One of my favourite song lyrics of all time is in Rick Springfield’s 1981 hit, ‘Jessie’s Girl’. ‘Jessie’s Girl’ is told from the point of view of a dude who lusts after his mate’s missus, resenting Jessie for being with a girl that it drives him absolutely crazy just to see, and who’s clearly meant to be with him—for some reason (baseless entitlement). It’s not exactly a healthy interpersonal ecology. Dude even tortures himself by imagining the pair of them going at it for god’s sake. But I don’t know why I’m describing ‘Jessie’s Girl’ to be honest. We all know it! It’s a banger.
Fun fact: There’s a sequel to ‘Jessie’s Girl!’ Yep, last year, lovable American prog-metal nerds Coheed and Cambria surprised a world in lockdown by pulling a Richard Linklater and following up a classic story years later with a surprise sequel. In ‘Jessie’s Girl 2’ we catch up with the unnamed protagonist from the original, and it turns out that he got his wish in the end: Jessie’s girl left Jessie for him, and now, years later, they’re married with a house and kids. It turns out, however, that his pining in the original song was very much a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, as apparently Jessie’s girl was and is a complete nutter. Or so we’re told anyway. It’s not like the original ‘Jessie’s Girl’ established the protagonist as a supremely trustworthy, solid type.
‘Jessie’s Girl 2’ doesn’t exactly live up to the original, but it’s a damn good little tune. They even got (the 71-year old, look at him!) Rick back along for the ride!
And here’s a bonus. The Instragram stream in which Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria pitches the idea for the song to Springfield. It’s so wholesome:
But I digress. I was gonna mention one of my favourite lyrics of all time. In the original ‘Jessie’s Girl’, as the protagonist is regaling us with his totally healthy woes over the tragedy of his mate being in a relationship, he drops this gem of a passage, ending on a word that I can’t think of appearing in any other song ever:
‘I’ll play along with this charade
That doesn’t seem to be a reason to change
You know I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot’
That absolute madman, Rick Springfield, just dropping the word ‘moot’ into a pop tune after rhyming it with ‘cute’ and then sauntering off like nothing had happened. Come back here, you sonofabit*h, pause that upcoming bridge, and let me get you a pint. It’s glorious.
Anyway I bring this up because I saw a Reddit thread the other day that asked people to list the worst song lyrics of all time. Now, frankly, there are many, many, oh so depressingly many answers to that which qualify mostly because they are basically examples of sexual assault. We’ll leave those out of this roundup. That’s a whole other discussion for another day. You can check out the full thread here, but below are some highlights:
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