Since the dawn of time, men have sought to win over the fairer sex through a variety of means: with dashing good looks, expensive gifts and, of course, through verbal persuasion. And if truth be told, history has shown that, very often, the prize has gone, not to the man with the gifts of gold but the man with the golden tongue! In Jamaica, where many of us men are deficient in the wealth and good looks departments, but are well endowed with “sweet mout”, the word “lyrics” has come to mean, not the words of a song, but the clever blandishments used by a man to win over his intended target.
Lyrics, not surprisingly, are beloved both by those being won over and those attempting to do the winning. The receiver loves Lyrics for for the lift it gives to the ego, and the giver loves Lyrics because the reward (the affections of a fair lady) far outweighs the effort (but not necessarily the creativity) expended.
But what constitutes good lyrics? Good lyrics get the job done. To get the job done, however, lyrics must first grab the attention of the recipient whether by their boldness or insight. I recall a diminutive but pleasingly shaped friend of mine who had to smile and put aside her drink when a gentleman sidled up beside her at a street dance and in an appreciative whisper confessed “Baby, mi love how yuh center of gravity low”.
Not only should good lyrics get the attention, they should make your intentions known clearly and persuasively. An attractive, successful, thirtysomething friend of mine tells the story of pulling up to a stoplight in Kingston where a persistent window wiper insisted on wiping her windshield for free. Having done so, he leaned casually on the wing mirror of her Benz, put his dirty hands in the pockets of his torn pants, looked her up and down approvingly and said: “Baby, yuh know yuh coulda get mi!”
Most importantly, good lyrics should lower the recipient’s guard and give the pursuer a chance to get to the "next level". A gentleman I know got to the next level when a female acquaintance asked if he liked her blouse and he had the presence of mind to reply: “No, I don’t like your blouse at all… I think it would look much better crushed up on the floor next to my bed!”