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5 songs that would have crushed dreams on 'Don’t Forget The Lyrics'

5 songs that would have crushed dreams on 'Don’t Forget The Lyrics'

If, like me, you spent your childhood alternating between watching Don’t Forget The Lyricsand Spicks and Specks, you’re probably a shallow, lyrically adept carcass of a human being. If not, allow me to fill you in.

The premise of Don’t Forget The Lyrics was almost as simple as those who appeared on it. Essentially, contestants would sing karaoke versions of pop songs, having a merry old time, blissfully unaware of the auditory pain they were inflicting on the viewers. At a random point in the song, the music would cut out, and the contestants would have to complete the next line of lyrics, unprompted. If they failed to heed the show’s warning to Not Forget The Lyrics, they’d go home empty handed. If they didn’t Not Forget The Lyrics, they’d win cash moneys.

But what would it have been like if, rather than the 1970s cringe-makers that the show usually featured, there were songs with lyrics that were just really difficult to remember?

Allow us to suggest five songs that would have crushed dreams on Don’t Forget The Lyrics.

5. ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ by Pearl Jam (1992)

‘Yellow Ledbetter’ was first released to the public in 1992 as the B-Side to ‘Jeremy’, which remains one of Pearl Jam’s biggest hits to date. The band had originally intended to include the song on their debut album, but decided not to, presumably because of the anguish caused by its incomprehensible lyrics. The song really just sounds like a drunken rant with musical accompaniment. The only lyrics which are even slightly recognisable are “make me cry” leading into the track’s guitar solo. By that point, saying “make me cry” would have probably been pretty appropriate for whoever had to sing this song on Don’t Forget The Lyrics.

4. ‘Informer’ by Snow (1993)

When Pitchfork Media named Snow’s ‘Informer’ one of the top 10 worst number one hits of the ‘90s, perhaps it was out of sheer frustration. Like ‘Yellow Ledbetter’, the track’s lyrics are pretty tricky to pin down. Unlike ‘Yellow Ledbetter’, however, Snow intersperse their lyrics with the thought-provoking refrain “A licky boom-boom down”, which after a while, probably would have driven the contestant to insanity. The Canadian reggae group’s sheer pace of delivery is enough to have your head spinning round. What’s more, looking up the lyrics to this track just leads to more questions, as we begin to question whether Snow even knew the words to their own song.  

3. ‘One Week’ by Barenaked Ladies (1998)

Would you expect anything other than difficult lyrics from the group behind the theme song to The Big Bang Theory?  Some may remember ‘One Week’ from Singstar ‘90s, so they’d definitely have an advantage at Not Forgetting The Lyrics to this one. For everyone else however, the track is basically just an accumulation of pop culture-related similes, including “Like Harrison Ford I’m getting frantic, like Sting I’m tantric, like Snickers guaranteed to satisfy, like Kurasawa I make mad films, k I don’t make films, but if I did they’d have a samurai”. My brother and I can sing this song in full. We also both live with our parents and find fart jokes funny.

2. ‘Chicken Payback’ by The Bees (2004)

‘Chicken Payback’ features music that sounds like it belongs in a Tarantino film, and lyrics that sound like they belong on Play School. The track begins, and I quote, with “Chicken, pay the chicken back, back, pay the chicken back, pay back the chicken back, do the chicken payback” and doesn’t really change too much from there. In fact, the song is basically just a list of the different farm animals to whom the singer inexplicably owes money. Even though ‘Chicken Payback’ features just 23 unique words, thinking that this would make it an easy sing for DFTL contestants would be a costly dismissal of the song’s intellectual genius. While each verse is pretty similar, there are just enough changes in the lyrics to make you lose track of the different extents to which the singer must “pay the chicken/donkey/monkey/piggy back”.  Beyond this, the track’s bridge is just a profusion of different farm animal noises, which would have certainly been difficult to replicate tastefully.

1. ‘The Ketchup Song’ by Las Ketchup (2002)

The Youtube video to this song is appropriately subtitled ‘Spanglish Version’. Seamlessly dancing in and out of English and Spanish, the song fools you into thinking you can remember its lyrics before jumping into some colourful Hispanic musings. I don’t know what they’re saying in Spanish, but it no doubt relates to tomato-based condiments. No list of songs with elusive lyrics, and no primary school disco, would be complete without ‘The Ketchup Song’. Las Ketchup’s iconic hit is one of many hilariously dated examples of the pop music scene’s Spanish fetish in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. It’d probably also be difficult to sing it on live TV because of the memories of the fact that you actually once liked this song that it would bring back.



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