How Not to Write Flashbacks: A Case Study Using Summertime Girls

Summertime Girls by LFO.

This song is deceptive since when he’s rapping it seems as though he’s making sense. This. Is. A. Lie. Let me break it down for you:

Yeah, I like it when the girls stop by in the summer
Do you remember, do you remember
When we met that summer?

Okay, good start. Not terrible.  You’ve set the scene. Summer.  You’ve established the conceit of the song– you’re speaking to a specific girl, the “you,” about what happened in the summer. Probably a romance.

New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits

Up until now I really thought you were singing that they had a lot of zits. Hits makes more sense. Okay. I get it.

Chinese food makes me sick

Me too!!!  But my sister pointed out, it’s pretty nonsensical, unless you point out that your aversion to Chinese food began that summer or it had some sort of significant tie in with your summertime relationship, which is never clarified. It’s like saying, “I had a good time in high school; I hate potatoes.”

And I think it’s fly when girls stop by
For the summer, for the summer

I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch
I’d take her if I had one wish
But she’s been gone
Since that summer, since that summer

At this point, the song still makes sense. This is about to change.

Hip Hop Marmalade spic and span
Met you one summer and it all began
Your the best girl that I ever did see
The great Larry Bird jersey 33

Complete gibberish.

I just can’t. Where do I start?  The two middle lines are connected, but beyond that there’s nada. Was Larry Bird jersey 33 that summer? Now?  Why does that matter? Did you enjoy watching basketball together?  What is hip hop marmalade? Is it different than regular marmalade?

When you take a sip, you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets

When I read this, I literally said aloud, in astonishment, “That doesn’t even rhyme, bitch” despite my efforts to moderate my language. That’s how bad the writing is. Look at what you made me do, LFO. (I’m so sorry.)

Call me Willie Whistle ’cause I can’t speak, baby
Somethin’ in your eyes went and drove me crazy

Obscure reference to someone I think was a clown?

Now I can’t forget you and it makes me mad
Left one day and never came back
Stayed all summer then went back home

A bit rudimentary, but you’re back to making sense. That won’t last long.

Macauly Culkin wasn’t Home Alone

WASN’T HE?  AND EVEN IF HE WASN’T HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO YOUR SUMMERTIME ROMANCE AT ALL? I’m sorry, my keyboard got away from me. I feel like you’re just talking nonsense, now. Are you doing this to hurt me?

Fell deep in love, but now we ain’t speakin’
Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton
When I met you, I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch

So… you’re just saying something  about the girl, then some weird pop culture trivia from the eighties? This does not a flashback make. That works better in a visual medium. In an auditory medium it sounds like you ate a bunch of old magazines and then got sick.

 

Cheery Pez, Cold Crush, rock star Boogie
Used to hate school so I had to play hookie
Always been hip to the B-boy style
Known to act wild and make girls smile

Love New Edition and the Candy Girl
Remind me of you because you rock my world

At this point, I’m letting the nonsense wash over me. This is the ocean from which stream of consciousness is fed.

You come from Georgia where the peaches grow
They drink lemonade and speak real slow

Shut. Up.

You love hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll
Dad took off when you were four years old
There was a good man named Paul Revere
I feel much better, baby, when you’re near

I could literally expound on this until I die. I want this written on my grave. This is so bad that I’m starting to feel Stockholmed.

Music tastes.

Family trauma.

AMERICAN HISTORY, WHAT. (Potentially the Beastie Boys.)

Back to the girl. But present tense, even though you haven’t seen her since the summer???

You love fun dip and cherry coke
I like the way you laugh when I tell a joke
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch

Uuuugh, what is this, a commercial for the place? Also: I’m just skipping all the refrains because why bother.

 

In the summertime girls got it goin’ on
Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like
I’ll steal your honey like I stole your bike

Has the statute of limitations run out on that bike thievery?  I can’t arrest you for your lyricism but I can definitely look into that bicycle incident.

Boogaloo Shrimp and pogo sticks
My mind takes me back there, oh, so quick
Let you off the hook like my man Mr. Limpet
Think about that summer and I bug ’cause I miss it

Okay, these images work in a weird way for me. Maybe I’m growing accustomed to your writing style.  Maybe it’s the slow creep of madness.  Off in the distance, a wolf howls. An ancient, eldritch groan sounds as the space between worlds grows a little thinner.

Like The Color Purple, macaroni and cheese
Ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees
Call you up but what’s the use
I like Kevin Bacon, but I hate Footloose

Liking a good book and a food type.

Reference to Wizard of Oz, A BUNCH OF TREES WHAT DOES THAT MEAN WHY DO YOU HATE ME WE’VE NEVER EVEN MET.

Relationship regret.

THAT. IS. NONSENSE.

Came in the door said it before
I think I’m over you but I’m really not sure
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch

You are clearly not over her. You wrote a whole dang song about how you’re not over her. You want to call her. You actively miss her. You think about that summer all the time.

And then you just repeat the refrain eighty times. That’s surely a sign that you’re over her. Now, if you’re looking for me I’ll just be banging my head against the wall and warbling along. New Kids on the Block had a lot of hits; Chinese food makes me–