Nitpicking the Hits: Black Eyed Peas “Just Can’t Get Enough” of lazy rhymes and mixed metaphors

In this feature, I examine the lyrics to a current Top 10 hit in excruciating detail for no reason other than to mock it—and maybe to encourage better pop songwriting.

The AV Club's Nathan Rabin has hilariously taken to calling these guys "Hologram Man, Meth Lady, The Other Guy and The Other Other Guy." (via blackeyedpeas.com)

The hit: “Just Can’t Get Enough,” the latest infuriatingly popular combo of robo-beats and second grade-level vocabulary from inexplicably unstoppable hit factory and alleged hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas.

Chart position: The second single from the Peas’ 2010 album The Beginning, which I totally forgot existed until just now, has peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, for the moment unable to overtake Katy Perry singing about alien sex or Rihanna singing about not-at-all-ironic masochistic sex.

The general idea: Perhaps you have experienced the euphoria brought on by a new romantic interest. The Black Eyed Peas have cleverly likened this experience to the intoxicating and addictive qualities of a drug, a metaphorical comparison that as far as I can tell has never before been made by anyone with the exception of Ke$ha, Leighton Meester, Seal, Robert Palmer, Roxy Music, ? and the Mysterians, The Beatles, the writers of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Sex in the City,” Fran Lebowitz, E.M. Forster, Shakespeare, Greek mythologists and just about everyone else in human history.

LET’S NITPICK THIS SUCKER

Boy I think about it every night and day
I’m addicted, want to jump inside your love

I’m not sure why “jump inside your love” bothers me. Maybe it’s because Fergie, while over-enunciating elsewhere in the song, totally leaves off the P so it sounds like she wants to “jum” inside my love, and I have no intention of letting Fergie jum inside anything of mine. Or maybe it’s because the song is already mixing metaphors two lines in. Is this boy’s love an addictive substance or an immersive substance? Unless Fergie has a swimming pool full of crystal meth, it can’t be both. Actually, never mind. That sounds completely plausible.

Honey got her sexy on steamin’
She givin’ hotness a new meanin’

I think will.i.am is trying to say that this honey is so hot that she is steaming. Why not just say exactly that? It fits within the meter of the song. Instead I’m left puzzling over the construction “on steamin’.” I’m going to other lyrics sites, which claim the words are “Honey got a sexy one steaming.” And then, since I’m already associating the Black Eyed Peas with all things fecal due to the YouTube channel BadLipReading turning “Boom Boom Pow” into “Everybody Poops,” I’m thinking about Cleveland steamers. Ugh. … UGH UGH UGH! Thanks a lot, will.i.am.

Perfection, mama, you gleamin’
Inception, you got a brother dreamin’, dreamin’

Who else is tired of this trend of casual references to “Inception”? At least when Pitbull did it in the song that launched this blog feature, he was trying to make the point that his rapping messes with your head. The summer blockbuster’s mention here seems to have no other purpose than to make the listener say: “Hey, I saw that movie, too! It was about dreams!”

Damn, baby, I’m feignin’
I’m tryna holler at you, I’m screamin’

Most lyrics sites seem to agree that the fourth word in this couplet is “feignin’.” There are two problems with this. First of all, whatever will.i.am is saying, it rhymes with “screamin'” in the next line, but the pronunciation of “feign” rhymes with “vain.” Second of all, it doesn’t make any damn sense. To feign is to give a false appearance or deceptively pretend. He’s not feigning anything. He truly is trying to holler at this girl. More likely, the word is “fiendin’,” a slang term for craving something like a fiend. But why doesn’t he pronounce the D in the word? Why, will.i.am, why?

Oh, baby, I can’t come down, so please come help me out
You got me feelin’ high and I can’t step off the cloud

“Step off the cloud”? I’m correct in thinking that there’s no way a drug user would ever describe coming down off a high as “stepping off the cloud,” right? Plus, he’s pleading with the person who makes him feel this way to help him stop feeling this way. It’s like he overdosed on the hair of the dog and woke up in mixed metaphor heaven.

Honey got me runnin’ like I’m Flo Jo

Whoever transcribed the lyrics for A-Z Lyrics Universe got the reference to Olympic track and field athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner, but the rest of the Internet is baffled by this line. Some folks claim Tattoo is running like “flow joe,” while others claim it’s like “flow you,” whatever that might mean.

My heart’s pumpin out louder than electro
She got me feelin’ like Mr. Roboto

I know exactly how you feel, buddy. (via girls.gunaxin.com)

And what exactly does it mean to feel like Mr. Roboto? Sure, his heart is human, but his brain is IBM. I understand that it’s probably hard for a tough rapper like Taboo to talk about his feelings except in terms of 28-year-old rock operas, so allow me to elaborate on his behalf: He’s trying to say he has a secret, namely an outlaw rock ‘n’ roll star has hollowed him out and is hiding inside him to escape from a futuristic prison. I think anyone who’s ever been in love can relate.

THIS IS MEGA SWITCH UP

Ooh, I was wondering whether this song was going to have a switch up, but I never dreamed it would be a MEGA switch up. I’m glad they gave me fair warning so that my fragile little mind wasn’t blown by sudden double-time and dopy, honking synth line.

Afflicted
I need it
I’m missing
SWITCH UP!

Did I mention SWITCH UP? I did? I just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the fact that you were listening to the SWITCH UP!

SWITCH UP!

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3 Replies to “Nitpicking the Hits: Black Eyed Peas “Just Can’t Get Enough” of lazy rhymes and mixed metaphors”

  1. The “jum” thing really grinds on my nerves, too. She really makes sure the listener knows she is leaving that P off, too…ugh.

  2. “I’m not sure why “jump inside your love” bothers me. Maybe it’s because Fergie, while over-enunciating elsewhere in the song, totally leaves off the P so it sounds like she wants to “jum” inside my love”
    Damn right!
    Btw, when I was listening the song for the first time – “jum inside” sounded to me a lot like “german side”. Was even puzzled a bit, if Fergie really wanted “german side of love”, which usually imply Rule 34 :)

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