Monday, May 21, 2007

You Better Think

For years and years, I heard Green Day's "Basket Case" as:
I went to a shrink
To analyze my think
But that's not how it goes at all. It's actually:
I went to a shrink
To analyze my dreams

My way is lots better, isn't it? It rhymes, for one thing, which is always good. And having a shrink analyze your dreams is kind of expected and unsurprising, not a very fresh turn of phrase. Plus, that use of "think" as a noun has a certain Green Day grottiness to it.

Billie Joe, feel free to use that.


MJN said...

I will concede that your line works better, but consider the lines that immediately follow:

She says it's lack of sex
That's bringing me down
I went to a whore
He said my life's a bore

Every time I hear the song, I am surprised by the gender of the shrink, and then especially by the gender of the whore. Maybe BJ exhausted his supply of fresh lyrics with these.

Here's one of my favorite misunderstood lyrics. For decades, when I heard Elton John sing "My sister looks cute in her braces and boots", I would think, "What is she, eleven?" Then one day, it finally hit me: Those braces aren't on her teeth, they're holding up her trousers! Now I picture a seventeen-year-old who's smokin' hot. Much better!

T. Nawrocki said...

Ah, but according to the lyrics of "Basket Case" printed in my copy of Green Day's International Superhits!, the lines immediately following the ones you quoted are:

"And quit my whining 'cause
It's bringing her down"

This would seem to refer to the whore who was a he in the immediately previous line. So what we might have here is a case in which Billie Joe is too snotty and jaded to even pay attention to the gender of the person he's singing about. Or she's singing about.

MJN said...

No, I think the whore is suggesting that Billie Joe give the shrink a break, which is yet another clever role reversal.

You should go ahead and get Dookie. It’s well worth it.