • “I’ll see you right” means that he’ll make what you want happen.

You won’t even have to leave your house _ Or get out of your chair _ You don’t even have to touch that dial _ ‘Cause I’m everywhere

  • “Don’t touch that dial” has been a popular phrase on TV commercials and programs where the presenter tries to keep the attention of the audience. “Dial” is another word for “remote control.” He’s “everywhere” references the omnipresence of God, being everywhere. However, he is everywhere in the sense of media, like on TV, magazines, radio, etc. He’s also making it as easy as possible to participate in his “scheme,” since you can even join inside your house from a chair.

Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything’s gonna be alright _ Won’t find me practicing what I’m preaching

  • *You won’t find me… “Practice what you preach” is a common way to say that someone actually does (or should do) what they say they are going to do. “You need to practice what you preach, man.”

Won’t find me making no sacrifice

  • Double negatives! *You won’t find me making any sacrifices. He might be using incorrect grammar on purpose to show the ignorance or lack of professionalism of the types of people who try to cheat others.

But I can get you a pocketful of miracles

  • This “pocketful of miracles” sounds like it’s from a book or movie. Sometimes using “a pocketful” makes the object a lot more dreamy and positive. Think of that song “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield.

If you promise to be good, try to be nice _ God will take good care of you _ Well, just do as I say, don’t do as I do

  • It sounds like a church sermon! Except at the end, there is a twist. The ultimate phrase of a hypocrite.

Well, I’m counting my blessings _ As I’ve found true happiness _ ‘Cause I’m a-getting richer _ Day by day

  • To “count blessings” is to show gratitude or think of ways that you are grateful for something. He says, “I’m a-getting—” It’s an old-fashioned way to talk, but used nowadays sarcastically. It doesn’t really mean anything itself. “He’s a-running, he’s a-going!”

You can find me in the phone book _ Just call my toll-free number

  • “Call our toll-free number” is a popular phrase in advertising to get people to call and ask about a product. It means that the call is free.

You can do it any way you want _ Just do it right away

  • “Right away” means “right now,” just in case you didn’t know.

And there’ll be no doubt in your mind _ You’ll believe everything I’m saying _ If you wanna get closer to Him _ Get on your knees and start paying

  • “Him” with a capital “H” is used to refer to God or Jesus, generally. He plays with the idea of getting on your knees to pray, but he says instead to pay. Essentially, the “worship” is directed toward him and not to God. Again, hypocrisy.

Cause Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything’s gonna be alright

  • It seems like he is two people in this song. Phil as a preacher is saying that Jesus knows he’s right and supports his claims. This is how corrupt religious leaders justify their followers’ having to pay for services, saying that “Jesus knows I’m right!” But, Phil as the singer of Genesis is saying that he knows what Jesus wants and, maybe, it’s to prove how corrupt these false leaders are. It might not really be about Jesus, but about pure intentions vs. corruption and hypocrisy, since I’m not sure if Genesis were ever religious or not.

And the lyrics repeat.

Watch and listen here:

“i like the devil” [Purity Ring]

A vertical triband design (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the center.

Video and more explanation below–>

Mother laid her elbows on the bed _ Whispering the wishes to the threads

  • Whispering wishes” gives the sensation of praying, especially with her elbows on the bed, like the traditional form of praying on one’s bedside. “The threads” can refer to the bedsheets, but more figuratively may refer to the Fates in Greek mythology. They were a group of goddesses that decided the fate of people by weaving and cutting their “life” threads.

Weaving in the weight of all our dread _ Wiping up the stains of our regret

  • “Weaving” here refers to the threads from before. You can also “weave through” something, as in to bend your way through a tough situation or difficult information. “Wiping up” gives the idea that she’s cleaning up her past difficulties and regrets.

Heal her hands by kneading up the bread _ Cleaning off her fingers as she wept

  • Kneading is the process of stretching and molding dough before you make bread. Dough is soft and so has a healing sensation to the hands. It also refers to a woman who had past difficulties and tries to heal by doing something traditionally for women, like making food. “Cleaning off her fingers” is washing off those past mistakes, along with the sticky dough.

Lurk within her gleaming silhouette _ Then seal in our wonder to ferment

  • Below her pretty outer image is a kind of danger or ugliness. We use “lurk” to talk about something dangerous or ominous, like a monster, that is hiding somewhere. Ferment is the process which allows dough to grow, cheese and butter to harden, and so on. We also use ferment to show how something bad, ugly or evil can rot and grow over time within a person. It sounds like this woman tries to hide her past inside this image of what a good woman should be, but her problems are slowly growing and causing her damage from within.

