Be Clear…Really, Really Clear. Please.


One of my biggest challenges in the revision stages is BEING CLEAR. It all makes so much sense in my head, but it’s kind of amazing how getting my point across can be such a challenge. Obviously as authors, we want the reader to feel the exact emotion we’re hoping to convey, but think of what a muddled mess it can all become if you’re not clear.

Since I love music as much as I love books, I thought it would be fun to use songs as an example.

We’ve all experienced it: we listen to a song we love but CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF US FIGURE OUT WHAT THE SINGER IS SAYING. It’s so common that Jimmy Fallon has a bit where he reads people’s worst misheard lyrics on his show. As a lover of all kinds of music, I’ve made some fairly disastrous blunders that completely changed the context of the song.

I always pray the CD will come with a lyric booklet to avoid the following confusions. Below are my all-time weirdest misheard lyrics (My brother, Scott, has some pretty epic ones that I have to include. I could never unhear them once he told them to me!)

K.D. Lang’s “Constant Craving”

Actual lyrics: “Constant craving”

Scott’s misheard lyrics: “Don’t strain gravy.”


Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Really Matter

Actual lyrics: “Doesn’t really matter what the eye is seeing, cause I’m in love with the inner being.”

Scott’s misheard lyrics: “Doesn’t really matter what the audience sees, cause I’m in love with the A&P.”

 (side note: A&P is a grocery store, if you’re not from round these parts)

Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”

Actual lyrics: “Billy Jean is not my lover.”

Scott’s misheard lyrics: “Levi jeans for my son.”


Macy Gray’s “I Try”

Actual lyrics: “My world crumbles when you are not near.”

Scott’s misheard lyrics: “I blow bubbles when you are not here.”


Sting’s “Every Breath You Take”

Actual lyrics: “How my poor heart aches.”

Scott’s misheard lyrics: “I’m a pool hall ace.”


Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”

Actual lyrics: “Tennis shoes, don’t even need to buy a new dress. If you aint there, aint nobody else to impress.”

My misheard lyrics: “Dennis shoots, Tony need to buy a new dress. A few have hair and nobody else is Empress.”


Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”

Actual lyrics: “To my homegirls here with the big butts, shaking it like we at a strip club. Remember only God can judge us, forget the haters, ’cause somebody loves ya. Everyone in line in the bathroom, tryna get a line in the bathroom…”

My misheard lyrics: “Do my own curls here with the big pups, shaping it like we at a strict club. Members only cod can juggle, protect the gators, ’cause somebody loves ya. Everyone in line in the bathroom, tryna get online in the bathroom…”


Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River”

Actual lyrics: “You don’t have to say what you did. I already know. I found out from him.”

My misheard lyrics: “You don’t have to say what you hid. At Autobarn. I found out from Jim.”


John Legend’s “All of Me”

Actual lyrics: “Love your curves and all your edges.”

My misheard lyrics: “Love your cursives and your etches.”


Nicki Minaj’s “Superbass” 

Actual lyrics: “And he ill, he real, he might got a deal. He pop bottles and he got the right kind of build. He cold, he dope, he might sell coke. He always in the air but he never fly coach.”

My misheard lyrics: “And he ill, he grill, hell, Mike gotta eel. He pop buttons and he got the right kind of dill. He old, he dough, he might spill coke, he always in my hair but he never life coach.”

“It’s Raining Men” by…(oh honestly. Does anyone actually know who sings that stupid song? I’m too lazy to Google it…)

Actual lyrics: “It’s raining men! Hallelujah! It’s raining men! Amen!”

My misheard lyrics: “It’s Raymond Ben! Hallelujah! It’s Raymond Ben! Amen!”

(for years, I wondered who this elusive Raymond Ben was, and what he did to deserve his own song.)

And of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate misheard lyric.


Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”

Actual lyrics: “Hold me closer tiny dancer.”

Phoebe Buffay’s misheard lyrics:


See what happens when you’re not clear?? Verrryyyy different emotions are felt in each version of these lyrics.

It dawned on me that I’ve misheard SO MANY lyrics in my life that this isn’t even the half of it. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 one day.

What’s your absolute worst/funniest misheard lyric???