Even though I'm always getting older, and constantly falling behind in the fast-paced world of pop culture, I try not to be one of those people who complains things were so much better back when they were a teenager.
I can't help but take a moment, though, to complain about something that's sure to cement my status as someone who is officially beyond being cool.
Why do today's chart-topping artists insist on writing songs with titles that break as many grammar and spelling rules as possible?
I'm just now noticing this disturbing trend, mostly because I have to edit Billboard's top five singles list each week for our Weekend section.
Just take a look at some of the songs that have made recent lists:
"The Way I Are," by Timbaland.
"Thnks Fr Th Mmrs," by Fall Out Boy.
And, the song that pushed me over the edge, "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')," by T-Pain.
Even some of the less annoying titles are technically incorrect. Just look at "Hey There Delilah" from The Plain White T's, which is missing a comma before Delilah, who the band is addressing directly.
I realize there have been grammar violations in song titles at other points in history. But I don't believe the rules of the English language have ever been as universally flouted as they are today. Remember back when singers were content to swap "U" for "you"?
Most of these singers are just trying to make an artistic statement by proving they don't have to follow The Man's rules of grammar, but honestly, ridiculous titles cause me to hate songs before I even hear them.
I don't know why the poor English skills of today's pop stars bothers me so much. I guess it's because a big portion of my job duties include making sure every story in my section is free of misspellings, unnecessary commas and misplaced modifiers.
Every time I edit the Billboard list, I have to physically restrain myself from changing the "shawty" into shorty and that "drank" into a drink. I'm fairly sure that makes me a loser, and I'm OK with that.
What upsets me more, though, is the idea that poor grammar and spelling is so commonplace these days. These song titles are just the tip of the iceberg in the days of online chatting and cell phone text messaging.
I feel for today's teachers. It has to be getting harder and harder to get kids to understand what's wrong with a grammatically incorrect sentence when they never see any models of good writing.
I can only hope for an eventual return to more literate songwriting.
In the meantime, I'll resign myself to echoing the plea of my co-worker, who often laments, "Why, Timbaland, why? Why does it have to be 'The Way I Are?' Why can't it be 'The Way I Am?'"
E-mail Shelley Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org.