Know any super-high speed lyrics, especially educational ones?
January 17, 2005 3:18 AM   Subscribe

[RapidFireLyricsFilter] I love songs that are catchy, clever, witty, and possibly educational. But I love them even more if their lyrics clip along at such an alacritous speed that it takes many listenings and hours of practice to sing along, if indeed it's even possible. Any recommendations for great, high-SPM (syllables-per-minute) songs?
posted by Ironwolf to Media & Arts (52 answers total)
 
I likes 'em too.

Off the top of my head, two Monty Python songs: "Sit on my Face" and "The Philosopher's Drinking Song". I'm still trying to memorize the latter.

Will probably think of some later.
posted by zardoz at 3:32 AM on January 17, 2005


I'm a fan of "Alphabet Aerobics" by Blackalicious.
posted by makonan at 3:43 AM on January 17, 2005


Let's see ...

Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire"

"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" (highschool flashback for me).

Maybe REM's "Ignoreland"?
posted by RavinDave at 3:57 AM on January 17, 2005


There's "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, but...well... you know.
posted by skylar at 3:58 AM on January 17, 2005


Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues and
REM's End of the World as We Know it.
posted by klarck at 4:01 AM on January 17, 2005


*argh*

klark's REM example was the one I was reaching for. Good catch.
posted by RavinDave at 4:05 AM on January 17, 2005


The Nations of the World by Yakko Warner from the Animaniacs, mp3 here and of course, also Wakko's America, featuring the states and their capitals.
posted by hindmost at 4:20 AM on January 17, 2005


K2G by Puffy AmiYumi.
posted by pookzilla at 4:20 AM on January 17, 2005


Ack, hate to bring this one up, but back in the '80s McDonalds had a promotion where they'd give away free burgers to anyone who could completely sing this song. I remember finding a recording of it in Sunday's newspapers, and if the class singing the song finishes it, you'd win a million dollars (or something.)

Other songs popping into my head is Guns 'n' Roses Garden of Eden, and Letters to Cleo Here and Now.
posted by icontemplate at 4:39 AM on January 17, 2005


Maybe not quite sufficiently high in SPM, but... Elton John's "Saturday Night".
posted by Clay201 at 4:41 AM on January 17, 2005


Kind of a SoCal thing, but Danny Elfman's band Oingo Boingo ended their shows with a song called Goodbye-Goodbye, the main section of which is spat out in one breathless sentence. Did anyone but him know the lyrics before the Internet?
posted by planetkyoto at 4:46 AM on January 17, 2005


Of course, if you REALLY wanna drive yerself crazy with clever rapid-fire, tongue-torturing lyrics, there is always Jacques Brel.
posted by RavinDave at 4:55 AM on January 17, 2005


I knew I shouldn't have posted this question at 3:00 AM when I'm short on sleep. Every reload of this page over the last couple hours is a new revealation. Thanks everyone and please keep them coming!

Musn't... reload... page... again!
posted by Ironwolf at 5:07 AM on January 17, 2005


Also ... don't wanna leave out Danny Kaye's "Tchaikovsky", wherein he sings the names of every significant Russian composer in one long 36 second breath. Unfortunately, can't find a suitable link.
posted by RavinDave at 5:08 AM on January 17, 2005


There was even a recent post on the Blue about it. Nick Cave & The Bad Seed's Babe, I'm On Fire
posted by substrate at 5:50 AM on January 17, 2005


Johnny Saucep'n from Moxy Fruvous is fast with foodstuffs.

Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants loves putting lots of syllables into small spaces, but I can't think of the perfect example, though Letterbox is good. But there's some place I swear where he shoves like a 5 or 6 syllable word into a song.
posted by cmm at 5:57 AM on January 17, 2005


I can't believe nobody's mentioned Tom Lehrer's ''The Elements'' yet. Very rapid fire, and definately educational.
posted by fvw at 6:06 AM on January 17, 2005


You've already got one TMBG song linked, but do know Why Does the Sun Shine? Most certainly educational, maybe not fast enough though.

Great Big Sea does a cover of It's the End of the World as We Know it that's faster than the original and borders on the ridiculous. Then there's their concert staple Mari-Mac, which is exceedingly catchy and very very fast. I'm sure I can think of more, but I need to get to class!
posted by nelleish at 6:35 AM on January 17, 2005


One Week by Barenaked Ladies, although it's more nonsensical than educational.
posted by papercake at 6:35 AM on January 17, 2005


I don't know how far they penetrated the States, but I'm surprised noone has mentioned Carter, the Unstoppable Sex Machine (or Carter USM). Check out in particular Twenty Four Minutes From Tulse Hill and Sheffif Fatman. Cheers for the reminder Ironwolf, I'm off to find my old albums and relive my student days.
posted by viama at 6:42 AM on January 17, 2005


Another Moxy Fruvous song of this type is called "Entropy".
posted by Zonker at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2005


From that One Week link:
Chickity china the chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin’


WTF? Is that supposed to mean anything at all?
posted by davidmsc at 7:02 AM on January 17, 2005


On the stage, they're called patter songs. Gilbert and Sullivan have some great and hilarious ones.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:12 AM on January 17, 2005


Okay, sorry, that link to the "little list" song was a parody trashing philosophers. (Funny though) Here's the real lyrics.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:14 AM on January 17, 2005


I'll second CLs suggestion - I'm listening to The Pirates of Penzance as I type this. I figure if you can sing along to "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" then you can sing along to ANYTHING.
posted by pookzilla at 7:21 AM on January 17, 2005