I, like the devil, can fly _ And I read her sweet mind last night, and _ I, like God, can fly _ And I held a candle over her fright

  • Referring to herself as the devil and God references how women have historically been perceived both as something perfect and saintly, as well as something evil and wicked. Reading thoughts and using candles have a mystic or religious feeling too. Partly, she’s saying that she, like all people, have the capacity to be good and bad, or we all have a little bit of God and the devil in us. It’s also a reference to an old way of speaking that’s not really used anymore. “Run like the devil,” and “Talk like the devil.” It’s like saying someone runs, talks, or flies really fast. Megan doesn’t mean it in this way, but she’s playing with the meanings of words.

What is happiness but a word? _ Spoken from on high for what it’s worth

  • She’s questioning what it means to be truly happy, and refers to how happiness is often dictated to women, or people in general, from another source. Usually, it’s someone in power, “from on high.”

Flown beneath the wings of little birds _ But I have felt the wind crawl where we’re cursed

  • Happiness can be found in simple things like watching birds fly. Also there’s a sense that messages from those in power come to us from small messengers, like with carrier pigeons that used to deliver things. She has felt happiness or joy in situations or places that are looked down upon or not accepted by certain people.

Find us in the folded parts she pressed _ Lying in positions like we’ve slept

  • “Folded parts she pressed” gives the idea that her curse as a woman comes from her “hidden parts,” whether physical or emotional. It also sounds like folding clothes, so the curse may come from simply being a woman, a mother, etc. Positions like we’ve slept reminds me of the fetal position, like how babies sleep. It might refer to an actual fetus or baby being a source of happiness, or life in general. It can also be another reference to womanhood or motherhood being a joy and a curse. The theme of a baby also fits in with the album’s title, WOMB.

Find us in the hallows of her chest _ Lying in positions, like we’ve slept

  • “In the hallows of her chest” refers to the heart, and love overall. Hallows also makes it sound more holy or saintly. Repeating “lying in positions” is again a reference to babies, motherhood, etc. Happiness can then be found in the heart, love, and womanhood. Again, there’s a sense that all of this is a curse and a blessing at the same time.

I, like the devil, can fly _ And I read her sweet mind last night, and _ I, like God, can fly _ And I held a candle over her fright _ I, like the devil, can fly

  • I also want to point out that the title is intentionally misleading. “I like the devil” sounds like she will talk about how she likes or worships the devil. However, we clearly see that she uses this phrasing to compare herself (her actions, intentions) to the devil, and later, to God.

A better and more in-depth look at the lyrics. Please read to learn more: https://medium.com/an-injustice/i-like-the-devil-purity-rings-prayer-for-a-balanced-perspective-on-feminism-and-womanhood-1d0833d41d4f

Watch it here:

“So Ambitious” [Jay-Z, feat. Pharrell]

Flag of the United States

Video down below –>

Yeah _ 3 in the morning on the Westside highway, top down baby

  • Top down” refers to being in a convertible top car.

F*** y’all _ The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well

  • “Oh well” is a common response to an ironic situation, or to a situation that is out of your or another person’s control. It’s meant show that something was not a big deal. “No! I dropped my ice cream. Oh well, I’ll just buy another one.”

This a special dedication _ I wanna thank you for the fuel

  • *This is a special dedication. “Fuel” here refers to something that drives Jay-Z to be successful, much like fuel in a car.

No really, thank you

  • “No really” is said to confirm that you were serious about what you said. “Joe, I like your artwork. No really, I do.”

I felt so inspired by what my teacher said _ Said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head

  • “Reefer” is another word for cannabis, or weed. We often add the word “head” to say that someone is an addict, such as with Crackhead, Cokehead. It’s a terrible thing to say to a student though. Poor Jay.

Not sure if that’s how adults should speak to kids

  • *I’m not sure…

Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class _ I teach his a**

  • *I’ll teach his… A note, when people use the “a” word like this, they don’t literally mean “I’ll teach his behind.” Unless it’s a clear reference to a person’s butt, the “a” word is meant just to emphasize the statement. “I’ll teach him.” /correct/ “I’ll teach his a**.” /more emphasis/

Even better’s what my uncle did _ I pop my demo tape in and start to beat my head

  • “Pop something in” here means to put it in, so he put the demo tape into the tape player. “Beat” here means to move his head to the rhythm of the music.

