Every now and then, the grocery store pipes in easy listening music, and tossed into the mix is Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait,” which not so long ago sounded fresh and new and which was bumping from every ghetto blaster on every corner in every urban center, for all I know. Then the song degraded as a result of its association with Dawson’s Creek. And today it serves as the soundtrack to me buying crackers.
But hearing it today in the grocery store — and then again and again in my head, because that shitty ditty is catchy — I didn’t travel to a land of Lilith Fairs and Paula Cole’s brazenly unshaven armpits, and I didn’t go to Capeside, where Katie Holmes’s biggest worries were of artistic fulfillment and finding her true love. (See, because she’s totally achieved those two goals.) No, I focused on the absolute worst thing about this song: the fact that its opening lyrics are “So open up your morning light / And say a little prayer for I.” Yep. That’s what someone wrote, examined and decided “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.” Non-native English speakers would be able to tell you that prayer for I is really bad grammar, the kind that shouldn’t be attempted just to make a rhyme or satisfy meter. You might guess that the next two lines were AWESOME and therefore justified the prayer for I line, but they’re not. Proof: “You know that if we are to stay alive / And see the peace in every eye.” It rhymes I with eye. And the second pair of lines still is not grammatically sound, since they fall short of forming a complete if-then statement. Instead, it’s something like “If we do this thing, [unrelated command].” But even worse, they still don’t mean anything. The peace in every eye? Who thought this was okay? Who felt the sentiment of the song was so powerful that the lyrics could read like Russian turned to English via Babelfish?
I was so annoyed by the apparent stroke Paula Cole had when she wrote these lyrics that I actually called up the song on YouTube, just to hear for myself that these are, in fact, the words that she sings. (Because who hasn’t spotted mistakes on those song lyric websites? They're horrible. They're like the internet equivalent of a Lord of the Flies island where people think rocks are God and drink pondwater out of the skulls of their fallen companions because they simply don’t know better and can’t do better.) Yep. Those are in fact the lyrics. Paula Cole wrote them. Paula Cole sang them. And then Paula Cole won a Grammy for Best New Artist.
To conclude, two statement in Paula Cole’s defense: She, like the aforementioned castaway children, simply doesn’t know better and simply can’t do better. And she’s not the dumbest one out there, because below the video I saw this user comment:
Check that date: Two weeks ago. So someone is worse off than Paula Cole, because he or she is an ardent enough Dawson’s Creek fan to post this but isn’t bright enough to realize that a revived version of the show would be James Van Der Beek weeping uncontrollably in an empty apartment. Oh, and I guess Meredith Monroe could be there too.
Previously overanalyzed lyrics: