Do You Ever Love Something But Also Kind-Of Hate It?

Have you heard the song “The A Team” by Ed Sheeren? I was listening to it tonight as I was marinating in the sweet sauce of YouTube. But as I listened, I caught myself thinking: this is such a good song! Why do I also sort-of hate it?

Then I realized that there are several songs like that – songs I love but with one little flaw that makes me cringe with embarrassment when they show up on my YouTube history.

“The A Team” is a song that is both very serious and, with the right amount of red wine or lack of sleep, moving. Ginger-haired English heartthrob Ed Sheeran sings about a young woman caught in the steely grip of drug addiction and prostitution. She applies her makeup in dirty bathrooms, sleeps on benches, and sometimes she cries because, you know, she has a terrible life.

With such a sobering subject matter, I’m not sure why it’s necessary to describe this poor girl’s face as “crumbling like pastries.” I mean, I understand what Ed means. The girl is leading a horrible life and her vulnerabilities are evident by her face. But pastries?  Like –  danishes? The stuff  I used to arrange in a pleasing fashion during my shifts at Starbucks?Baked goods?

The pastry I picture most often when I hear to this song is the croissant, which is really more flaky than crumbly, so I suppose that’s not quite what Ed had in mind. And anyway, having a flaky face seems like more of a dermatological disorder than a consequence of hard living. I guess unless we’re talking about facial wounds in the process of healing, but does anyone really want to get wound specific here?

I’m not exactly a pastry expert, but I can’t think of that many pastries that are meant to be crumbly. The topping of a coffee cake, maybe? Delicious! But I don’t think her crumbly face is meant to be a positive. Perhaps the pastry has been very poorly baked? Too much flour, too long in the oven? I don’t know. What I do know is that the metaphor drives me nuts and I almost don’t want to listen to the song without skipping over it, the way I skip over every word that comes out of Mary Murphy’s loud crazy mouth.

Pastries??? WHOOO-WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Get on the PASTRY train!!! WHOOO-WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Okay. So my second example takes place in the House of the Lord. Many Jesus-loving individuals like myself dig the song “How He Loves Us,” written by David Crowder.

For the most part, this is a beautiful song. And I don’t want to make all the Christians angry. But is anyone else embarrassed to sing the words “sloppy wet kiss” in church? Or anywhere for that matter? Because I am. When the line comes up, I think first of really impolite dogs. Then of old men who feel they have aged out of social skills. Or maybe even someone with a condition that causes excessive saliva and you HAVE TO kiss them or else someone (Jesus?) will become angry with you. As you may imagine, these anxiety-inducing images put a bit of a damper on my sweet moment with Jesus.

DO NOT approach me, old creeper.

Back off, old creeper. If you don’t know how not to wear orange mesh in public, where else will your social skills fail you?

This is the same problem I have with the song “I Will Not Forget You.” This song was written by Ben & Robin Pasley, a couple known for their involvement in the band Enter the Worship Circle. I have many times found myself really into this song, singing about all the stuff I’m going to give Jesus. Then I get to the part where I’m supposed to tell him that, in addition to not forgetting him, I will also ring a huge bell.

Now, I am aware that ringing bells has some symbolic meanings, and perhaps that’s what the Pasleys were invoking. Bells are traditionally rung to gather the worshipers into church, so maybe it has something to do with that. Or perhaps I’m ringing the bell to get someone’s attention – like when you want to pay for something at the Dollar Tree but no one’s around.

But every time I sing this, I can’t help picturing myself struggling to swing one of those huge gong mallets with the fuzzy tips into the Liberty Bell. I actually think it might actually be illegal to touch the Liberty Bell. It’s at least not socially acceptable to ring it, even for Jesus. And also, since this is for Jesus anyway, I’m probably supposed to be ringing a much bigger bell. Like, maybe a bell the size of the Statue of Liberty! Or maybe I could just gather a bunch of tiny bells and ringing them would be the spiritual equivalent of ringing one huge one.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so strongly about lyrics like these is because of their ambiguity. I can only speculate why I would tell Jesus I am willing to ring a huge bell for him. And I’m not all that comfortable telling Jesus that I’m doing something when I have no idea whether or not I’m actually doing it, have ever done it, or will ever do it in the future. So to me, that line is pretty much the equivalent of saying, “Jesus, I’m going to put the arms on the unicorn in the manchester world.” *cue lifted hands!*

Maybe these songs should take a cue from the lyrical genius that is Nicki Minaj:

“Sexy, sexy, that’s all I do.” (from “Pound the Alarm,” a song that makes a mockery of the art of English sentences with lyrics like, “I wanna do it like you like.”)

