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Still More Confusing Song Titles

by Marko Peric

Some time ago we ran a Good/Bad/Ugly article called Confusing Song Titles, which naturally rated songs, six of them, actually, that have titles that don't make sense, songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35." And more recently, we ran More Confusing Song Titles, and rated five more such songs, such as "1979" and "Baba O'Reilly". That's a dozen misnamed songs rated, but there's plenty more out there to rate. Here's another batch of them.

"Overkill" by Men at Work: Men at Work are best known for "Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now" but this was a moderate hit for them in 1983. And while the word Overkill appears in the song a couple of times, after a casual listen you would never know that's the name of the song. "Day After Day" or "Night After Night" seem to be the more likely candidates, and although "Ghosts Appear and Fade Away" is a terrible song title, that's in there half a dozen times. Maybe they could have called the song "Ghosts" but that would be a pretty Bad title too.

"Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla: If you listened to the radio even once in 1996, you know this song. Of course, you probably don't know the name — you might know it as "Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God." Yes, this song is a product of the quasi-spiritual nihilism so prevalent in the 1990s. In fact, it's practically a quasi-spiritual anthem. It's a catchy song, and the only significant hit that alt rockers Dishwalla ever managed, so there's that. But there's also the fact that the song repeatedly refers to God as a 'Her' which is of course technically incorrect. Maybe they're trying to be either clever and/or politically correct, and failing at both, and the result is Ugly.

"Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire: I'm not sure how many times I heard this song before I realized they were repeating the word 'Lies' at several times throughout the song. Really, though, putting the explanation in parenthesis after the real title a bit of a cop-out. This one is a little difficult to categorize, because the theme of the song is indeed encapsulated in the word rebellion, and the idea of not giving in is repeated. But the words "Every time you close your eyes" is repeated ad naseum, and that would make a more reasonable title.
As it happens, every time I hear this song the single piano note repeated throughout reminds me of the bell you might hear at a railroad crossing. So I've referred to the song as "Train's Comin'" which of course is not a Good name at all.

"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" by the Smashing Pumpkins: The Pumpkins were a bleak and angsty hard rock band, and this is one of their best known tracks. But it's probably better known as "Rat in a Cage" as that is repeated entirely too many times.
And while much time could be spent analyzing the lyrics, that's not what this article is about. It's about the title, and that's not readily analyzed. There's nothing about bullets or butterflies in the song, and while the term might be a metaphor for a wolf in sheep's clothing, that's not much help either.
You can have fun with the 'still just a rat in a cage' bit, though, by substituting all manner of other words. For example: "Despite all my rage, I can still jump around on the stage." Or maybe "Despite all my rage, I am still making minimum wage." How about "Despite all my rage, I am still wearing pants that are beige." Try it, it's fun, and fun is Good.

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