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In Praise of Lady Mondegreen

“A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.” (Source: Wikipedia)

I’m really happy today because I discovered the word mondegreen, and realized that I’m not the only person to completely misconstrue the lyrics of a song. It keeps happening to me, not least because English is not my mother tongue (well, it’s my mother’s tongue, or at least one of hers, but not… well, whatever)…

…and in fact, it helps me tremendously. When I’m not able to make sense of all the words in a song I like, my brains fire up and try to reconstruct it, based on my perception of the music and what it inspires in me. Stories emerge — often employing quite original settings and problems.

It happened to me once again last week with The Herbaliser’s amazing Stranded on Earth. Toward the end, as Jessica Darling utters the word “…it’s just a season of my mind…”, I can’t help wondering: what are mind seasons?

Similarly with We Have Band’s Hear It In the Cans — the superposition of the band members’ voices makes it difficult to understand what they sing — and it is pure candy for my imagination.

No, I won’t tell you what I understand.

And no, please, don’t tell me what they really sing. I love their music, but I so much prefer my own interpretation. 😉

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