One of the great delights of listening to pop music is finding weird juxtapositions between music and lyrics. They can sneak up on you, the strangenesses of pop lyrics; they can strike you the first or hundredth time you listen to a song.
For example, I was struck recently by the lyrics to a song I’ve loved for years, ‘Sooner Or Later’, by the Grass Roots.
‘Sooner Or Later’ is as perky a pop song as has ever been recorded, but the lyrics are, upon close read, slightly threatening:
“Sooner or later, love is gonna get ya!
Sooner or later, girl, you got to give in!”
Despite the singer’s optimism, the object of the song seems to have been clear about her unavailability:
“You say you’ll never be mine,
But, darling, there’ll come a time
I’ll taste all that love that you’ve been hiding. [Author’s note: Ew.]
It’s just a question of time
Before you make up your mind,
And give all that love you’ve been denying.”
It is this woman’s stated intention “never” to come around. For heaven’s sake, she’s been hiding from him! But never mind that, sooner or later, love is gonna get her.
‘Sooner Or Later’ reminds me of another great song of upbeat menace: ‘Get Ready’, by the Temptations.
“If you wanna play hide and seek with love, (it’s alright),
But the lovin’ you’re gonna miss in the time it takes to find you, (it’s outta sight).
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true,
So get ready, get ready!
I’m gonna try to make you love me, too,
So get ready! Get ready, here I come!”
Get ready! Here he comes! This lady has also been hiding, apparently, but that will avail her naught! Her silly resistance is just so much time-wasting!
These guys have the same romantic strategy: true love will wear her down. Whatever her objections, they are no match for his determination! If she eventually comes around, it’ll make for a very romantic story. If she doesn’t, well, one wonders what’s in store for her that requires such readiness.
Some hint may be provided:
Look out, baby, ‘cause here I come!”
In case you missed it, that’s ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’, from Jack and the Beanstalk:
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he live, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”
Fee-fi-fo-fum, that’s what the giant says before he eats you.