Peeked out my eye, see if he was beating his _ He might as well have said beat it kid, he’s on the list

  • “Peek” is to look secretly or subtly at something. Here he changes the meaning of beat. “Beat it” sometimes is used to tell someone to go away, get lost. It seems that his uncle didn’t approve of his music, so he’s on “the list” of people who didn’t approve of him in the past. Similar to a “black list.”

It’s like I’m searching for kicks like a sneaker head

  • He uses two meanings of “kicks” here. “Searching for kicks” refers to him looking for excitement or adrenaline. But “kicks” can also mean tennis shoes. Again, “head” is used here to compare him to a shoe addict. He plays on the two meanings of kicks in the same line.

He gon’ keep pushing me until I reach the ledge _ And when I reach the ledge I’ll tell ’em all to eat a d***

  • *He’s going to keep… “The ledge” is the final point of what someone can handle under pressure, much like the edge of a cliff. That last part is just an insult that people say sometimes.

Take a leap of faith and let my eagle wings spread _ Spread spread

  • “A leap of faith” is to put yourself into a situation in faith that it will all be okay. Eagle wings remind me of the song “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band. He won’t fall, but he’ll fly like an eagle. Figuratively, of course.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters

  • “Hit” can be used sensually to say that you will sleep with someone. “Sisters” and “brothers” is usually an affectionate way for the African American community to refer to each other, or to black people in general.

Hey, I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through

  • *What I’ve been through

Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it

  • You have to believe in something to make it happen.

I had to lace up my boots even harder _ Father is too far away to father

  • “Lacing up bootstraps” is a common idiom that means you have to be strong and endure through something that is difficult. He’s saying his dad was not around to be a good father.

Further-more of the kids either smoke reefer _ Or either move white, there’s few writers in my cipher

  • He separates the word “furthermore” so that it makes sense in the lyric. *More of the kids… He uses a different pronunciation of “either” here to rhyme with cipher later on. Both pronunciations of “either” and “neither” are acceptable in English, by the way. To “move white” is to sell crack or cocaine, not that you’ll need to know that. *There are few writers… A “cipher” is a set of raps that a rapper does, or a situation where rappers come together to practice rapping with each other.

So they made lighter

  • They made it lighter, so good rappers started to fall away while he had more success. The bad artists were dropped like bad weight.

My type of dreams seem dumb _ They said wise up, how many guys’a you see making it from here?

  • To “wise up” is to become wise. *How many guys do you see… To “make it” is to have success in general, with the idea of making it out of the ghetto (poor/bad neighborhoods) in this case.

The world don’t like us, is that not clear?

  • *The world doesn’t like us. “Us” most likely refers to black people or poor/underprivileged people. It can also refer to people who make rap music, since rap was much less accepted when Jay-Z was younger than it is now.

Alright, but I’m different _ I can’t base what I’m gonna be off a what everybody isn’t

  • *Off of what everybody… This is a great message. Be unique!

They don’t listen, just whispering behind my back _ No vision, lack of ambition _ So wack!

  • “Vision” here refers to having dreams, wanting to do something big in the world. “Wack” means that something is not good, not cool, or has bad quality. He’s referring to people who don’t have ambition, or didn’t take the time to listen to his dreams.

Motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it _ Had a couple of meetings no offers yet _ Maybe I ain’t good enough for these offices

  • *Maybe I’m not good enough…

Back to the drawing board, ducking officers

  • “Back to the drawing board” is a common phrase meaning to get back to work on a plan that failed. “Duck” here means to avoid or dodge something. Like when someone throws a rock at your head, a friend might yell, “Duck!” so that you can avoid getting hit. Basically, he’s going back to illegal activity since he’s trying to avoid police officers.

It’s all good ’cause the streets is A&R’ing this

  • “A&R” (Artists and Repertoire) is a division of a record company that is responsible for scouting and searching for new talent. He means that the streets (the common people from his community) are going to support him, since he doesn’t get support from big music companies. “It’s all good” is a great way to say that things are fine, especially after a setback. “How do you feel?” “I feel a little sick, but it’s all good. I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

So with or without any of your involvement _ We coming for all of this, respect my conglomerate _ I went from pauper to the President

  • “Pauper” is a very poor person. It’s not used very much anymore, but was made popular by old books and stories that tell of poor people turning into kings and nobles, especially from Britain. *We’re coming…

‘Cause every deal I ever made set precedent

  • To “set a precedent” is to set a standard for how things should be done. It means that he made big changes in the industry.

