Mondegreen

There’s a word for misheard song lyrics and it’s mondegreen. It comes from an old song that goes “They hae slain the Earl O’Moray/And laid him on the green.” One listener named Sylvia Wright heard the song and misinterpreted it as “They hae slain the Earl O’Moray/And Lady Mondegreen.” She was a writer, and she decided to coin the term mondegreen and everyone else went along with it. There are whole websites devoted to mondegreens, so you should Google it if you’re dying to know what other people hear when they listen to songs. There are common ones like Jimi Hendrix saying “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy” and everything that Kurt Cobain mumbles in “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” In fact, Weird Al took that concept and ran with it. Some people might argue that Weird Al’s whole career is based on mondegreening popular songs (and they’d be right). Music is interpretive; it only makes sense that we change the words to suit what we want to hear.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Youn

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