QOO no. 85   December 16, 2009
An open letter to
the lyrics of the song "Think"
from the first Blues Brothers movie
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Dear Lyrics of the Song "Think" from the First Blues Brothers Movie,

I've got to ask you something:

Do you convert to a different religion every morning so when you wake up you can get down on your knees and thank a different god every single day for making you the luckiest damn lyrics in the history of pop music?

Because incredible, irrational luck is the only explanation for your presence in an otherwise wonderful song.

Let's look at what "Think" has to offer: an intriguing intro, a compelling beat, decent melodic interest, a good arrangement and performance talent that cannot be topped in this universe, with Steve Cropper on guitar, Lou Marini on saxophone and, of course, the unsurpassable Aretha Franklin doing what she does best.

Then there's you. There you are, in the company of immortals, and you sound as though you were conceived by someone who was locked in a windowless, toiletless room with no food or water and not allowed to come out until you were written.

I'm sorry to tell you this, "Think" Lyrics, but your attempts at coherence make "Surfin' Bird" sound like the Gettysburg Address. For example, addressing yourselves to a potentially wayward spouse, you propose going back, "way back," and then "way back when," to a time when you "didn't even know" the object of your tirade, who at the time "couldn't have been too much more than ten."

Bravo. "When" -- "ten" -- a rhyme! But frankly I don't quite get the logic here. If you're trying to make a point to someone about your relationship, the utility of evoking a time period before you had even met that person demands an explanation. An explanation that, as we both well know, is not forthcoming.

To your credit, you seem to be aware, however dimly, of your own shortcomings. Somewhat later in the song you apparently acknowledge that you are leaving a number of implicit questions unanswered, pointing out that "there ain't nothing you could ask (that) I could answer you but I won't." This intriguing statement is followed by the declaration that you had once intended to "change ya (but) I'm not if you keep doing things I don't."

So here we have a couplet that asks the musical question: "Huh?" Could this be an example of one of the "games" you mention that people play while "walking around every day" in an endeavor "to make other people lose their minds"? If so, I would guess that you've done a pretty good job on Aretha Franklin fans, many of whom were probably just starting to recover their sanity after 13 years of futilely racking their brains trying to figure out what in the living hell "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" means to her.

Like you, I am not a psychiatrist, nor a doctor with a degree. But, indeed, it doesn't take too much IQ to see that you are imbecilic beyond comprehension.

Ultimately, though, I guess I can't hold it against you. Imbecility being rewarded is hardly anything new. Prohibition, leaded gasoline, New Age therapists, subprime mortgage lenders, Sarah Palin... You are not alone. At least, unlike Ms. Palin, you exhort people to "think."

Too bad you didn't take your own advice.

Sincerely yours,
David Jaggard

PS: Oh, and about your bridge:

Tedium (tedium), tedium (tedium), tedium (tedium), ooh tedium.
Tedium (tedium), tedium (tedium), tedium (tedium), yeah tedium.

PPS: Was that what you meant by "let your mind go"?


Copyright 2009 by David Jaggard. 
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About the translation / traduction of Air France Madame Magazine and Nancy Li