I was driving toward The Heights the other day when an old Michael Jackson song came on. It wasn’t sung by the late, great but by some other group instead. They managed to do it justice and did not change it’s lyrics or melody as some re-makes are known to do. So of course I knew all the words.
But I’m not sure I scrutinized them as much as I did the other day.
“If you should ever find someone new, I know he better be good to you. ‘Cause if he doesn’t, I’ll be there . . .”
I thought, wait a minute, . . . ’cause if he doesn’t?” Doesn’t what? Doesn’t be? That just doesn’t sound right. Shouldn’t it be “’cause if he isn’t, I’ll be there?”
So I sang it aloud the proper, grammatical way and realized that it’s a tad harder to sing that way. From a musical standpoint, the abuse of grammar just sounds better. Try it . . . I’ll pretend not to listen in case you’re shy about your singing voice.
Done? See what I mean? It’s just a little kludgy using the right words.
Then I got to wondering how many other songs sacrifice grammar so the words sound better sung? And how come no-one ever said anything to five year old, Michael as he publicly showed his lack of command of the English language?
Oh, wait . . . it sort of worked out for him at the time, didn’t it.
Um . . .