I heard a song on the radio yesterday that had the following chorus:
I don't want to do your dirty work
I ain't gonna do your dirty work no more
I don't want to do your dirty work, oh yeah
Is that it? Unless there is some very fancy vocal work going on, you would think they could at least make it rhyme. I don't want to put them to too much trouble, but, sheesh. Yes, I am like the rabble watching Shakespeare's plays, for whom he put in rhymes at the end of each scene to hold their interest. I like rhymes. I don't think rhyming is everything, hence I don't care for rap (or hip-hop, or whatever it's called now) -- I do expect some melody. But I enjoy a song a lot more if rhymes. Two fairly recent songs that I like a lot, "Homewrecker" by Gretchen Wilson and "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood, are good examples. They both have great melodies, but how much more satisfying is it when the lines end in complex rhymes:
Right now, he's probably slow dancing with a bleach blonde tramp and she's probably getting frisky
Right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink because she can't shoot the whiskey
The rhyme wraps up the sarcasm and presents it in a beautiful package. Without the rhyme, it's just some woman complaining about her unfaithful boyfriend. With it, its a biting comment. The chorus to "Homewrecker" gives us a bouquet of rhymes:
You little homewrecker
I know what you're doin'
You think your going to ruin
What I've got
But you're not
You're just a go-getter
I'll teach you a lesson
If you get to messin'
With my man
You don't stand a chance
You little homewrecker
The longer rhyming lines set us up for the short, emphatic ones that show the fight in the singer. Anyone can whine, but it takes an artist to complain in rhyme.
I'm very impatient about my music. Another thing I don't understand about songs is the tendency to repeat the refrain (usually just a few measures) endlessly at the end. Do they think it is so good that we will benefit from hearing it 20 times in a row? Don't they realize that the radio is going to play their song on endless rotation for a month anyway? I prefer meatier songs, with more than two verses (two or three seems to be the standard these days), and not a lot of repetition. The songs I remember loving when I was growing up, like Kenny Rogers's "The Gambler" or "Coward of the County," repeated the refrain only a few extra times at the end, at most. Ironically, I heard a song in the mall today from roughly the same period that demonstrates the exact opposite: "Shake your booty," which hardly seems to have any lyrics besides the chorus. Ditto for "Funkytown" and "Electric Avenue." Even if the chorus is really catchy, I get tired of it after three times in a row. Heck, I get tired of hearing symphonies, which repeat the theme exactly once at the start of each movement. I don't write the same chapter twice in a row, why should musicians repeat the same material over and over?