20 Most Forced Rhymes In Pop Music History


Ariana Grande performs at the Wild Jam in San Jose, CA, December 15, 2013

Misha Vladimirskiy/Filterless 


(Via Billboard)

I fought him on it the whole time…’I am not going to sing a grammatically incorrect lyric, help me God!’ Max was like, ‘It’s funny — just do it!’ I know it’s funny and silly, but grammatically incorrect things make me cringe sometimes.”

And so Ariana Grande attempts to defend the infamous “Now that I become who I really are” lyric from her current hit “Break Free,” with the “Max” in question being pop ingenieur (and “Break Free” co-writer) Max Martin. The quote comes from a story on the song from Time.com, whose title proclaims “Ariana Grande Is Fully Aware That the Lyrics of ‘Break Free’ Make No Sense,” with Grande appearing sheepishly contrite for bending the laws of the English language to force a rhyme with the song’s previous line, “Never by the hands of a broken heart.”

She needn’t have done so. A cursory glance over the history of pop music reveals dozens of similarly forced rhymes littering the lyrics of some of our greatest hits, misses and deep cuts. They tend to fall into one of five categories — Awkward Syntax, Jarring Word Choice, Non-Sequitorial Thought Process, English Subversion or Not Quite a Rhyme in the First Place — and the most ambitious of them can sometimes satisfy two categories at once. While these forced rhymes may be unpleasant to the ear and/or the stomach upon first listen, many of them come to be as endearing as any of the song’s more conventionally poetic (or merely intelligible) lyrics. (Others remain permanently nauseating, but still.)

Anyway, here are the 20 most incredibly forced rhymes to ever come out of radio speakers and strike daggers through the hearts of unassuming Language Arts teachers nationwide. Ariana Grande can look left or look right on this list and see that there’s no shame in spurning didactic grammar bylaws every now and then in the name of pop immortality…

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