10 musical artists who felt the need to include crap spoken-word bits

WHAT gives a song more texture and emotional depth? A deeply incongruous spoken-word section, obviously. That’s what these artists thought, anyway.

Never Ever, All Saints

‘I need to know what I’ve done wrong,’ goes Nicole’s spoken bit, before listing: not being affectionate; not paying her boyfriend enough attention; ‘treating him wrong’; and starting fights. Sounds like she knew exactly what a mare she was. You’re well out of that, mate.

Leader of the Pack, The Shangri-Las

Starts slightly worryingly with: ‘Is he picking you up after school today?’ The narrator’s parents don’t like her paedo biker squeeze, she dumps him, and another spoken section details his demise due to speeding in wet road conditions, with the hilarious words ‘Look out, look out, look out!’ Tragic, but look on the bright side – if you’d got married he’d always be stripping his Honda down in the kitchen. 

Flash, Queen

The song is full of cheesy dialogue from the film, which is either shit or kitsch fun depending on taste. Sadly for musicians trying to make an artistic point, ‘Open fire! All weapons! Dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body!’ is probably the most famous spoken-word bit in any song ever.

Oops! I Did it Again, Britney Spears

Thanks to the video there’s an utterly confusing spoken bit as an astronaut finds a necklace on Mars: ‘But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end?’ It’s a dumb, random reference to the then-massive film Titanic. Or is Mars actually Earth in the future, ravaged by environmental disaster or nuclear war? We thought it was a song about a mean girlfriend, not Planet of the f**king Apes

Bullet the Blue Sky, U2

It’s about US military intervention in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Obviously. What do you mean that wasn’t clear from Bono’s lyrics? Mr Hewson clearly states: ‘I can see those fighter planes.’ Twice. Although A man breathes into a saxophone/ And through the walls you hear the city groan/ Outside is America’ doesn’t really scream ‘Donate to Amnesty’.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift

Credit to Taylor, she keeps the spoken bit to a minimum: ‘So he calls me up and he’s like “I still love you,” and I’m like “This is exhausting, like, we are never getting back together”.’ However, since she’s spent the entire song repeating these exact words it’s as unnecessary as Adele telling you she’s feeling a bit sad today. 

Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, The Small Faces

Classic 1968 mod pop-rock album, but you may not be so keen on comic Stanley Unwin’s ‘Unwinese’, a humorously mangled form of English, between tracks on the B-side. If you find ‘Are you all sitting comfy bold two square on your botty? Then I’ll begin…’ funny, you won’t mind spoken bits that are weirdly reminiscent of Alex speaking ‘Nadsat’ in A Clockwork Orange

Love is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar

The song is clearly about emotional conflict that afflicts many a relationship. Simples. Ms Benatar explains the love/battlefield point in spoken words, and we’re all up to speed. But then the video shows a 30-year-old Pat being thrown out by her dad (shouldn’t she be thinking about getting her own place anyway?) before becoming some sort of enslaved nightclub dancer. She intimidates the owner with 80s dance moves before leading the other dancers to freedom. Just strange.

Famine, Sinead O’Connor

A million alarm bells should be going off when Sinead says ‘Okay, I want to talk about Ireland’. ‘There was no famine/ See Irish people were only allowed to eat potatoes,’ she explains in a kind of low-energy rap, in case you didn’t realise the Brits were utter bastards in Ireland. It only gets bleaker – ‘We lost our history… and this leads to massive self-destruction, alcoholism, drug addiction…’ – but if you’re British, listening to this slab of misery all the way through feels like you’ve atoned for the sins of your ancestors and you’ll emerge completely guilt-free.

Rock of Ages, Def Leppard

As the song begins, a hooded figure intones: ‘Gunter, Glieben, Glauten, Globen.’ What does this enigmatic, Germanic, possibly Satanic, phrase mean? Er, f**k all. Producer Mutt Lange just said it as a change from ‘one, two, three, four’. Since the rest of the lyrics are at the level of ‘What do ya want? I want rock’n’roll/ Alright/ Long live rock ‘n’ roll/ Oh, yeah, yeah’ it’s easily the most profound bit.

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'There's more of a friendship vibe': Seven ways to say you don't want to shag someone

DATING is hard. And saying outright you don’t want to have sex with someone is brutal, so use a feeble excuse instead. Here are some excellent ones.

‘There was more of a friendship vibe’

Use the meaningless phrase ‘friendship vibe’. If you said you saw them as a friend, that would be a huge insult to your actual friends, who would surely never hang out with you if your conversation was like Gwyneth Paltrow’s hippy twaddle.

‘I’m just so busy at the moment’

Clever, you’ve implied you’re focused on intellectual pursuits like your career. As if you wouldn’t drop everything for a shag the second someone genuinely fit looked your way. The rejected party knows that, but they can’t say so without sounding mental and possessive.

‘We’re just too similar’

In many ways this one’s absolute nonsense, because who wouldn’t want to shag themselves? You’re perfect! But at least you’ve softened the blow by letting them (wrongly) believe they’re as attractive and interesting as you.

‘I’m moving away’

Very specific and an outright lie. But you have to respect the boldness. If they live very locally and there’s a chance you may meet at random, you’ll have to tell the bizarre lie ‘I moved back again’. But if they can’t take that obvious a hint you probably wouldn’t want to go out with them anyway.

‘I’ve realised I’m not in the headspace for something right now’

Wonderfully vague. It implies you’re getting over an ex, which sounds very valid. However, what you actually mean by ‘headspace’ is the mental state of not finding them physically repulsive.

‘The chemistry wasn’t there’

Means nothing. Truly nothing. But sounds more scientific than ‘You gave me the ick when you started doing maths on how much we each owed on the bill’.

‘I need to work on myself before I get involved with anyone new’

Exact translation: my hand can do the job much better than you ever could.