Don’t get me wrong, Train is a very accomplished band. “Hey, Soul Sister” had its moment during the bizarre period of time that was the late 2000s. It was an awkward period for all of us. Looking back at pictures of high school makes me question why the end of the world actually didn’t occur in 2012. Things were terrible then and if not for what would happen in 2020, I don’t think things could’ve been worse. But like I said, it was a weird time, and I’ll forgive them for “Hey, Soul Sister.” It was kind of catchy, and it was different, even though the lyrics forced me to focus on the untrimmed chest of Jason Bateman’s cooler, older brother. (Side note: I don’t even know who is actually older between the two. Jason Bateman is sneaky old, but Pat Monahan looks like if Jason Bateman and Rob Lowe merged together, and only one person was left standing. You know I’m right on this.)
I will also forgive them for the fact that none of the lyrics in “Drops of Jupiter” make the tiniest bit of sense. I mean, let’s do a quick review: “She acts like summer and walks like rain,” and, “She listens like spring and she talks like June.” Like what the fuck are either of those even supposed to mean? How do you listen like spring? How do you walk like rain? If someone were to try to walk like rain, I’d classify them as completely and utterly insane.
Upon closer examination, there’s actually a line that makes even less sense than the two cited above: “She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo/ Reminds me that there's room to grow.” Like are you okay, bro? If one of your friends said to you while talking about a girl that she checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo, and then followed it up with that it reminds him that there’s room to grow, you’d think that they were on high on something. Not only that they were high but dangerously high, and you’d be concerned for their health. I’d sit them down in a safe space where they couldn’t hurt themselves and make sure that they were getting plenty of fluids in them. Like holy crap. I don’t even remotely understand what he’s getting at with those lines. The previous two examples mentioned above look like Shakespeare compared to this gibberish.
Like, has Train ever tried to explain what they were getting at here? If so, someone please point me to it because I’d love to see the hoops they jump through to try to explain this one.
But even these crazy ass lyrics are forgivable. Whether you like the song (with its bizarro lyrics) or not, you have to agree that like “Hey, Soul Sister,” it’s catchy, and its success when released was notable, and it continues to receive radio time today (if anyone still even listens to the radio).
Plus, a lot of successful pop songs have lyrics that don’t make sense. To borrow a phrase from my legal training, “reasonable minds can differ,” especially when it comes to whether or not lyrics have to make sense in pop songs or not.
No, this is not what brings me before you today. I wish it was. It would be easier. No, what makes my blood irrationally boil about Train more than anything else in this world is the song “Play That Song.”
“Play That Song” was released by Train in the year 2016. It reached top ten on the us charts. And why, might you ask, does this song make me want to punt a puppy through the ceiling? (I would never do such a thing, but I need to make my point here.) It’s because the chorus of the song employs the melody of the song “Heart and Soul.”
Though originally performed by Hoagy Carmichael, “Heart and Soul” is one of the most recognizable melodies on the planet. What first year piano student doesn’t know how to play this song? The percentage of suburban-raised kids that at one point knew how to play this song has to be over fifty percent. I would bet money that even a monkey has learned how to play this song.
If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, this is the song that Tom Hanks plays on the giant piano in the classic 80s film, Big. If you’re too young for that reference, or you’ve been living under a rock your entire life, I will attempt to spell out the melody here. I think this actually might work because it’s that recognizable of a melody. Here it goes:
Duh nuh nuhhhh. Danuh nunuh nunuh. Duh nuh nuhhh. Danuh nunuh nunuh. Nuhhhhh. Nuhhh. Danuh nunuh nuh.
And then it repeats. If that still didn’t work, here’s the clip from Big:
Now that you went, “OHHHH, that song,” and you’re all on board now, Train used this melody for the chorus in their song “Play That Song.”
I’m sure that all copyright issues, if any, were taken care of. Train is part of a big label. I’m sure that the right people were compensated, if needed, and credit was given where due. Potential copyright issues is not what bothers me here.
No, no, no. What bothers me is that Train, one of the most popular pop bands on the planet, used that melody and wrote a hit song. Train used that melody, and everyone was just okay with it. Like if any other band had tried to do that, they would’ve been laughed at. Hell, I’m sure we’ve all made up words to the melody because everyone knows the melody, and hardly anyone knows the actual words or even the real name of the song. If you say “Heart and Soul,” people look at you confused, but as soon as you start to intonate the melody people immediately know what you’re getting at. But seriously, this is what little kids do. They take super basic, popular melodies and put their own words to them. But Train does it, and it’s a top ten song on the charts. And what bugs me even more is that the lyrics they put to it are even more basic. Here they are:
Play that song
The one that makes me go all night long
The one that makes me think of you
That's all you gotta do
So, not only do they steal a super basic well known melody, but then they almost add insult to injury by writing the most basic lyrics to produce a hit song.
And that, that is why I say to you, “Go fuck yourself, Train.”
But let’s be honest, at the end of the day I’m mostly just jaded that Train could make millions off ripping off “Heart and Soul” and get away with it.
One last comment: I didn’t know Howie Mandel was in the band.
So, come here often?