Though “Turtle Power” is an endearingly cheesy rap song that will forever live in the hearts of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans (especially those who remember how huge it was in the summer of 1990), you have to admit it has some pretty stupid lyrics.
Partners in Kryme (for whom I should automatically deduct points for spelling) may have recorded a catchy rap song, but dissecting their lyrics for “Turtle Power” is like reading through a sixth grader’s book report on The Catcher in the Rye. It is nonsensical, poorly worded, and, at times, embarrassing.
But I guess when you’re a kid you don’t really read into these things too much. Your mindset is more like:
And thus pop culture phenomenons are born. They can’t all be
I know what you’re thinking–why focus on the lyrics when the music video is an even more tempting goldmine of stupidity? I’ve filed that away in my Future Blog Posts folder, which, thankfully I’m the only one who looks at because it’s probably pretty weird to read out of context.
For now, let’s stick to making fun of the “Turtle Power” lyrics because at the moment I don’t have the time or creative energy that would be required to tackle the above video.
Stupid Lyric #1
All police and detectives are furious,
‘Cause they can’t find the source
Of this lethally evil force
What’s so lethal and evil about a bunch of acne-ridden teenagers in black pajamas stealing electronics? Because that’s pretty much all the Foot Clan did in this movie.
Stupid Lyric #2
This is serious so give me a quarter.
I was a witness, get me a reporter!
Yes, crime is SRS BSNS. And according to April’s news report that opens the film, we learn “there appear to be no eyewitnesses to any of these crimes.” Apparently she never interviewed Partners in Kryme or she’d have gotten her big scoop.
Wait, why are they named Partners in Kryme if they’re rapping about how bad crime is? Is this meant to be ironically funny? Were Partners in Kryme just early hipsters? The photo for their song “Undercover”–the only other single they ever released besides “Turtle Power”–suggests this might be true.
(By the way, are payphones still around? That bit about quarters is making me feel really old.)
Stupid Lyric #3
Leonardo, Michaelangelo, and Donatello
Make up the team with one other fellow, Raphael
He’s the leader of the group…
This is a line that has been pissing TMNT fans off for over 20 years. Everyone knows Leonardo is the leader–it’s a well-established canon that’s even mentioned IN THE SAME DAMN MOVIE this song is from. So how does a thing like this happen? Did nobody fact-check Partners in Kryme’s lyrics? Did they choose to ignore it for the sake of a smoother rap flow? Was one of the rappers a fanatical Raphael fan? Was there a scrapped version of the film where Raphael was established as the leader? Questions like these are why we need a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Director’s Cut; for now we at least have the director’s commentary.
Stupid Lyric #4
…Transformed from the norm by the nuclear goop.
Actually, it’s alien goop, but since Raphael’s the leader now, who’s worrying over a trivial thing like the Turtle’s origin? (Answer: not Michael Bay.)
Stupid Lyric #5
Those are the words that their master instructed,
But a letter from Shredder has Splinter abducted
The Turtles agonizing search for Splinter is central to the plot of the movie, but here Partners in Kryme sweeps it neatly under the rug. Wasn’t that sweet of Shredder to send a letter? I bet he dots his i’s with little hearts.
Stupid Lyric #6
Now this is for real, so you fight for justice,
Your shell is hard so you shout, “They can’t dust us off!”
Like some old coffee table
Yup, “They can’t dust us off!” is exactly what I shout when I’m angry. Because I’m so hard, ‘yo.
Stupid Lyric #7
Since you’ve been born you’ve been willing and able
To defeat the sneak, protect the weak,
Fight for rights and your freedom of speech!
This isn’t just some song about mutant turtles, this is a song about AMERICA!
But who or what is “the sneak?” Is that like a pet name to describe The Foot (you know, because they’re ninjas and ninjas are sneaky)? Did TMNT have a crossover with Homestar Runner in another dimension?
Or, what is probably a more likely scenario, did Partners in Kryme just not have anything better to rhyme with “weak”? Jesus, I can write better rap lyrics than these guys.
Stupid Lyric #8
Evil moves fast, but good moves faster
than light shining for your illumination
What the hell does this even mean? Does “good” move “faster than light”? Does “good” move at all? Could “good” be what some physicists refer to as “apparent” or “effective” faster-than-light, abbreviated as FTL, which is based on the hypothesis that unusually distorted regions of spacetime might permit matter to reach distant locations in less time than light could in normal or undistorted spacetime. Although according to current theories–oh, fuck it.
And while we’re on the subject…
‘Turtle Power’ had stupid album art, too. Why isn’t “TURTLE POWER!” centered? Why did the designer use a reverse image of Raphael that looks completely unnatural? Who chose this color combination, a blind person? I have so many questions!