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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

relying on Toby Keith's sense of humor

I've liked Toby Keith's country music for years. I didn't, at first, register his name as I enjoyed his songs. It wasn't until "How Do You Like Me Now" that I made that connection. The song is a taunting missive to the once-popular girl back home, from a now-popular country singer. (It's "taunting" quite literally -- toward the end, there's an instrumental of the familiar playground "naaah-naaah-na-naaah-naaah" tune.) (Does anyone know whether that tune is whined at kids in other countries? In non-English-speaking ones?) Whether there's any resemblance between Mr. Keith and the song's narrator (if that's the word), I of course couldn't say.

Anyhow, I liked the song while finding the narrator's attitude somewhat annoying. He writes a "good girl's" phone number on the football field with "Call for a good time", and he's miffed that she doesn't fall for him?!?...

So I wrote a response from that girl, or by that point woman, set to the tune of the original. I'm not anywhere near as good at writing lyrics as Toby Keith, but I had fun. Though the girl/woman doesn't show much of a sense of humor. And she probably could have been nicer to the boy in high school....

I've continued to like Toby Keith's songs -- with varying attitudes to the personas adopted therein.

And here, for the brief bloglike version of posterity, all rights reserved, with apologies and thanks to Mr. Keith, is the response I wrote. I tried to post it side by side with the original, but couldn't make the formatting work -- so I'll put a verse of the original followed by a verse of the response.


I was always the crazy one
I broke into the stadium
and I wrote your number on the 50-yard line
You were always the perfect one
And the valedictorian
So under your number, I wrote "call for a good time"
I only wanted to get your attention
But you overlooked me somehow
Besides, you had too many boyfriends to mention
and I played my guitar too loud
How do you like me now?


The night we got the first lewd call,
I heard my ma cry down the hall--
she didn't think it was much of a joke.
I told her not to worry much,
it was just some jackass with a grudge --
I guess those words were the truest I've spoke.
Maybe you wanted to get my attention,
but boy, what it showed about you --
You had no clue what a girl could've cared for --
So what if your dream came true?
Why should I like you now?

Original chorus:

How do you like me now,
Now that I'm on my way?
Do you still think I'm crazy,
standing here today?
I couldn't make you love me, but I always dreamed about
Singing on your radio --
How do you like me now?

Reply chorus:

Why should I like you now,
just 'cause you think you're hot?
With everything you are, think of
everything you're not!
Making it to the big time
was never what it's about.
You may win a Grammy, but
why should I like you now?

Original, next verse:

When I took off to Tennessee,
I heard that you made fun of me --
Never imagined I'd make it this far
Then you married into money, girl --
Ain't it a cruel and funny world
He took your dreams and he tore them apart
He never comes home and you're always alone
and your kids hear you crying down the hall
Alarm clock starts ringing, who could that be singing
It's me, baby, with your wake-up call
How do you like me now?

Response, next verse:

I've made mistakes and I have paid,
but it's not just mistakes I've made --
I have my kids, and
I'm glad they're not yours!
If you want someone who's in awe
of every voice on the radio,
I'm sure you'll find some on
all of your tours!
I'm often alone and yes, I do get lonely --
but boy, it would never have worked.
It's not just that you played your guitar too loud, boy --
it's that you were always a jerk!
Why should I like you now?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My high school music teacher said that the playground taunt tune "naa naa naa na naa naa" is sung all over the world. It's a minor third.