Monday, June 01, 2009

don't bother door

one of the advantages of the internet over pre-internet information gathering and dissemination is speed. it's often tedious and expensive to collect, publish, maintain and update any sizable body of knowledge. by allowing everyone to participate in the fun and allowing the always vaster number of information consumers to join or even supplant the always limited number of producers, not only does the internet allow daunting databases to be built much faster than before, it allows databases of esoteric knowledge that might never exist for lack of a profit model to be built by dedicated followers.

but one of the obvious disadvantages of this new production model is the swamping of the expertise and professionalism of small self-selected credentialed organizations by the amateurism and even mischief and malfeasance that large anonymous pools of contributors can be susceptible to. if information spreads faster on the internet, so does misinformation and disinformation and if it's always been true that a lie travels around the world in the time it takes the truth to put on its shoes, then the truth is just barely catching up.

these are neither novel nor profound observations but nowhere are they better illustrated than in online lyric databases. the amount of data involved has the disadvantage of being enormously vast while the pool of experts and standards has the disadvantage of being completely nonexistent while the task of collecting it has the disadvantage of being utterly profitless, making the area an ideal medium for error and garbage.

if there's one thing that's plainly obvious when browsing lyrics sites, it's that they swipe their entries from each other, mistakes and all. since there's no profit, there's no incentive for independent research, and since the sites don't own the data, they won't sue each other for infringement. if one site has an incorrect entry, they all have it:

lovin' spoonful — coconut grove lyrics

it's really true how nothin matters.
no mad, mad world and no mad hatters.
no one's pitchin cause their ain't no batters
in coconut grove.

don't bother door.
theirs no one comin.
the oceans roar, were double drummin.
of many silly thoughts and silly ways
the ocean breeze has cooled my mind.
the salty days are her's and mine
just to do what we anna

the lovely and haunting coconut grove does not suffer from slurred vocals. john sebastian was no michael stipe yet the song's entry is not only riddled with absurd errors, but is also inexplicably incomplete. thankfully, former van halen frontman david lee roth covered the song, which somehow earned him an entry with more accurate lyrics:

david lee roth — coconut grove lyrics

it's really true how nothin' matters
no mad, mad world and no mad hatters
noone's pitchin' cause there ain't no batters
in coconut groove

don't bar the door, there's no one comin'
the ocean's roar will dull the drummin'
of any city thoughts and city ways
the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine

to do what we wanna
tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's all from havin' someone knowin'
just which way your head is goin'
who's always warm, like in the mornin'
in coconut groove


but even roth's version diverges from the original complete lovin' spoonful rendition, in verse 5:

coconut grove by lovin' spoonful

it's really true how nothing matters
no mad mad world and no mad hatters
no one's pitching 'cause there ain't no batters
in coconut grove

don't bar the door, there's no one coming
the ocean's roar will dull the drumming
of any city thoughts and city ways

the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine
just to do what we want to

tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's all from having someone knowing
just which way your head is blowing
who's always warm, like in the morning
in coconut grove

the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine
just to do what we want to

tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's really true how nothing matters
no mad mad world and no mad hatters
no one's pitching 'cause there ain't no batters
in coconut grove


the internet's great, but sometimes you still gotta do some things yourself.

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