Improving Popular Music through Correct Grammar

(The misguided ramblings of a Grammar Guardian trapped in a culture that couldn’t care less)

Being a recovering (but not very quickly) grammar nazi in today’s society definitely has its challenges – social media chief among them.

But as difficult as it is sometimes to read the posts of those who couldn’t care less about the preservation of the English language, there is an even greater stumbling block to grammatical sanity. It has existed as long as American culture, and grown up right alongside it.

It is popular music. In no other cultural setting is American English subjected to such torture and abuse.

But, what to do…?

Finally, it came to me. Songs written by writers in rock, rap, pop, and other genres need to be subjected to the same strenuous editing to which writers of scholarly dissertations are subjected.

Just think of the difference it would make if writers of rock classics had been required to submit their compositions to an editor, who would correct their grammar.

Yeah. NOW we’re getting somewhere…

(Dreamy harp music…)

Consider this hit by the Rolling Stones:

I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
Though I have repeatedly made earnest attempts,
I simply can’t achieve it.
I simply can’t achieve it.

When I’m driving my car, and I hear the radio announcer
spouting useless drivel that is supposed to motivate me to imagine the marvelous benefits of using the product advertised,
I still find myself unable to achieve it.
If I have your attention, you’ll recognize the repetition of my previous mention.

I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
Though I have repeatedly made earnest attempts,
I simply can’t achieve it.
I simply can’t achieve it.

When I am watching my television
and a commercial comes on in which a gentleman is trying to convince me
how much cleaner my laundry could be,
and somehow I feel certain that his masculinity is obviously lacking
due to his misguided brand loyalty regarding tobacco products,
I still find myself deficient in regard to satisfaction.
If I have your attention, you’ll recognize the additional repetition of my previous mention.

I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
I cannot seem to achieve any degree of response from any desirable female.
Though I have repeatedly made earnest attempts,
I simply can’t achieve it.
I simply can’t achieve it.

When I’m on a world tour with my group, and engaged in multiple activities including signing autographs,
and I’m trying to awaken a positive response in a particular young woman,
it doesn’t help that all I’m told is, “Your attempt at hitting on me is very important to me. Please try again later when I’m on more of an emotional upswing.”
I simply can’t achieve it – most assuredly not!

Once again, another repetition of my previous mention becomes the focus of your attention.
I simply can’t achieve it.
I simply can’t achieve it.
I cannot seem to achieve any degree of satisfaction at any level.
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction. Alas…

I think you’ll agree the degree of improvement is staggering – and all by applying the correct use of grammar and making wiser word choices. Proper grammar effectively makes the song spring to life!

Consider the additional millions of copies of this hit that could have been sold to disgruntled editors who refused to lower their standards to the level of the “riff-raff” the first time around.

We can only hope that the billions of students currently being trained in the academic arts will carry the torch of proper grammar forward into every avenue of life. For then, and only then, will the arts and the culture be restored – and our language preserved for future generations.

And we who are the Grammar Guardians of the culture will certainly achieve some level of satisfaction.

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