dionpowermanI did this a little while ago and it was a lot of fun. Last time I took an older song and a newer song and I think that worked out pretty well. If you’re interested, that article is here.

Last time I was vaguely aware of some of the more messed up elements of the two songs I was about to analyze, I had heard them recently and a few things had stuck out to me as pretty damn weird.. This time, I am somewhat unaware of the lyrical content of these two songs. In today’s edition we will take a look at Dion’s “The Wandere” and Powerman 5000’s “World’s Collide”. Here’s the first thing you’re going to learn today: the song “The Wanderer” is by Dion. I have literally heard this song dozens if not hundreds of times and this is actually new information to me.

Both of these songs come out of different phases of my childhood. My dad liked oldies since he was a teenager in the early 60s and music wasn’t quite amazing at that point. I think he also was somehow aware that music from the later 60s and early 70s was very much fueled by drugs and felt that by sticking to the late 50s and early 60s he was maybe shielding us from some of the darker elements of rock. All that to say when I was a kid (like, younger than 10) I listened to a lot of cheesy pop oldies. When I was little older (around age 14 or 15) I really got into Powerman 5000 because they were loud and aggressive and didn’t have too much swearing in them so I wouldn’t get in a ton of trouble if my mom heard me listening to them. The lead singer also wore goggles and if you knew me back in high school then you know that I was all about that shit.

In summary: I listened to both of these songs a lot, knew a lot of these lyrics by heart and never really thought about them until today. Let’s go on a journey through sounds.

“The Wanderer” – By Dion (1961)

Oh well, I’m the type of guy who will never settle down
Where pretty girls are well, you know that I’m around
I kiss ’em and I love ’em ’cause to me they’re all the same
I hug ’em and I squeeze ’em they don’t even know my name

What you’re describing here Mr. Dion is actually being a sexual predator. When you’re hugging and squeezing people and they don’t know your name, the first thing they should be doing is probably alerting the authorities.


They call me the wanderer

Yeah, the wanderer
I roam around, around, around

No no, they call you “registered sex offender.”

Oh well, there’s Flo on my left and there’s Mary on my right
And Janie is the girl with that I’ll be with tonight
And when she asks me, which one I love the best?
I tear open my shirt I got Rosie on my chest

I don’t even know what’s going on here. We’re to believe that this guy loved Rosie so much that he got her name tattooed on his chest, but then that he’s being a big flirt with Flo and Mary (but has the intention to spend the night with Janie). I hope that he’s in an open relationship with Rosie, because if not he’s being all kinds of unfaithful. Maybe Rosie is into it though, who are we to judge?

(Chorus)

Oh well, I roam from town to town
I go through life without a care
And I’m as happy as a clown
I with my two fists of iron and I’m going nowhere

He just keeps going from town to town you guys, wait, hang on… two first of iron? Is that a fighting thing? Or a sexy thing? That line seems hella out of place. Maybe he fights people and then sleeps with their women?

I’m the type of guy that likes to roam around
I’m never in one place, I roam from town to town
And when I find myself fallin’ for some girl
I hop right into that car of mine and ride around the world

Oh ok. I get it now, he has a mental disorder. He falls in love to easily. You see, he’s the victim here. That’s probably why he got Rosie’s name tattooed on his chest, he probably barely knew her.This song is so sad you guys.

(Chorus)

(Repeat Last Verse)

(Chorus X 3)

This song is under 3 minutes long and it’s padded by 6 choruses and he just repeats the last verse for good measure. What’s the mater Dion, couldn’t think of anymore quaint tales of misogyny to fill out the song?

“When Worlds Collide” – by Powerman 5000 (1999)

Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide
Now this is what it’s like
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide
Now this is what it’s like

I think he’s about to tell us what it’s going to be like.

What is it really
That’s going on here
You’ve got your system for total control
Now is there really anybody out there
Now watch us suffer cause we can’t go
What is it really that is in your head
What little life that you had just died
I’m gonna be the one that’s taking over
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide

I think that Powerman 5000, with Spider-One (the lead singer) as their leader is trying to stage a violent revolt against an oppresive ruler of some kind. That’s not just because I just watched the music video, but also because he sort of just said it.

Are you ready to go
‘Cause I’m ready to go
What you gonna do baby, baby
Are you going with me
‘Cause I’m going with you
It’s the end of all time

Doesn’t seem like I have much choice in the matter, if I’m not going with him, then he’s going with me.

What is it really that motivates you
The need to fly or this fear to stop
I’ll go along when you realize
When we get there I say nine of ten drop
Now who’s the light and who is the devil
You can’t decide so I’ll be your guide
And one by one they will be hand chosen
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide

Well, it seems like we’re on the journey to fight the evil space lord or whatever, most of us will die but I suppose we were hand chosen or something. Time to die everyone. And by die I mean listen to another chorus.

Are you ready to go
Cause I’m ready to go
What you gonna do baby, baby
Are you going with me
Cause I’m going with you
It’s the end of all time

You are a robot

Don’t tell me what I am. I am a man. A man!

Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide
Now this is what it’s like
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide
Now this is what it’s like

I am still not super clear on what it’s like, but I do seem to be recruited into this Powerman 5000 army or something.

What is it really when they’re falling over
Everything that you thought is denied
I’m gonna be the one that’s taking over
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide

Why are we even overthrowing this guy? What has he done to us? What kind of assurance do we have that Spider won’t be just as much of an evil overlord as the old guy?

Are you ready to go
‘Cause I’m ready to go
What you gonna do baby, baby
Are you going with me
‘Cause I’m going with you
It’s the end of all time

Are you ready to go
‘Cause I’m ready to go
What you gonna do baby, baby
Are you going with me
‘Cause I’m going with you
It’s the end of all time

Are you ready
‘Cause I’m ready
It’s the end of all time
Are you going
Yeah I’m going
It’s the end of all time

Yeah, this is a thing I’ll be doing again, that was great.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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