#359: Yeah


I love it when
the word “yeah”
shows up in a song lyric,
not in the conventional
way, as in “she loves you,
yeah, yeah, yeah,”
but in an informal,
conversational way,
when the word feels
almost like filler, but
you know that it’s not.
Wayne Coyne uses
the word “well”
as the very first word
in the lyrics for the
very first song on
Clouds Taste Metallic,
“The Abandoned Hospital Ship,”
and “yeah” as the first
word in the second stanza
of the first verse, followed
by the sentence, “it took some help
With lots of machines, the experts could tell
With their equipment pushed to the max.”
And two or three records later,
he does it again in “Yoshimi Battles
the Pink Robots”: “She knows that it’d be tragic,
if those evil robots win–yeah.”
It’s a throwaway word, and Coyne
underplays it about as much as you
could underplay a throwaway word,
and yet,
there’s a weightiness despite
its casual demeanor. Yeah,
the equipment was pushed
to the max, there’s no doubt
about it, and yeah, it’d be
tragic if the robots won.
Yeah. While “she loves you,
yeah, yeah, yeah,” seems redundant,
and at the very same time
not sufficiently emphatic.
I like a good, underplayed yeah
in a rock lyric. It just feels,
more than a hundred yeses,
affirmative, assured, so much so
that it almost goes without saying.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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