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"I'm the best from all the crowd
See me deeper and scream loud,
Catch good vibes and inspiration
Feel the power and my relation"

This short lyric is a matter of argument between me and the person who wrote it. She claims it's been proofread by a native speaker and it's perfectly okay. I, on the other hand, absolutely disagree. I see things as incorrectly written.

I have my doubts concerning these parts:

  1. "from all the crowd" - do natives actually say this? I've never heard anything like this. It usually goes like "among the crowd" or "in the crowd".

  2. "scream loud" - shouldn't this be "scream loudly"? A scream can be loud, but can you scream loud? I'm aware of "scream out loud" but I guess the preposition changes things.

  3. "my relation" - what on earth could this be? A relation of mine is something which is related to me, but that's absurd, since it's obviously unnatural.

Please, help me out on this one.

  • 1
    That's some wild and crazy stuff. Everything is slightly off. feel the power is OK. scream loud is idiomatic. Many speakers would not say loudly. But screaming is loud by definition. Scream real loud so we can hear you over the crowd is something a native could say. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 17 '18 at 16:23
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about interpreting / analysing song lyrics / poetry. Not even written by a native speaker, apparently. – FumbleFingers Dec 17 '18 at 16:34
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    @FumbleFingers I disagree, it is about grammar in certain context and meaning of certain phrases. I'm not asking for interpretation, I'm well aware what the lyrics mean in general as well as line by line. – SovereignSun Dec 17 '18 at 16:37
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    This is not a question about interpretation, @FumbleFingers. You need to keep your finger off the trigger. It seems you want to shut down any question that asks about a poem or lyrics even if the questions are linguistic in nature, not asking for interpretation. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 17 '18 at 17:22
  • There's nothing wrong with any of those lyrics, since lyrics don't need to use formal grammar. In fact, most of them often can't without the rhyme and metre they need. (I'm surprised you didn't mention the possibility of "scream aloud"—even though I see no need to change what's actually there.) – Jason Bassford Dec 18 '18 at 3:43
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First, in general, song lyrics do not always need to be grammatical, and don't always need to follow normal English usage. That said, you can't sing whatever you want. What qualifies as acceptable poetic license and what crosses the line is subjective and very hard to pin down.

1) You're right that we would normally say "the best in the crowd," but we also might say, "the best from among all those in the crowd," and that could, in a song, be shortened to "the best from the crowd." I don't love it, but it sounds like something I might expect in a song lyric.

2) A huge number of native English speakers regularly use adjectives instead of adverbs. This is definitely common in song lyrics.

3) I have no idea what "my relation" means there. The phrase "feel my relation" is valid, but it means something like touch my cousin.

  • I grew up on beautiful and elegant lyrics like those of Phil Collins for instance so this annoys me actually. Do singers actually sing like that nowadays? "The best from all the crowd", really? It's no better than "my rooster lays eggs". – SovereignSun Dec 17 '18 at 16:33
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    I am the walrus; I am the egg-man; kookoo kachoo. Yes, they sing like that nowadays too. – Lorel C. Dec 17 '18 at 16:36
  • @LorelC. You've gotta be kiddin' – SovereignSun Dec 17 '18 at 16:46
  • "When they show it you stop and stare / Abacab He’s in anywhere" Phil Collins sang like that in "those days" too. Or maybe "Too big to fly / Dodo ugly so dodo / must die / Dog go, with fear on its side / Can't change, can't change the tide." I'm not trying to pick on Phil Collins, but artists have always played with language and what might offend your sensibilities might appeal greatly to another. – Juhasz Dec 17 '18 at 16:46
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    My new favorite, just discovered on this very page (a few questions back): "His brain is squirmin' like a toad"...Now, that's classic. – Lorel C. Dec 17 '18 at 17:02
2

I would be on the "perfectly okay" side of this argument – given that it's a song lyric.

Song lyrics often bend grammatical conventions. They often stray from strict semantic rules and are frequently more concerned with meter and rhyme than normal conversational patterns.

I'm incessantly reminded of this during December, when I hear lyrics such as:

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Such pleasure do you bring me
1

Late in time behold Him come 2

I don't talk like that. If I was going to bedeck admiration on a Christmas tree, I'd structure my sentence more like this:

O Christmas tree, you bring me such joy!

and if I wanted to remark about how someone finally arrived after a very long wait, I'd say:

Wow! He sure was late. It's about time!


So, back to your friend's lyric:

I'm the best from all the crowd

I've never heard anything like this. It usually goes like "among the crowd" or "in the crowd".

Sure, it's a little clunky, especially for something so self-aggrandizing, but I can still get the gist of it. There are a lot of people out there, and your friend stands out as the best. As for whether from would the best preposition, I'd agree that among might be a better fit – but that word's extra syllable messes up the iamb.

See me deeper and scream loud

Shouldn't this be "scream loudly"?

Juhasz's answer sums this up perfectly: Native English speakers regularly use adjectives instead of adverbs. This is definitely common in song lyrics.

The one other point I'd like to add is that loudly hardly rhymes with crowd. If your friend was writing an essay for a college application, your recommended change would be a good one. But, in this case, it ruins the rhyme, so I'd recommend leaving it as-is.

Catch good vibes and inspiration
Feel the power and my relation

What on earth could "my relation" be? A relation of mine is something which is related to me, but that's absurd, since it's obviously unnatural.

A little mystery embedded in the song lyric! This isn't the first time and it won't be the last. I'd probably assume that, by "feel .. my relation," the lyricist means "feel my connection with you." But if you think those lines are obtuse, try Wooly Bully, American Pie, or Octopus's Garden. Not all songs make perfect sense.


I think a disconnect happened when the native speaker you mention in your question evaluated the four lines as a song lyric, while you dissected them looking for impeccable English. Well, four-line quatrains are not the place to look for impeccable English! If faultless English is what you're looking for, try the editorial page instead of the record jacket; you'll have better luck there.

1

Most of it is slightly off.

the best from all the crowd isn't idiomatic.

see me deeper is not idiomatic. There are a number of ways to express that idea but this is not one of them.

catch good vibes is not idiomatic. You can "catch a vibe" or "pick up a vibe" or "get a vibe" or even "get good vibes" and "get inspiration", but we don't say "catch good vibes" and we haven't caught inspiration since the mid 19th century; that's something of an archaism.

And "feel...my relation" is a mystery. Mysteries are OK, but relation is really not in the same register as vibes. It's off in that regard. The register of words and phrases is one of the most difficult things for a foreign speaker to learn, because register is much more subtle than "formal" versus "informal".

Lyrics can and do use non-standard dialect and sociolect forms and slang not in general use, but they tend to be idiomatic and to follow the basic rules of grammar, even when they're in a stream of consciousness style where they're fragmented. But the main thing about a lyric is that it has to be consistent for the "persona" speaking. It has to sound as if a person could actually say or think those words.

  • I wonder who downvoted you – SovereignSun Dec 18 '18 at 16:22
  • Probably someone who caught bad vibes. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 18 '18 at 19:40

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