Metamusic

A few self-referential songs:

The Music Goes Round and Round

The Music Goes Round and Round,” sung by Betty Boop, aka Helen Kane. Originally featured in the film “The Music Goes Round” (1936), played by Riley-Farley & the Onyx Club Boys. (I am more familiar with Louis Prima’s version of the song, but couldn’t find a copy to share with you.)

The lyrics give you simple instructions on how to play a trumpet:

I blow through here
The music goes ’round and around
Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho
And it comes out here.
I push the first valve down
The music goes down and around
Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho
And it comes out here.

The following verses describe pushing “the middle valve down” and then “the other valve.” And just like that you can play the trumpet!

Son of a Gun

You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon is a metasong because of its famous lyrics, “You’re so vain. You probably think this song is about you.” The irony, of course, is that the song really is about him. (The “you” of the song is Mick Jagger.)

Your Song

Your Song” by Elton John. Elton begins by singing about building a big house, being a sculptor, making a potion, but of course what he does best is write songs and that is exactly what he offers to “you.”

I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one’s for you
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

There’s a great cover of “Your Song” in Moulin Rouge.

Bad Music

Bad Music” by Blectum from Blechdom. The main lyrics are:

“There’s bad music everywhere. There’s bad music everywhere. There’s bad music in the air.”

The song, which is comprised of a keyboard and a singer, slipping in and out of tune, definitely borders on bad music. At one point, the singer interrupts herself and swears under her breath,

“I can’t remember the fucking song. Let’s see. Bad music all around. Fuck. I’m never going to get anywhere with this.”

Then she starts singing,

“I’m going to fuck the music into the ground. Yeah. Fuck the music into the ground.”

She goes back to main the main lyrics.

“There’s bad music all around. There’s bad music everywhere.”

At the end of the song, the music gets very lively and her singing even more shrill. She sings,

“I like bad music every single day. I like bad music every single day.”

She slows down again,

“I don’t think you understand. Bad music is grand . . . if you like it.”

And this is one bad song I really do like.

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