A lyric like this is genius because it’s so straightforward. No confusion!

“Hey, Nicki! What did you do today?”

“Sexy.”

“Okay, what about after lunch?”

“Sexy.”

“Fine. What you are doing later?”

“Sexy.”

See? The answer’s always the same because sexy is all she does. She’s expertly taken any confusion about any of her activities, ever, and just cleared things right on up.

I wonder if she’d be willing to re-write a few David Crowder songs.

Finally, Gastric Medicine Has Become Sexy

Sometimes I feel like no one is paying any attention. Do you ever get that feeling?

I started thinking about this while watching a Rihanna video. The one where Drake is in a convenience store and Rihanna comes in to pick up some milk.

So after Rihanna gives Drake a “come hither” look, he comes up to her and things start getting sexy in front of the refrigerated dairy. Oh, but before that, he admits to an inane struggle with math (which is supposed to be a sexual reference) and makes uninformative comments about marijuana and white wine. But it works, and they end up at home, primed to get it on.

As I watched this video, I thought to myself – who would actually bring this dude home?

Because, first of all, I can’t think of many things less hot than being hit on while I’m trying to purchase milk. In the video, the milk even spills. This is probably another vague sexual reference, but is actually gross and creates a mess and Rihanna probably got some milk on her shoe. Have you ever smelled dairy after it’s sat on something for awhile? Clothing, towels, someone’s breath? It smells HORRIBLE. But I guess that doesn’t matter when there’s sex on the horizon.

And what kind of creeper hits on ladies in a convenience store? I mean, he even says, “You say you want to leave, but I know you want to stay.” Isn’t that pretty common logic for rapists?

A video like this makes me think that sometimes we take things for granted just because they’re attached to pop culture. If some dude tried to pick you up at the local 7-11, you probably wouldn’t be all down to get out of there and go get busy. It’s way more likely that you’d be judging the distance from the dairy case to the door while trying to find the speed dial button for the cops on your phone. But I guess if it was Drake, and he promised that the only thing you guys would have on is the radio, apparently you’d be like – okay? That sounds nice?

Another problem I have with this video is the part where Rihanna performs household tasks, which you can find at about 2:15. Rihanna is doing dishes when Drake comes up behind her and starts to use his body language to say, “I can see that you’re cleaning, but I’m all set to get it on.” This has happened to me many times and believe me, IT IS NOT SEXY. It’s actually one of the top 6 annoying things that can happen while doing dishes (along with breaking something or having to stop every 16 seconds to tell a child to knock it off).

See, my husband is usually just trying to get a quick hug or show me some love. But what’s awesome about doing dishes is that AFTER YOU DO THEM THEY’RE DONE. If I stop in the middle, then I will have to try and muster “let’s get it on” feelings while most of my mind is focused on dirty dishes. And guess what I get to do after the fun is over? That’s right…the dishes! Because, as incredible as it would be, the winds of ecstasy are most likely not going to blow my dishes into the dishwasher and I will end up in front of the sink again, loading and scrubbing and drying out my delicate lady hands.

You know what would actually be hot, though? DOING THE DISHES FOR ME. While I sit in my chair and read a book or watch a wedding-themed reality television show. Whoa. I think I need to remove this cardigan because it’s getting hot in hurrrr.

Now I will throw down another example for you. Has anyone seen Nicki Minaj’s video for “Super Bass?” In this video, shaking her bootay on a motorcycle made of ice and wearing glow in the dark lipstick, Nicki has finally made Pepto Bismol sexy. If you have you see this for yourself, here it is:

I myself have never managed to pour gastric medicine all over my boobies and have it translate into sexy. But I used a plastic cup with little dinosaurs and glitter floating in it instead of a champagne glass. And I’ve nursed two babies so things aren’t sitting as Northern as they are for Nicki. (I am also having a hard time deciding whether gyrating on an ice motorcycle is really ridiculous or really awesome.)

Now I know this whole idea isn’t exactly original. We have been busy not thinking about what we listen to for years. Many people have written much deeper (and much funnier) things on the subject. But this is my experience, and these things I’ve learned: no amount of auto-tune, tasty beats, or really good looking people can make interrupted dishes sexy.