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In general, musicians tend to keep their subject matter limited to just a few different topics. And that's fine, we love songs about chicks and drugs as much as anyone else. But sometimes, a musician will latch onto one pet subject and hang on for dear life no matter how bad it makes them look. For example...


Lyrical Fixation:

Eminem hates his wife and his mother.

Example Lyric:

"I love my daughter more than life n' itself
But I got a wife that's determined to make my life livin' hell
But I handle it well, given the circumstances I'm dealt"

Take my wife, please.

How It All Started:

Eminem has had mommy issues, be it with his mommy or his kid's mommy, since his major label debut, The Slim Shady LP. That album's first single, "My Name Is," was chock full of lyrics about his mom's unfortunate drug habit, but the real kicker was "97 Bonnie and Clyde" (we're not completely sure if that title refers to the year it was recorded or the number of times that goddamned title has been used in rap songs). It was some pretty harrowing shit; Eminem drives to the beach to dispose of the freshly murdered corpse of his ex-wife, Kim. And her new boyfriend. And her boyfriend's kid. All while Kim's daughter, who also happened to be his daughter, was in the car with him.

Kind of hard to top that. But boy, has he tried. And tried, and tried...

Why It Needs to Stop:

It's one thing to call your mom out for being a junkie and threatening your ex-wife on your first album. Antics like those can generally be chalked up to a publicity stunt. But when you follow that up by littering your next three albums with songs about raping your mom ("Kill You") and killing your wife some more ("Kim"), then you're turning into the rap version of Marilyn Manson: a cartoonish figure trying to convert shock value into free advertising.

Like a hip-hop Boo Berry.

When the shock wore off, we kind of just started wishing he'd develop a crippling substance abuse problem like regular folks, rather than rhyming his way through his emotional issues on MTV. Thankfully, that's exactly what he did and the world was blissfully "mommy was mean to me" song-free. For a few years.

Then in 2009, Eminem reemerged with the aptly titled album Relapse. With that album, not only did the world get to hear the innermost turmoil of a man wealthy enough to delve into a four-year drug binge while suffering little to no financial ramifications before being welcomed back to work with open arms, but we also got a whole new round of mommy rhymes.

What rhymes with "ALF shirt"?

On the album's second track (third if you count the intro, which only retards do) Em was back to his old tricks with a song called, what else, "My Mom." She did valium, you know. And lots of drugs. That's why he is how he is. Because of his mom. Fascinating stuff, Mathers. We didn't catch that the first dozen times.

Bon Jovi

Lyrical Fixation:

Being a cowboy.

Example Lyric:

"I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted, dead or alive"

How It All Started:

Jon Bon Jovi has been singing about being a cowboy since his days of big hair and songs about Tommy and Gina. Your mom's favorite album, 1986's Slippery When Wet, featured the massive hit "Wanted Dead or Alive," a song that used cowboys as a metaphor for traveling musicians that people wanted to murder. Or something like that.

Maybe it was about robotic, fire-breathing horses.

Then, after Emilio Estevez suggested that "Wanted Dead of Alive" would make a great theme song for Young Guns II, Jon Bon Jovi decided that an entire album of New Jersey cowboy shtick was in order and he recorded Blaze of Glory, his first solo album.

Surely, this would be the last time a band of hair spray abusing New Jersey rockers would drink from that well, right?

Why It Needs to Stop:

Wrong. The band would revisit the cowboy theme several times throughout their career, most notably on the totally-not-innuendo "Ride, Cowboy, Ride" from the New Jersey album. But with 2007's Lost Highway, Bon Jovi stopped singing about cowboys and just decided they were cowboys. JBJ (that's what we call him) described the album as "a Bon Jovi album inspired by Nashville." This is basically a less pathetic way of saying, "Hey, remember that cowboy album we made? Wouldn't you guys love it if we did that again?"

Alternate title: 2 Cowboy 2 Furious

We suppose it makes good business sense. Bon Jovi scored a huge comeback hit in the early part of the decade with "It's My Life," which was basically a cover version of "Livin' On a Prayer," complete with that obnoxious voice box contraption and more lyrics about Tommy and Gina. But you can't rely on those same old tricks forever. Sometimes, a band has to resort to their other set of same old tricks. Nobody knows that better than Bon Jovi.

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Lyrical Fixation:

Getting picked on in high school

Example Lyric:

"Scream at me again, if you like
Throw your hate at me, with all your might
Hit me 'cause I'm strange, hit me
Tell me I'm a pussy and you're harder than me"

How It All Started:

Those lyrics, with their trademark Korn subtlety, are from one of their earliest singles, "Clown." While the song itself isn't technically about being bullied in high school, the video featured lead singer Jonathan Davis curled up in the fetal position in a high school locker room, so that's pretty metal.


"Faget," another expertly spelled song from their debut album, did directly speak on the subject of Jonathan Davis being bullied in high school. According to Davis himself, "Everyone thinks I'm bashing gay people in this song, and I'm not. It's really about me going through high school being called 'pussy,' 'queer,' and all that stuff, about getting picked on by all these jocks."

Future rock star.

Basically, Korn's entire first album was about how their lead singer is a total pussy. Somewhere, James Hetfield is rolling in his grave. That guy's dead, right?