N***** thought I’d fall without old buddy _ Oh buddy, what I do is make more money

  • “Old buddy” is a common way for people in some communities to refer to a person indirectly when they don’t want to say the name. Same with “old girl,” and “old dude.” “Oh buddy” is a way to show excitement or to emphasize something. It’s usually used as a joke or to be funny. “Oh buddy, we’re gonna have a good time!”

Dear Teacher, your probably somewhere near a speaker _ I’m balling outta control, can you hear my sneakers?

  • To “ball” is to have lots of success and make lots of money. In sports, it means to play extremely well, which is why he asks about his sneakers (sports shoes). He’s not really playing sports, but it’s a reference to the two meanings of balling. *Balling out of control. “Dear [Person]” is the way we usually start a formal letter in English. It’s as if Jay is sending his message directly to his teacher by song.

F*** y’all _ (Word up, Fly, High)

  • “Word up” is a way to say that what you’re saying is true, or to call attention to what someone said. “Hey, word up. I’m about to make some real money.” To be “fly” is to be successful, stylish, have nice clothes, and have a winning attitude all in one.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ (Then be) _ Then you could conceive it (You see?)

  • “Do you see?” is a popular way to ask if someone understands.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be

Listen to the song here:

“What Goes Around … / …Comes Around (Interlude)” [Justin Timberlake, feat. Timbaland]

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Video at the bottom–>

Hey, girl _ Is he everything you wanted in a man? _ You know I gave you the world _ You had me in the palm of your hand

  • This means she had complete control of him

So why your love went away _ I just can’t seem to understand _ Thought it was me and you, baby _ Me and you until the end, but I guess I was wrong, uh _ Don’t wanna think about it (Uh) _ Don’t wanna talk about it (Uh) _ I’m just so sick about it _ Can’t believe it’s endin’ this way _ Just so confused about it (Uh) _ Feelin’ the blues about it (Yeah)

  • “Feeling the blues” is feeling sad or down, related to the musical style, Blues. It’s not such a common term outside of music nowadays.

I just can’t do without ya

  • If something “can’t do,” it means it doesn’t work, or it can’t function.

Tell me, is this fair? _ Is this the way it’s really going down?

  • The meaning of to “go down” here is to happen. When something is going down, the sense is that something, usually important, is happening. A popular version of this phrase: “What’s happening? I don’t know, but it’s about to go down!”

Is this how we say goodbye? _ Should’ve known better when you came around

  • To “come around” here just means to appear or to become present. Often when someone makes a meaningful mistake or does something wrong, like dating a bad partner in this case, they receive the advice, “You should’ve known better.”

That you were gonna make me cry _ It’s breakin’ my heart to watch you run around

  • “Heartbreak” is usually what happens after a bad breakup. Someone’s heart can be broken, or they can break another’s heart. Occasionally, breaking one’s heart can result from a loved one (like a son, sister) doing bad things that you can’t control. In this sense, they are breaking your heart not in a romantic sense. “Run around” just means going to different places and living life as usual, maybe at a busy pace. Not actually running, though.

‘Cause I know that you’re livin’ a lie _ But that’s okay, baby, ’cause in time, you will find

  • “In time” is used to say that something will happen sooner or later, after a while.

What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around

  • What you do to others will come back to you. You will reap what you sow. You get what you give. Etc.

What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ Yeah _ Now, girl _ I remember everything that you claimed _ You said that you were movin’ on now (On now)

  • To “move on” in this sense is to get past or get over something that was bad. In a less dramatic way, it means to continue from one thing to another.

And maybe I should do the same (Maybe I should do the same) _ The funny thing about that is _ I was ready to give you my name

  • To “give someone your name” is to marry them, since women traditionally take the last name of their husbands. With that said, it really only makes sense for men to say this.

