The song in question: “Ass Back Home” by Gym Class Heroes:
It’s a song in the genre of “Musician pines for his woman back home while he’s out on the road, totally not partaking in groupies,” the most famous of which for my generation is Journey’s lighter-launcher “Faithfully.” The song itself is actually not bad, although it’s another example of Gym Class Heroes relying on a guest vocalist to lay down a tasty chorus to prop up GCH’s bland rap verses (previous example: “Stereo Hearts“). But what does bother me are the lyrics of the chorus, in which the unfortunately-named Neon Hitch sings:
I don’t know where you’re going/Or when you’re coming home/I left the the keys under the mat to our front door
The song and the video both establish that the two vocalists of the song are in some sort of long-term, co-habitating relationship; good for them. It also establishes that he’s on the road for a tour while she’s back at home. Fine.
But if all that’s the case, really? She’s doesn’t know where he’s going, or when he’s coming home? Did he not provide her with a tour schedule? Because, you know, when I go out on tour, I make sure my longtime companion, the lovely and effervescent Mrs. Scalzi, has the itinerary in her possession. But even if I or the Gym Class Heroes dude didn’t drop that knowledge on the respective loves of our lives, the fact is most entertainers who tour make that information public. If she didn’t know where he was going or when he was coming home, she could just go to the band web site and click into the tour area. Where’s he going? Athens, Georgia, on April 10! When’s he coming home? Probably May 4th or 5th, by the looks of things. Then he goes out again! Look, it’s all there.
(Not to mention, as the video shows them on the phone to each other, she could just ask, hey, what’s the next stop after this one? Admittedly, the lyrics note that sometimes he doesn’t know where is, or what day it is, but most modern phones have GPS and a calendar app, so that’s easily solved. There are a lot of options here for access to accurate information.)
Likewise: She leaves a key under the mat to their front door? Why? Doesn’t he have a key of his own? Does he not live there when he’s not on tour? The possessive plural nature of the pronoun in this sentence rather strongly suggests so. Can he not be trusted with his own key? Is he always losing them in hotel rooms? Do the key gnomes have a vendetta of long standing against this poor man? These seem doubtful. He’s driving home a motorcycle at the end of the video; clearly he didn’t lose the keys to that. I’m guessing the house key’s on the same ring.
Yes, I know. I’ve drastically overthought this. But come on. These are not lyrics filled with metaphor or allusion; they’re pretty straightforward declarative statements that individually parse perfectly well but which in context don’t make a damn bit of sense. Drives me nuts. I’m glad these two people in the song are in love, but clearly they need to a) work on their communication skills, b) learn to use the Internet to find things, c) go down to the end of the street and have a couple of spare keys made. None of this is hard.
I’m just saying.