Friend of TNS, Moz, who you may have come across as the front man of The Dangerous Aces or on one of the numerous podcasts that he has recorded for TNSradio, has asked us to publish this open letter to the NME. Here is what he has to stay to the magazine.
I write in relation to a recent article on your excellent mediocre website titled 25 Song Lyrics That Get Their Facts Abysmally Wrong published 3rd March 2014. In particular I write with reference to numbers 2, 4, 8, 11, 14, and 16 on your list.
At number 2 you list Pink Floyd’s We Don’t Need No Education!, stating “that’s a double negative, kiiiiiinda undoing their entire point”. I would suggest that as it’s a double negative what they state they don’t need is “No Education”, thus making it a factually correct statement (as by definition they are stating they do need some education – as we all do at all times). I think perhaps you have missed “their entire point” (ie the teacher gives you ‘no education’ which is not what is needed).
At number 4 you have something called a Beyoncé singing 1+1, the lyric is “I don’t know much about algebra but I know 1 + 1 equals 2”, to which you correctly point out that 1+1=2 is not algebra, it’s basic addition. Whilst your point is correct, that does not make her lyric factually incorrect, it merely makes it something of a non sequitur, and since she claims she doesn’t know ‘much’ about algebra she can hardly then be pulled up for not talking algebra in the next line.
At number 8 we have George Gershwin, with They All Laughed, and in particular the line “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round”. You point out that “The explorer was never documented as saying he believed the world was round.” Columbus may not have said “I believe the world is round” however, he did propose to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain that he could set up a trade route by sailing west around the world to Asia, which very much implies he believed the world was round. You are correct that people didn’t laugh at him for that, as he lived in the 15th century AD, and the world being round was proposed by Anaximander in the 7th century BC, and Aristotle confirmed this through observing the Earth’s shadow on the moon in the 4th century BC. By the 14th Century AD in Europe even simple soldiers and craftsmen were fully aware that the world was round. They laughed at Columbus because they though a journey to Asia west was impossible as you would run out of fresh water before you reached Asia. In fact had America not been there, he would’ve run out of fresh water and died.
At number 11 you list Paula Abdul’s Promise of a New Day, and the line “Eagle’s calling and it’s calling your name/ Tides are turning, bringing winds of change”. You point out that “wind that causes the waves when it blows upon the surface of the water”, true enough, but you miss a more blaringly obvious error here in that eagles can’t talk!
At number 14 it’s Run DMC with the line “There’s three of us but we’re not The Beatles” in their song King of Rock. Again, there is not a factually incorrect statement in this non sequitur (see Beyoncé above). There are 3 of Run DMC and they are not the Beatles, no mistruths in there. Also, the song was released in 1985, 5 years after John Lennon’s death and 16 years before George Harrison’s death, thus at that point there were 3 living Beatles.
On to number 16 and it’s Rihanna with What’s My Name, the lyric in question here is “The square root of 69 is 8 something, right?”, you point out that she would fail an exam with that answer, however, I again draw your attention to the title of your article specifically being about ‘Abysmally Wrong Facts’. Rihanna’s lyric is imprecise, it is not incorrect.
So in all 24% of your article was in some way incorrect, I think of the songs you listed only Alanis Morrissette’s Ironic is less accurate than your article.
You can read the original article on the NME site HERE.
Feel free to be pedantic about this article, or anything else, in the comments.