Thought it was me and you, baby _ And now it’s all just a shame and I guess I was wrong, uh _ Don’t wanna think about it (No) _ Don’t wanna talk about it (Hmm) _ I’m just so sick about it _ Can’t believe it’s endin’ this way _ Just so confused about it (Uh) _ Feelin’ the blues about it (Yeah) _ I just can’t do without ya _ Can you tell me, is this fair? _ Is this the way it’s really going down? _ Is this how we say goodbye? (Uh) _ Should’ve known better when you came around _ Should’ve known better that you were gonna make me cry _ Now it’s breakin’ my heart to watch you run around _ ‘Cause I know that you’re livin’ a lie _ That’s okay, baby, ’cause in time, you will find _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ What goes around, goes around, goes around _ Comes all the way back around _ Yeah _ What goes around comes around _ Yeah _ What goes around comes around _ You should know that _ What goes around comes around _ Yeah _ What goes around comes around _ You should know that (Yeah)

[It repeats for a while]

Yep, yep, yep, yep _ Let me paint this picture for you, baby

  • To “paint a picture for someone” in a figurative sense is to make it clear, as if by creating a visual or mental image.

You spend your nights alone and he never comes home _ And every time you call him, all you get’s a busy tone

  • A “busy tone” is the sound a phone makes when the person you try to call is on another phone call or talking with someone else. They’re busy.

I heard you found out that he’s doin’ to you _ What you did to me, ain’t that the way it goes?

  • “That’s the way it goes,” is stating that something is a fact, often a hard fact to accept. Similar to “That’s how it is,” or “That’s the way it is.” To “find something out” is to discover it or become aware of it.

When you cheated, girl, my heart bleeded, girl

  • *Bled is correct. He uses bleeded because it rhymes with “cheated,” and because it paints a more vivid picture of blood or to bleed. It’s a dramatic way to say that he was heartbroken after his partner cheated, or slept with another person.

So it goes without sayin’ that you left me feelin’ hurt

  • If something “goes without saying,” it means it is obvious to the point that you don’t have to say it for it to be noticed.

Just a classic case, a scenario _ Tale as old as time, girl, you got what you deserved

  • “Tale as old as time” comes from the idea of a fairy tale with monsters, directly from the story Beauty and the Beast. In other words, what happened has happened before and it will likely happen again. Interestingly, we also think of a princess getting with a man who has turned into a monster. I don’t know if this is intended, but it’s an interesting idea.

And now you want somebody (Hey) _ To cure the lonely nights (Hey) _ You wish you had somebody (Hey) _ That could come and make it right (Hey) _ But girl, I ain’t somebody (Hey) _ With a lot of sympathy (Hey)

  • *I’m not someone who has a lot of sympathy

You’ll see, see _ (What goes around comes back around) _ I thought I told ya, hey _ (What goes around comes back around) _ I thought I told ya, hey _ (What goes around comes back around) _ I thought I told ya, hey _ (What goes around comes back around) _ I thought I told ya, hey _ (Take it to ’em, hey)

  • “Take it to someone” means to finish something in a strong way or to make a strong impact on someone else. A coach may tell his team, “We really have to take it to these guys in the last quarter!” talking about the opposing team. In music, this phrase refers to the audience or listeners.

(Take it to ’em) _ See, you should’ve listened to me, baby _ (Take it to ’em) _ Hey, hey, hey, hey _ (Take it to ’em) _ Because (What goes around comes back around)

Watch the video:


“The Choice is Yours (Revisited)” [Black Sheep]

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Video at the bottom–

Here they come yo, here they come _ Here they come yo, here they come _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ This or that? _ Who’s the black sheep, what’s the black sheep?

  • Besides being the name of the group, a “black sheep” is also someone that doesn’t fit in with a group; in other words, an outcast. 

Know not who I am, or when I’m coming, so you sleep

  • Sleep here refers to not paying attention or not being aware of something. As in the popular phrase, “catch someone sleeping,” to find someone who is not paying attention. 

Wasn’t in my realm, or wasn’t in your sphere _ Knew not who I was, but listen here

  • “Knew not” is an artistic/lyrical way to say, “You did not know …”

Dres, D-R-E-S, yes I guess I can start _ If it’s all right with you, I’ll rip this here joint apart

  • A “joint” here refers to the song. Often, joint is slang that can refer to any topic, especially a place, like a good restaurant, or a good song. “That’s my favorite hamburger joint.” “Turn the song up. That’s my joint!” “Rip apart” here means to rap really well to the beat of the song.

Back, middle, to the front, don’t front

  • “Front” in slang is to fake something or act in a way that gives the wrong impression to others.

