It took some intense persuading by my friends to convince me that the song "We are spirits in a material world" by The Police did not actually say: "Oon ah svers, oon a mazerio..." (I think I sang 'Oon ah svers' for probably 7 years?) This morning I was listening to that great song by Macy Grey: "Try to walk away and I stumble, though I try to hide it, it's clear..." I was singing along, and I couldn't figure out what it said next, until finally it dawned on me: "...though I try to hide it, it's clear, I wore covers when you are not near!" It didn't make much sense at the time (and the tenses didn't match), but it made at least as much sense as "Oon ah svers..." So I stuck with that for a while.
I asked Gabby what it said, and she told me it said "My world crumbles when you are not near." Now THAT makes sense! Wow! what awesome lyrics! Macy Grey didn't give up during the chorus and throw in some obscure bed reference!
Gabby must find me both puzzling and embarassing. I imagine she greatly underestimated the number of lyrical corrections she would need to make for her husband. I shudder when I imagine what people would think of me if I didn't have her as a filter? Wisely, I try not to sing along with songs in front of others, unless I have first conferred on lyrics with Gabby. She is great at interpretive listening. I know I ought to just assume that songs make sense, that rarely does a song throw in a random phrase like "I wore covers..." or "oon ah svers" (unless it is introducing a new term for pop culture e.g. 'jiggy'). But I don't. I assume it's a mystery--covered, hidden, protected, eternally awaiting further revelation.
My analysis: I guess I assume first that every song is in a foreign language. When I start to hear English and a puzzling phrase comes up, I assume it is an inside joke the songwriter has with his or her long lost lover, or his or herself. There are some advantages to this approach. For example, I am blown away by lyrics that make sense the whole way through a song. Also, I can enjoy good music even in the midst of awful lyrics. I am in general a very generous judge of lyrics: "Well, it doesn't make much sense to me, but I don't assume it should. For all I know, it is the makings of a fantastic song."