The funk movement was pretty ridiculous in general: ridiculous costumes, ridiculous jewelry, and ridiculously smooth grooves. You can read the evidence in this week's feature. But not enough is said of the totally off-the-wall lyrical content of these danceable numbers, so here's a sampling of the silliest writing in funk.
The Ohio Players, "Fopp"
"Fopp me right, don't you fopp me wrong/We'll be here foppin' all night long/I'm too short, baby, and you're too tall/But when we're foppin that don't mean a thing at all"
It's the mid '70s, so how do you get raunchy while still staying radio-friendly? One good way is to take a word that sounds like an expletive, recast it as the name of a (nonexistent) dance craze, and let the double-entendres fly. Sure, you can get down to this, but odds are they've got more in mind than getting on the good foot.
Bootsy Collins, "What's A Telephone Bill?"
"It's your friendly phone fanatic again/Oh yeah I'm loaded with verbal rap ability/Baby, you know you inspire me to poetry/So listen while I recite naughty nothings/That'll wet your eardrums"
While one can extrapolate solely from appearances that Bootsy is man of abstract thinking, this one teeters on creepy at best. I mean, a self-proclaimed "friendly phone fanatic" whispering "naughty nothings" through the receiver? We'd be locking our doors and calling the cops.
"U know U're good, girl/I think U like 2 go down/U wouldn't have stopped but ah.../I came on your wedding gown"
Every man's dream: Prince tells the story of meeting a woman on her wedding day (in her wedding dress no less) who is so impressed by Prince's sexiness that she decides to get a little dirty with him. And can you believe this? She leaves her husband-to-be and marries Prince instead! Makes total sense to us.
Parliament, "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadooloop)"
"Bioaquadooloop/Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadooloops/A motion picture underwater starring most of you-loops"
We understand that Parliament was a fundamentally important band, insofar as it's the pinnacle of the funk movement and heavily influenced years of music after. But it's hard to take George Clinton and Co. seriously on tracks that sound like they come from "Baby's First Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Songs." But we do admit that if you're writing lyrics in a constant haze of marijuana smoke, it makes sense at some point to just start writing down every made-up word that throws you into hysterical gigglefits.
James Brown, "The Payback"
"I don't know karate, but I know ka-razy"
To be fair, everything about this song is so badass that even a line this goofy makes the Godfather sound like someone who is absolutely not to be messed with.