Britney Spears’ name is not one we bring up often here on the Indie Ear, but I’m not going to lie to you, it does happen from time to time. So if you’re against such things, go to your other 5,000 favorite indie music blogs and catch up on all of your favorite redundantly named bands.
Anyway, here goes:
Right now, I’m going to tell you why I like Britney Spears’ current single, “Womanizer” (and before you throw stones, just to listen to me for a second). I like the song, because, it gave me an epiphany. You heard me, epiphany. While listening to the chorus–Boy don’t try to front, I, I know just, just what you are, are, are–it occurred to me that I absolutely love stuttering lyrics in music, love ’em!
Kids used to get made fun of on the playground for having trouble spitting out those first few words, “C-c-c-c’mon, p-p-p-lease, p-p-p-ass me the b-b-ball.” It may not fly at recess, but in music, stuttering is pure gold.
After listening to “Womanizer” I began racking my brain for other songs featuring stuttering lyrics, and boy, there’s a bunch. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but here are some of my personal favorites:
Sebastien Grainger, “Love Can Be So Mean”
I just interviewed Sebastien Grainger this week for an episode of Lunchbox, and wouldn’t you know it, on the first track of his debut album he drops a “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-baby!” before each build-up.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet“
Randy Bachman sang the famous chorus, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen na-na-nothin’, yet” as a joke for his brother Gary who had a speech impediment. He intended to record the song in one take and send the only copy to this brother. Later, when the band’s record label was looking for a hit single, Bachman let them listen to the “joke” track and the rest is h-h-history.
The Who, “My Generation“
The song mentioned above, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” got a lot heat from fans of The Who, claiming that the guitar chords sounded similar to “Baba O’ Riley” and the stuttering was very reminiscent of “My Generation,” which is a stutterer’s dream song:
Why don’t you all f-fade away
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation
The Beastie Boys, “Ch-Check It Out”
Not only do the Beastie Boys stutter throughout the entire chorus–Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check it out / What-wha-what-what-what’s it all about / Work-wa-work-work-work-wa-work it out / Let’s turn this, turn this party out–but they also pay tribute to the stutter by including it in the song title.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, “Boom! Shake The Room“
Will Smith takes stuttering to new heights with eight bars of brilliantly speech-impeded-filled rhymes:
The the F-F-F-F-Fresh P-P-P-Prince is wh-who I am
So tell my mother that I never wrote a whack jam
But some times I get n-nervous and start to stutter
And I f-fumble every w-w-w-word for word I utter
So I just try to ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chill
But it gets worse-a but worse-a but-but-but worse still
I need the c-c-c-crowd to k-k-k-kick it to it
They help me calm down and I can get through it
David Bowie, “Changes“
This track could hold its own on both an “All-Time Greatest Songs” list as well as an “All-Time Greatest Stuttering Songs” list.
Phil Collins, “Sussudio“
Phil Collins improvised this now famous lyric in the studio, and throughout the recording process for his album, No Jacket Required, he couldn’t find a better lyric than “Sussudio,” so he just stuck with it. During the chorus I give Collins double-bonus points just for the fact that “Sussudio” on its own is a stutter, but when he sings “Su-Sussudio” Collins stutters within a stutter.
Huey Lewis & The News, “The Heart of Rock and Roll“
Huey Lewis only lets one stutter rip in this popular 80’s tune, but it’s a memorable one: Th-Th-Th-Th-They say the heart of rock and roll is still beating!
Tim Fite, “Camouflage”
In Tim Fite’s thought-provoking song about people wearing camouflage he imitates a scratching record during the song’s hook, “C-c-c-camouflage, it’s hot this season!”
“Under my umbrella-ella-ella, eh-eh-eh.” Still can’t get this stutter out of my head.