In the same vein, G&S's "The Lord High Executioner" from the Mikado features this line: "Taken from the county jail / By a set of curious chances / Liberated then on bail / On my own recognizances." Great use of syllabic timing, though not speedy. I think you should be a Gilbert & Sullivan fan if you aren't already.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:43 AM on January 17, 2005


Couldn't find any mp3s, but here's a fairly amusing parody (free mp3) of the major general song - "I am a famous model and a media celebrity"

(scroll down to "media celebrity")

...I only watch my MTV because I just don't get the news
but I can walk a runway without falling in stilleto shoes...
.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:09 AM on January 17, 2005


Stephen Sondheim's "Your Fault" from "Into the Woods" adds a nice twist, because you get to do multiple voices while also trying to keep up with the pace.
posted by bryanjbusch at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2005


There's tons of songs like this in rap music, but the one that always stands out for me is Kool Moe Dee's "I Go To Work," from his best album, Knowledge Is King.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:45 AM on January 17, 2005


Keeping with the fruvous, Green Eggs and Ham
posted by The White Hat at 8:59 AM on January 17, 2005


WTF? Is that supposed to mean anything at all?

I don't think so. Unless it means you have some of that Chinese Chicken and your brain freezes up from fried goodness.

In the same nonsense vein, one of my favorite nonsequiturs to throw out is from "End of the World as We Know It:"

Birthday party cheesecake jellybean boom

Now that I think about it, I should have used jellybeanboom as my MeFi name...
posted by papercake at 9:06 AM on January 17, 2005


The Animaniacs often had tunes like Wakko's America (a recitation of state capitols).

And if we're going to talk Tom Lehrer, let's talk New Math.
posted by SPrintF at 9:06 AM on January 17, 2005


Chickity china the chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin’

WTF? Is that supposed to mean anything at all?

I don't think so. Unless it means you have some of that Chinese Chicken and your brain freezes up from fried goodness.

Well, MSG, you know? Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?
posted by kindall at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2005


Blood Makes Noise by Suzanne Vega.
posted by oflinkey at 9:36 AM on January 17, 2005


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posted by themadjuggler at 9:36 AM on January 17, 2005


Stephen Sondheim is famous for this sort of thing - clever, intelligent lyrics often at rapid speed. One of his most famous being "Getting Married Today" from Company. Someone above mentioned "Your Fault" from Into the Woods but really a whole lot of that show falls into this category (see "Giants in the Sky," "On the Steps of the Palace," and the whole opening sequence). Also "It's Hot Up Here" and the eponymous opening song of Sunday in the Park with George. Also several bits of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
posted by dnash at 9:38 AM on January 17, 2005


Blues Traveler, "Runaround"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:42 AM on January 17, 2005


This rapid-fire quality is one of the main things people like (or at least respect) about Eminem.
posted by jjg at 9:50 AM on January 17, 2005


If you don't mind it being technologically augmented, you might like Ohgr's Pore or Skinny Puppy's Pro-test (same vocalist).
posted by squidlarkin at 10:06 AM on January 17, 2005


Blackalicious, "Blazing Arrow".
posted by teleskiving at 10:12 AM on January 17, 2005


Well, REM's End of the World and Lehrer's The Elements were the first things that popped into mind.

Then there's Primus, Tommy the Cat.

But I think Stephen Sondheim is the main man of wicked rapid-fire lyrics. Getting Married Today is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:14 AM on January 17, 2005


I may be wrong but I could've sworn that chiggity-chang-from-the Chinese-chicken was from an old Cheech & Chong joke.
posted by jonmc at 10:18 AM on January 17, 2005


REM's End of the World

You think that version's fast? Try Great Big Sea's version. (Track 7, listen to clip.) Twice as fast and celtic/bluegrass.
posted by The White Hat at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2005


The very, very end of "Beat Surrender" by the Jam is so fast that I've never been able to decipher the lyrics at all, nor do I know anyone else who has. (Anyone out there who has a clue as to what Weller is saying there and would like to pass on the secret code will have my deepest thanks, as a matter of fact.)
posted by scody at 10:26 AM on January 17, 2005


Definitely NSFW, but Squeeze Me Macaroni, by Mr. Bungle fits the bill.
posted by hootch at 11:27 AM on January 17, 2005


Louis Jordan has a couple of songs in this vein; Choo Choo Cha Boogie is my favorite (scroll down for the lyrics.) You can listen to a clip of it at the Itunes Music store.
posted by yankeefog at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2005


On the musical theatre tip -- though a touch less sophisticated than Sondheim -- is Steven Schwartz's All for the Best from Godspell.
posted by BT at 2:44 PM on January 17, 2005


There are a couple of tracks on Red Snapper's "Making Bones" album that fit the description. I dunno about the others.
posted by majick at 4:01 PM on January 17, 2005


Bob Segar's Get Out of Denver on Live Bullet spews out the words pretty fast.
posted by tommasz at 4:26 PM on January 17, 2005


A Night in Dildo (scroll down) by the Arrogant Worms isn't particularly fast, but it is filled with place names.
posted by duck at 7:24 PM on January 17, 2005


Oh, and looking over some of the lyrics at the link I provide above, they're wrong...Just filled with mondegreens...You'll have to get the song and learn the lyrics yourself.
posted by duck at 7:25 PM on January 17, 2005


Jason Mraz - Curbside Prophet [MP3 of a live version - RM of album also on the site - both versions different] - It's not as fast as GBS, but makes up for it in sustained rhythm of lyrics.
posted by jb at 7:27 PM on January 17, 2005


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