Parentheses in song titles are an odd thing. Do you ever think about this ? You don’t? OK. Sometimes I am not sure how my mind works, but I feel compelled to write about this nonetheless.
Joe Posnanski wrote about this on his blog back in January, and I think he sums it up well:
I am way, way, way too fascinated by parenthetical remarks in song titles. Take the Simple Minds song “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” To give you an idea how insane I think that title is, I got it completely wrong the first time. I thought the (Don’t You) part was in parenthesis. That made little sense. The way it actually is makes even less sense.
Look, these quotes might not be quite as powerful if we had used parentheses:
“(All We Have To Fear Is) Fear Itself.”
“(Ask Not) What Your Country Can Do For You.”
“(A House Divided Against Itself Cannot) Stand.”
I’ve always thought parenthetical songs carried a panache that other songs didn’t. There is a reckless courage about them. They have style. Here are 10 of my favorites.