Wanna a good time, gonna give you what you want _ Can I hear a hey? (hey) _ Can I get a yo? (yo) _ You got a ‘hat? (huh)

  • “Hat” is short for Jimmy hat, which is slang for Condom.

It’s for the h*** (oh) _ The styling is creative, black sheep of the Native _ Can’t be violated, or even decepticated

  • “Decepticate” is not a real word, but means the same as to Deceive, or to suffer Deceptive actions.

I got brothers in the Jungle, cousins on the quest

  • Brothers can be his real brothers or his friends/crew. The “Jungle” is a common term for the projects or the ghetto, basically, for certain kinds of lower-class neighborhoods. Cousins can also be a reference to gang terminology (Cuz), but doesn’t have to be.

Dead departed uncles, in pea porridge, may they rest

  • This is a reference to another music group and their album.

Guess, which way, what, when, how _ Mista Lawnge, Dres, Black Sheep slam… Now

  • “Slam” usually means to crash or hit with force. In this context, slam means to make a big impact with their song, or to make really good music.

Know you’ve heard the others, phonies to the lovers

  • Listeners have heard lots of other music styles, from “phonies” that lie about lavish lifestyles on their songs, to “lovers” who make romantic music.

Then of course, the choice is yours _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ I think you’ll get with this, for this is kinda phat

  • ”Phat” is a slang term popular especially in the 90s hip-hop circles, but also before then, that means something really cool, good, showy.

Where’s the black sheep, here’s the black sheep _ Even if we wanted to, the flock could not be weak

  • “Weak” here refers to having little skill or talent. “Flock” of course refers to a group of sheep.

Watch me swing like this, why should I swing it like that

  • “Swing” here means to enjoy music, dancing and swaying, or otherwise having a good time. 

Because in fact, on me it might not attract _ Therefore I ignore, do as I feel inside _ I live with me, I’ve got my back tonight

  • To “have someone’s back” is to support them, protect them, or care for them.

Ya know what I’m saying _ Yo Black, I’m not playing

  • “Playing” here just means to not be serious. So if he’s “not playing,” then he is serious, or talking seriously.

Need to go with this, or go with this with no delay and _ See, in actuality, wonder can it be

  • *I wonder, can it be … ?

I made it look easy, because it is to me _ Any time capacity was filled, tried to rock it

  • To “rock something” is to have a lot of success with it. “How’d you do on your test?” “I rocked it!” 

Any time a honey gave us play, tried to knock it

  • A “honey” is a cute girl/woman. To “give play” is to show interest as if to start dating or some kind of relationship, even a casual one. To “knock something” is to turn it down or deny it.

Never was a fool, so we finished school _ Never see us sweat, and you’ll never see us drool

  • “Sweat” here means to be nervous about something, since some people sweat when they are nervous. “Drool” can mean to be in love, to follow something blindly, or simply to not be cool or to be lame. The idea is someone who drools when they see a cute lady or just does stuff that isn’t cool, like drooling. “Girls go to school, boys go to drool.”

Out to rock the globe while it’s still here to rock

  • They want to make a big impact in the world while they can. Also a play on the term “rock” which sometimes refers to planet Earth.

Don’t punch girls, and we don’t punch a clock

  • To “punch the clock” is to work a regular job with regulated hours.

Gotta go, gotta go, see you later by the cat

  • The “cat” is a reference to a pussy cat. HIstorically, it was a way to call a cute woman, though both “cat” and “pussy” often are used to call a woman’s private parts, inappropriately. He’s saying you can see him later next to his cute lady, basically.

And you can’t beat that with a bat

  • You can’t physically beat a woman, as he mentioned before (Don’t punch girls). Also, you “can’t beat something” means there is nothing better. Like, “The prices here can’t be beat.” They are the best. Similarly, there’s no better thing than being next to a pretty lady, or “the cat.”

You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ You can get with this, or you can get with that _ I think you’ll get with this, for this is kinda phat _ Engine, engine, number nine _ On the New York transit line

  • A reference to another song, talking about the New York transportation system.

If my train goes off the track

  • To “go off track” is to steer away from the intended purpose or effect. He mixes the literal imagery of a train going off the track with the figurative meaning of going away from his intention.

Pick it up! Pick it up! Pick it up!

  • Reference to music where the audience would yell “Pick it up” at the DJ to turn the music volume up or to play better music, a faster beat. As slang, pick something up usually means to make it better, or to do something better, faster, etc. “You’re walking too slow. You need to pick it up.”

