20 August 2010

Train: Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)

Welcome once again to Lyrics, Weakly, now once again running weekly, and in glorious Technicolor to thrill you like never before!

So this week our song is Train’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)”, a top-ten song from 2001 and 2002. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia (now with more truthiness!), this song spent more time in the top 100 before hitting the top ten than any other song in history—nearly an entire year.

And yes, i believe it, ’cause i remember hearing it over and over and over (and over again) on the radio back then during its whole long climb and slow—ever so agonizingly slow!—fall back down the charts. I’d actually managed to pretty much forget it before i heard it playing on a local classic rock(!) station this past week, and the the memories came flooding back. And since most of those memories revolved around it being a pretty stupid song, i figured it belonged here. So, onward!

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey

See, we’ve got our first problem already.

To begin with, Jupiter’s one of the gas giants. As a result, any drops of Jupiter in her hair would be composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, and so even before her arrival in the Earth’s atmosphere those gases would dissipate, leaving her without any remaining drops of Jupiter in her hair. Basically, the gentlemen of Train are starting us off with an astronomical impossibility. This does not bode well.

She acts like summer and walks like rain

Well, i lived in Florida for several years, and so i can say that an association between summer and rain isn’t really terribly unexpected. But i suppose that there’s a place for glaring obviousness in music, so i’ll let this slide.

Reminds me that there’s a time to change, hey

This line was presumably taken to heart by one of Train’s founding members, Rob Hotchkiss, who left the band for a solo career shortly after the release of this song.

Since the return from her stay on the moon

Wait a minute, good sirs—just three lines earlier you were telling me that she had Jupiter in her hair, and now you’re saying she stayed on the moon for a while? I’m thinking y’all are either making this stuff up, or else you have friends with really enormous travel budgets.

On the whole, though, i’m doubting your veracity.

She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey

I suspect that this line was supposed to sound deep or something, but since spring in the United States is generally considered to shift into summer on 21 June, this is simply more obviousness.

But tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way

Um, yes, she did. The Earth, after all, is part of the Milky Way galaxy.

To see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar

They didn’t just do that, did they? Yes, they did—they just rhymed star with scar, a perfectly good rhyme except that to get there they had to say something that makes no sense at all.

Also, by definition, shooting stars occur within the Earth’s atmosphere. I’m beginning to think that the woman that the members of Train are singing about never even got into orbit, let alone reached Jupiter.

(Also, does it weird anyone else out that NASA’s website for kids is called “StarChild”? ’Cause i’ve seen 2001, and the Star Child is nothing but creepy.)

And then you missed me
While you were looking for yourself out there?

That’s quite understandable—anytime you’re packing for a long trip, you always forget one important thing. She apparently forgot to pack her mirror. No problem, there’s mirrors she can use all over the place.

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey
She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo

Here is an example of tae bo. Here is an example of Mozart. I would almost be willing to pay money to someone who’d be willing to find a way to remix them together properly.

Reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey
Now that she's back in the atmosphere
I’m afraid that she might think of me as
Plain ol’ Jane

Actually, i wouldn’t worry about her thinking your name is Jane—the voice of the lead singer is pretty clearly masculine.

If you were Justin Bieber, though, i could see this being a potential issue.

told a story about a man
Who was too afraid to fly so he never did land

Really, the only explanation for this line is that it was trying to sound deep, but it actually ended up being simple nonsense.

But tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet?

I’ve been through multiple hurricanes. The wind doesn’t so much sweep you off your feet as blow very heavy things at you—and then they knock you off your feet, and possibly kill you.

Well, unless you’re wearing very low-friction shoes. Then, i suppose, the wind could send you sliding, which could be a decent stand-in for being swept off your feet.

Did you finally get the chance
To dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way?

More misunderstanding of the relationship between the Earth and its galaxy.

I’m beginning to suspect that the good men of Train didn’t pay very much attention in their science classes.

And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find?

Well, if she was looking for a daytime temperature hot enough to melt lead and an atmosphere made up primarily of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid then yes, she most likely did find what she was looking for.

And then you missed me
While you were looking for yourself out there
Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken

No deep-fried chicken? But the Colonel’s everywhere, i thought!

Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong?
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance

Don’t have any freeze-dried romance in stock, sorry. Would freeze-dried ice cream do?

Five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had, and me?

I’m thinking that this is part of the lamest possible twenty-first century update to the old “Coffee, tea, or me?” line: “Soy latte, masala chai, or me?”

And then we get a couple more repeats of the choruses. This is running long enough as it is, so i’ll skip them, leading to where things change up a little.

And did you fall for a shooting star?
Fall for a shooting star?
And now you’re lonely looking for yourself out there

Once again, if only she’d brought a mirror. Ah, well, the best-laid plans and all that, eh?

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