You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar

POSTED ON Oct 03rd 2013 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Friendship, Music and Lyrics, PJLifestyle links

As readers of my old blog know, I have a thing about pop music lyrics. People have all sorts of opinions about music–what’s good, what’s cool, etc. My issue is lyrics. We should listen to them. If we did listen to them, then we would know, among other things, that Pumped Up Kicks isn’t about shoes (not even remotely), that I Want Your Sex only aspires to the poetic pornography that Crash attains, and that Christian gospel music is far more popular than commonly believed. Neither, In Your Eyes nor Take Me to the River are about a girl, and a rather large selection of music by bands like The Killers or U2 could work in hymnals.

Some lyricists are more interesting than others. Katy Perry’s lyrics seem to get to me. I’ve already covered Last Friday Night and Wide Awake. Her new song, Roar is everything we expect in a pop song. It’s a catchy ear worm that kids can dance to. (I know this because regardless of adult themes in the lyrics, such songs routinely turn up in playlists at children’s parties. But perhaps I will post about that another day.) Anyway, every time I hear Perry’s Roar I think of Elizabeth Wurtzel and Liz Jones.

Last January’s doldrums brought a long and well traveled confession from Elizabeth Wurtzel, and a lesser known, though better written, confession from The Daily Mail’s Liz Jones. Like Perry, Jones and Wurtzel once roared. They did the writing, partying, girl power circuit. Perry alluded to having Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger in her lyrics, but she would have done better to pay attention to Springsteen’s Glory Days. They don’t last. From Liz Jones’s January dispatch:

Goodness knows, January is a depressing month. Short damp days, the hangover from overspending at Christmas, newspapers and magazines full of pictures of the rich sunning themselves in sunny climes. For many, the next few weeks are all about nesting, but if, like me, you have no one to nest with, the new year can loom ominously. Having just endured two weeks of being alone – giftless, friendless, family-less – January is even more dispiriting. Picture me, on New Year’s Eve: in bed with three cats and Bridget Jones on TV. I fell asleep at 11pm and, when I awoke, eagerly activating my BlackBerry, there were zero text messages, not even one from Orange.

I still have an untouched box of posh Christmas crackers because I had no one to grasp the other end with. I received two Christmas cards – one from my agent and one from my editor. And I kept thinking about Nigella Lawson: I bet she isn’t alone at this time of year. Why am I not only divorced, but utterly friendless? Aren’t friends supposed to be there for you, always, like the women in Sex And The City?

Well, as many comments from January noted, friendship is a mutual thing. True, the best of them don’t keep score, but that is because they don’t have to. Friends give as well as receive, a fact that was clearly lost on the Liz’s.

I can’t help but think of such things, as Perry sings about dusting herself off and becoming her own hero. Focusing on themselves is how Wurtzel and Jones became textbook examples of loneliness. We will hear Perry roar for a while, I’m sure. How long? That’s less clear.


For fun, compare Billy Joel’s The Night is Still Young to Avril Lavigne’s Here’s to Never Growing Up. Same subject. Completely different takes.


  1. Mav said:

    Not too long ago, the lyrics for People Are People by Depeche Mode got stuck in my head. Thinking about putting them up on the ‘fridge. Eventually, the youngers will notice. I wonder what they will think? Hopefully, the main idea would be so self-evident that they would wonder why someone felt the need to write the song in the first place. Or, possibly, they would feel the message is timely, but would think the target audience is not the same as the original intended. Starting to see some results from just “casually” leaving things lying around. The latest…a poster entitled “thou shalt not commit logical fallacies” with Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle looking like they’re about to launch into a rant and accompanying explanations and examples. Cheers.

  2. Leslie Loftis said:

    What poster is this? I need the logical fallacy poster.

  3. edge of the sandbox said:

    I recently heard that Katy Perry’s Eye of the Tiger at a store, and couldn’t stop thinking that the original was infinitely more superior, mainly because it’s a vary masculine song.
    I know what you mean about the lyrics. Many of the songs we listen to are produced in such a way that lyrics are not immediately discernible. We were thinking about adding them to our kids’ playlists, but once we checked out the lyrics, decided against. “Buick MacKane” by T Rex was the latest casualty.
    “Buick Mackane will you be my girl?
    Queen of the rock will you help me roll.”
    So far so good, but then we got to
    “Rainy lady” and “sexual glider”. Mmm… don’t think so, even if 95% of listeners can’t figure out the lyrics.

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