Back on the scene, crispy n’ clean

  • He has come back to a place or into the music industry, also to the song. Crispy and clean just means he’s dressed nicely, hair is styled nicely, maybe has some nice jewelry or shoes. Not too flashy, but clean, stylish, fancy, etc.

You can try, but then why, ’cause you can’t intervene _ We be the outcast, down for the settle

  • *We are the outcasts … “Down for the settle” plays on the usual term, “Settle down.” To be “down” is to want to do something or accept something. They are down to settle, relax, have a home, chill, have a family, etc.

Won’t play rock, won’t play the pebble

  • They don’t play rock music, not even a little bit. A pebble is a little rock, so the play is on the word “rock”, both the musical style and the physical object. 

Open the door, you best believe, we’re sliding through it … sssswiftly _ Niftily, we can make it hip to be what we are

  • “Nifty” is something cool and new. It’s an older term, so them using it is kind of a joke. To be “hip” is also a term more popular in the late 1900s describing someone who likes new and cool things. Similar to “down,” but being down to the new, cool things in culture.

Cause what we be, be the epitome, doo, dah, dipitty

  • ”Doo dah dippity” is like a silly way to sing a song. It may be a reference to “doo wop” music or the Scatting style of singing. 

So now I dwell just to say you’re plainer

  • He’s here to call other singers/rappers plain, not interesting. *you’re more plain.

Hold your cup, cause I got the container

  • He has all drinks to fill people’s cups, like at a party.

Pass a plate or, cross the fader

  • The “fader” is another term for a blunt, as in “Pass the weed.” In other words, Marijuana. Similarly, “getting faded” is getting high on marijuana, and “cross fading” is getting high on marijuana and alcohol, from multiple substances, basically. The lyrics play on all of these ideas.

Black Sheep get play like the Sony Innovator

  • They get lots of attention, mostly from women. Using the idiom “to get play” and comparing it literally to Sony, the creators of video game systems like PlayStation.

Never the traitor, party inflator _ And you can get a scoop … later

  • To “get a scoop” is to hear about something new. The “scoop” is some inside information that only certain people would know about, used often to talk about news. “What’s the scoop on that highway robbery from this morning?” The idea is something big and tasty, like an ice cream scoop.

Then the lyrics repeat.

Watch here:

“Pleasure” [Feist]

A vertical triband design (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the center.

Video at the bottom–>

Get what I want _ And still it’s a mysterious thing that I want _ So when I get it _ I make sense of a mysterious thing

  • Feist wants something that is mysterious, so when she gets it, there’s some confusion of if she received it or not. It’s very illusive. 

‘Cause I’ve taken flight on such a serious wing

  • Doing something “on a wing” is doing it in a certain way. You can do things on a new wing, a good wing, an excited wing, etc. 

I, and you are the same and

  • Artistic phrasing. *You and I are the same …

Either fiction or dreaming _ We know enough to admit

  • Whether it’s real or fake, they are smart enough to know it.

We know enough to admit _ We know enough to admit _ It’s my pleasure _ And your pleasure _ It’s my pleasure _ And your pleasure _ Oh, an echo calls up the line

  • The line here can refer to a caller line, but also a family line, as in generation after generation. The same words, conversations and actions are repeating eerily like an echo.

An indication of time _ Our togetherness _ That is how we evolved _ We became our needs

  • Their relationship and habits developed over time based on this “echo” of repetition.

Ages up inside

  • This can either refer to them spending ages, or lots of time, on each other’s minds, or the long time they spent guarded from something. There’s a mixture of good and bad senses of age and time here. Evolution seems to be expressed emotionally and scientifically.

Escaping similar pain _ Dreaming safe and secure _ Generations in line

  • A similar trend of using love and pleasure to escape pain and to feel secure occurs over generations.

Old and then the youth _ Come to meet or fade

  • People have to form relationships and continue on or they will stay alone and fade away.

A chromosomal raid

  • Creates a sense of this wild rush for people to find their partners and pass on the chromosomes in their DNA. Relationships in the scientific sense.

Built by what we got built for _ As much as what we avoid

  • What we got built for (our instincts to procreate and self-preservation) has ended up being who we are (obsessed with sex and our egos/ourselves). The things we try to avoid, maybe inappropriate or malicious ideas, also become who we are because we think so much about them.

