Pop Goes A Sonnet

Artwork by Rafal Olbinski

Until very recently I was innocent of Beyoncé, so to speak. However, a few days ago I came across Erik Didriksen’s Tumblr “Pop Sonnets referenced by several recent articles in very favorable tones. Erik Didriksen attempted — and brilliantly succeeded — to render a number of pop songs by several artists in the form of Shakespearean sonnets.

Strictly following the Sonnet poetic form — three quatrains and a couplet — Pop Sonnets is fun read for poetry lovers, I’m sure. I’m not sure, however, that pop lyrics lovers would be too thrilled having to figure out  that “beckons like a Siren’s song” in Shakespearean stands for “got it goin’ on.” Never mind that love, loss, death and jealousy are eternal themes regardless of the form of expression.

While at it, I learned that today is Beyoncé’s birthday, She reached the age of Jesus. Congratulations! For that very reason, of all the gloriously Shakespearean Didriksen’s pop sonnets I’ve chosen the one that “rephrases” Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. 

BeyonceSonetTo familiarize myself with the original masterpiece, I found Beyoncé’s Single Ladies lyrics. I realize Beyoncé’s fans remember every word beyond a few lines I post here:

BeyonceCause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it

Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh

The Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh needs no “Shakespearization”. The Great Bard himself, I’m sure, wouldn’t have said it better, no? Erik Didriksen, obviously, is of the same opinion.

Didriksen, by his own admission, got his inspiration from a Shakespearean treatment of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. His major challenge was conjugation of the verbs after thee and thou.  Extensive research and background in music helped him to attain nearly perfect sonnet rhythms.

Thou surely knowest that I am a man (Majic!, “Rude”)

In a way, Pop Sonnets took a high-minded look at the lowest common denominator of Pop Music. Interesting, no?

No, tell me not; I fear what might unfold
If out two fondest hopes should not agree (Backstreet Boys, “I Want It That Way”)

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