Tue | Nov 13, 2018

Same song, 'new' lyrics

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Members of Third World during a performance at Rebel Salute 2015.

Reggae group Third World has a song named I'm Committed.

A cousin of mine, for years, thought they were saying "Say hello to Mitty". To this day, I can't understand why that's what he came up with when he heard the song but I'm not going to try and analyse it too much, or question him about it. We just laugh about it any time it comes up.

Over time, I've realised that many of the songs I have been listening to for years actually had different lyrics than what I thought. Some of them I haven't been far off. Others were more far away than I am from running the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds. Thing is, sometimes it doesn't matter what the real lyrics are, the overall essence of the song doesn't change. That's the good part. However, with some songs, the right lyrics might make you think of the song in a whole new way. You've got the essence of the song right, but the 'new' lyrics help you appreciate the song even more. Or you might now hate the song or just not like it as much.

Now, you might wonder how exactly you can get the words wrong. Well I've come to believe that despite hearing the same song numerous times, we end up hearing what we want to hear. Or having got so used to our way of hearing it, no other interpretation, real or imagined, is necessary. We're good to go. Except and until, we really hear the song. Now each person has to decide on how they move on with their song.




That's how life can be. You live it a certain way the whole time, the lyrics to your song are ingrained. But then you get to a certain age and realise you didn't quite know the lyrics. Singing the 'new' song, might now become a problem. That is if, and it's a big if, you believe you're now listening to a different song. Some people are too stubborn to learn the 'new' song, aka, keep living life through a limited scope or terms of reference. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If you're perfectly happy with the song how you've had it in your head, don't change it.

But if you want to really know the song, then learn the 'new' words. Of course, that might be difficult because you may have trouble hearing the words, aka changing your lifestyle. Kind of how you got into this repetitive action to begin with. So you will need someone or some help to get it right. Some helpers will be patient. Others? Not so much. But if you really want to learn the 'new' song, and you have people willing to teach, you're in a good place. If you like the song as is, then keep singing the 'old' version. If not, get to know the lyrics.

You see, no matter the age or stage in life, contrary to the cliched belief, an old dog can indeed learn new tricks. And new songs.

• Sing with me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com