So the mystery lifts

  • Like a curtain lifting, now she understands the mystery of her pleasure.

We know enough to admit _ We know enough to admit _ It’s my pleasure _ And your pleasure _ It’s my pleasure _ And your pleasure _ That’s the same _ That’s what we’re here for!

  • We all want the same things at the core, and that’s why we exist, after all!

Then she repeats.

Watch here:

“After the Storm” [Kali Uchis, feat. Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins]

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Video below–>

Ah, whatever goes around eventually comes back to you

  • Same as the adage, “What goes around comes around.”

So you gotta be careful, baby _ And look both ways _ Before you cross my mind

  • A popular phrase, especially in music. “Be careful before you enter into my mind” is the idea.

Did you ever wonder? Yeah _ Do you ever wonder what he might be going through on his own, and _ The demons that he’s facing alone (Sometimes it hurts baby)

  • “Facing demons” is a person’s personal battles or troubles.

I hate that sometimes I can’t go home _ And it just ain’t the same on the phone, no _ But everybody’s gotta go on, don’t they?

  • To “go on” is to continue and push through one’s challenges.

Yes, we do, baby _ So if you need a hero (if you need a hero) _ Just look in the mirror (just look in the mirror) _ No one’s gonna save you now _ So you better save yourself _ And everybody’s hurting _ Everybody’s going through it

  • To “go through it” is to experience general hard times. Like, “Man, I’ve been going through it lately.”

But you just can’t give up now _ ‘Cause you gotta save yourself _ Yeah, gotta hang on, baby

  • “Hang on” in this case means to keep living and hoping for a better future. In other words, not giving up or quitting.

The sun’ll come out, nothing good ever comes easy _ I know times are rough but winners don’t quit _ So don’t you give up, the sun’ll come out _ But we’ve been struggling endlessly _ Someday we’ll find the love _ ‘Cause after the storm’s when the flowers bloom _ Kali, what you mean? I take it offensive

*What do you mean? I take it offensively/I take offense to it …

‘Cause I’m the hottest flower boy

  • “Hot” in this case can be attractive or having lots of success at the moment. Flower boy is a reference to one of Tyler’s albums called Flower Boy.

That popped up on the scene

  • To “pop up” is to appear or to come into attention. The “scene” refers to some kind of venue or field of practice that can be physical (crime scene, movie scene) or intangible (the music scene, the academic scene). The scene can also be a general location or awareness. Like, “He’s new on the scene” is the same as “He’s new here/in this sphere of attention.”

Feeling better, better than ever _ ‘Cause your umbrella, -brella (-brel-la)

  • A reference to the Rihanna song, “Umbrella.” Also, he feels safe under her shade.

Sun is beaming on me like headlights beaming on Bambi

  • Reference to the animated movie about Bambi, the deer. “A deer in headlights” is also a popular term for someone who is scared, with the idea of a deer frozen in fear ahead of a car. In this way, the lyric shows both success and fear.

Now let’s pretend the street is the room _ And you are a Camry, ’cause you drive me candy

  • Reference to the car, Camry. A play on the usual phrase, “drive me crazy,” where drive can be to lead someone into an emotional state or to drive a vehicle. Candy refers to car paint, sometimes called “candy paint” when it’s bright and colorful.

The Tito to my Randy, now let’s produce some thrillers

  • Tito and Randy are two of the Jackson Five brothers that performed together for years. It’s sort of a romantic way to say a phrase. “He is the light to my stage.” It means that person completes the other. Thrillers are, of course, in reference to the Michael Jackson megahit, “Thriller.” He’s also implying that they make lots of success together, but also that they have some dangerous fun. 

My chocolate wit’ yo’ vanilla, uh

  • Tyler is darker skinned (like chocolate) while Kali has light skin (like vanilla). *My chocolate with your vanilla.

The sun’ll come out _ Nothing good ever comes easy _ I know times are rough _ But winners don’t quit _ So don’t you give up _ The sun’ll come out _ But we’ve been struggling endless days _ Someday we’ll find the love _ ‘Cause after the storm… _ I know it’s hard _ But did you even really try? _ Maybe you could understand _ When all you had to do was ask _ And just open your mind _ When everything is passing by _ And all you had to do was try _ Yeah, all you had to do was try

  • It sounds like the relationship didn’t work because they didn’t communicate or try to understand each other.

Try, try, try, try, try _ And all you had to do was try _ Try, try, try, try

Watch it here: