Awopbopaloomopalopbombom! Sometimes the best lyrics mean nothing at all

By | September 11, 2015

The Guardian

A great article about Little Richard – full text at the source – with a Hanson mention.

Hanson’s still marvellous and silly MMMBop.

That last example is also a prime case in which a piece of verbal nonsense becomes a record’s chorus and biggest hook (can you even remember the verses of MMMBop?). If the only purpose of a hook is to get a record into your head, why bother with spending time on actual words? The vocals are no more than a delivery mechanism for the melody – for the na-na-na of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head or the da-ba-dee-da-ba-daa of Eiffel 65’s Blue. Or, best of all, the Crystals’ wondrous Da Doo Ron Ron. That doesn’t make them brainless. If anything, these are some of the cleverest uses of vocal sounds – one hesitates to call them lyrics – in pop: once heard, never forgotten. And in the case of the Crystals and similar records from the 50s and 60s, the nonsense served the purpose of making the real meaning clear without spelling it out and getting the record pulled from the airwaves: “And when he walked me home … Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron.” I don’t think Dolores Brooks meant she was going to say, “Thanks very much, but I’ve got to be up early tomorrow. Maybe see you next week.”