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Are You Better Than Bieber?

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
June 21, 2012

This season on Ask Me Another, we challenged our audience to invent new lyrics for existing hit songs. Our beloved contestants dutifully complied. We asked them to make their entries topical, to match the rhyme pattern and meter of the original song, and, most importantly, to be funny and clever. Geek rock music legend Jonathan Coulton performed our favorite submissions on the show, and the author of the best submission (as selected by our studio audience) received a fabulous prize, as well as bragging rights for all eternity. We’re sharing our finalists’ genius lyrics, so you can sing along at home.

Suggest a song that you think we should rework on the show! Email us at askmeanother@npr.org and tell us why you think its lyrics need a total, Ask Me Another-style overhaul.

Better Than Bieber:

The teen dream could learn a thing or two about the pains of love and the impending apocalypse with the help of finalists Richard Gallagher and Jon Zamboni. Here are their takes on Justin Bieber’s hit, “Baby.”

Lyrics by Richard Gallagher:

You know you love me, I know you careI could feel it in your fingers as you braid my hairYou are my love, you are my heartLike Willy Wonka, you’re the sweet to my tart.

Are we an item? Girl, quit playin’You’ve been in my sock drawer, that’s all I’m sayin’Say there’s another and look right in my eyesA bolt through the heart, a silas on my thigh.

Lyrics by Jon Zamboni:

You know you love me, I know you careBut the end is coming, please be awareYou are my love, you are my heartBut apocalyptic floods will make us part.

Are we an item? Girl, quit playin’All of my calendars are MayanSay there’s another and look right in my eyesYeah well December 21st you’ll be surprised.

Watch Justin Bieber’s original version of “Baby” below.

Pen It Like Porter:

Cole Porter was one of America’s greatest songwriters, but let’s face it–some of his songs sound pretty dated. Finalists Samantha Henig and Nancy Taubenslag proved to be worthy competitors with their parodies of Porter’s 1934 Broadway classic, “You’re The Top.”

Lyrics by Nancy Taubenslag:

You’re the top! you’re the iPhone’s Siri.You’re the top! You’re The Big Bang TheoryYou’re the mega-dough earned from JK Rowling’s wordsYou’re Blue Ivy’s mama, 2008 Obama,You’re Angry Birds!

You’re elite; You’re Cy Twombly’s scribbleYou’re the heat in Jer’my Lin’s dribbleI’m a budget bill stuck on Cap’tal Hill – I’ll flop!But if baby I’m the bottom, you’re the top!

Lyrics by Samantha Henig:

You’re the top! You’re the Gates FoundationYou’re the top! You’re job creation.You’re suburban comfort: two cars and a deck.You’re Gagosian Gallery; you’re Romney’s salary (*adjusted to pre-tax-break dollars),You’re nanotech!

You’re the bomb; you’re a Whole Foods dinner.You’re the song of the Idol Winner.I am backed up, hot, and fated soon to drop;But just like Beyonce’s bottom, you’re the top!

Hear Cole Porter sing his original version in the video below. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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