Why It Needs to Stop:

Really, there's nothing wrong with writing a song about how high school sucked five years after leaving high school. You gotta let that shit out sometime. Some people go to therapists, others write albums and help kick start horrific music trends. To each his own, you know? But when Davis said in "Faget" that he's "got something to say," nobody expected him to go on and say that exact same thing on every album for the next 10 years.

As late as 2002's Untouchables, arguably the last Korn album anyone gave a shit about, Davis was still whining about his glory days as a high school bullying victim. On the album's first single, "Thoughtless," Davis was still spouting "woe is me" lyrics like these:

"Why are you trying to make fun of me?
You think it's funny
What the fuck you think it's doing to me?
You take your turn lashing out at me
I want you crying, when you're dirty in the front of me"

Somewhere, a 15-year-old LiveJournal user is probably contemplating a plagiarism lawsuit right now. Naturally, the general public's interest in Korn waned after five consecutive albums of teenage angst as expressed by 30-year-old dudes. But the band is still at it and is reportedly working on a new album. School shooters of the world, rejoice!

Jimmy Buffett

Lyrical Fixation:

How awesome it is to be Jimmy Buffett

Example Lyric:

"Waistin' away again in Margaritaville
Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt"

How It All Started:

With 1977's "Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffett had a huge hit on his hands. So huge, in fact, that at some point he went from singing about how awesome it is to live on an island to actually living on an island. Not that he stopped singing about it, though. It was just that now he was able to sing about it all while thinking, "Wow, I really do live on an island, fuck yeah."

"Fuck yeah." - Jimmy Buffett

Why It Needs to Stop:

Plenty of musicians write songs about how awesome they are (we're looking at you, every performer in the history of rap music). But the bothersome thing about Jimmy Buffett's boasting is that he isn't boasting at all. He states it all in a plain, matter-of-fact way, as if to say, "yeah, I guess I'm pretty damn awesome." Regardless of the subject matter, Jimmy Buffett will take some time out to remind you that, unlike you, he lives on a goddamn tropical island. Take for example, this excerpt from the song "Jamaica Mistaica":

"Well the word got out
All over the island
Friends, strangers, they were all apologizin'
Some thought me crazy for bein' way too nice
But it's just another shitty day in paradise"

He's singing about his airplane being mistakenly shot at by the Jamaican government! Is this really the time to drop the "paradise" reference?

"Hold your fire! It's just Jimmy Buffett."

While we admire the restraint it must have taken to not mention that Bono was on the plane with him at the time, this basically makes Buffett the equivalent of that obnoxious rich relative who shows up at your family gathering at the trailer park and regales you with tales of his jet-setting life style and the burdens of SUV ownership while you contemplate the ramifications of calling in to your job at Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving.

This guy can't even sing about food with reminding you how unspeakably awesome it is to be Jimmy Buffett.

"Not just havanas or bananas or daiquiris
But that American creation on which I feed
Cheeseburger in paradise
Medium rare with mustard be nice
Heaven on earth with an onion slice
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise"

Nice. Now we hate cheeseburgers. Thanks a fucking lot, Buffett.

Bacon cheeseburgers are still OK, however.

Look, we'd love to tell you all about how Jimmy Buffett has continued this cycle of braggadocio on his most recent album, 2006's Take the Weather With You, but honestly, these are tough economic times. The last thing we want to do is spend an hour listening to Jack Johnson's grandfather piss and moan about tourists sunbathing too close to his satellite television adorned tiki hut. Just understand, it's definitely still happening.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Lyrical Fixation:

Southern California

Example Lyric:

"L.A. is the place, sets my mind ablaze
For me, its a race through a cotton pickin maze"

How It All Started:

Those sample lyrics are from the Red Hot Chili Peppers very first single, "Out In L.A." From that point on, references to California ("Under the Bridge," "Californication," etc.) have occupied almost as much space on RHCP albums as the shitty "rapping" does.

Why It Needs to Stop:

Sure, we all love the place we live in to some degree, or else we'd move. But there isn't all that much you can say about any place before things start to get a little redundant. If Springsteen didn't mix in a little sex music with all of those anthems about impoverished towns, at some point the frustration would overtake you and you'd find yourself at your local homeless shelter with a megaphone imploring people to get a fucking job already.

"Just give me a reason."

But Anthony Kiedis has an uncanny ability to reference Los Angeles no matter what the song is about.

A song about chicks? Best believe those chicks are from L.A. A song about depression? L.A. is super depressing, bro! A tune about drug addiction? Blame it on the City of Angels. A song about absolutely nothing? It's a safe bet that at some point, "wang dang dong bell flay" will be rhymed with "L.A."

It's enough to make a person pray for an earthquake, if not for the inevitable RHCP benefit album to earthquake victims that would surely follow (with a title like "Los Angeles Rocks." )

Too bad Randy Newman already has dibs on "I Love L.A."

Unfortunately, the band's fascination with ham fistedly mentioning California whenever possible shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The first single off of their most recent album was called "Dani California."

Hell, at least take a hint from Sufjan Stevens and branch out to another freaking state.

Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.

And don't forget to check out the Nostradamus' of the music industry, in 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song. Or find out about some performers' regrettable pasts, in Six Musicians With Pasts They Hope You'll Forget.

And stop by our Top Picks to see Swaim shooting Windex-heroin... again.

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