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King of anything (Sam Tsui)

A fun acapella cover of "King of Anything" by Sara Barelleis. Sam Tsui singing, Kurt Schneider beatboxing and producing.

Doo, doo, doo...

Keep drinking coffee stare me down across the table
While I look outside
So many things I'd say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by
You got opinions, man, we're all entitled to 'em
But I never asked
So let me thank you for your time
And try not to waste any more of mine
Get out of here fast

I hate to break it to you, babe
But I'm not drowning
There's no one here to save

Who cares if you disagree, you are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died, and made you king of anything
Whoooo whoooh

You sound so innocent all full of good intent
You swear you know best
But you expect me to jump up on board with you
And right off into your delusional sunset

I'm not the one who's lost with no direction oh
But you'll never see
You're so busy making maps
With my name on them in all caps
You've got the talking down
Just not the listening

And who cares if you disagree, you are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died, and made you king of anything

All my life I've tried
To make everybody happy while I
Just hurt and hide waiting for someone to tell me
It's my turn to decide

(ow ow ow ow ooow..)

Who cares if you disagree, you are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died, and made you king of anything
And who cares if you disagree, you are not me
Who made you king of anything?
And you dare tell me who to be
Who died, and made you king of anything

Let me hold your crown babe
O-oooooh aaaaaaah...
Whoooooa, yeah

STARE ME DOWN= To stare is to look intensely, almost without blinking, as if very concentrated on something. To look someone down may be to feel superior, so if you stare me down, you look at me fixedly with a sense of superiority, so I feel uncomfortable and humiliated.

ACROSS THE TABLE= From the opposite side of the table.

IF ONLY...= We use this to express a wish, especially something that we consider impossible and so it makes us feel sad. In conditional sentences we usually use the unreal past (or subjunctive form) of the verb. The only verb which still has a past subjunctive form in "to be", using WERE for all persons (I were, you were, he were...), so he says IF ONLY I WERE ABLE (= If only I could = I wish I could, but I can't). In modern English there is a tendency to use normal past tense, especially in America:
- If I were a richman... (also: If I was a richman)
- If he were my brother, I would help him (also: if he was my brother...)

KEEP QUIET= Stay silent.

MAN= (coll, esp. AmE) A colloquial word used to address a man:
- hi man, how you doing?  - cool, man, and you?
- Listen man, I gotta go, are you coming?  - sorry man, I can't.

WE'RE ALL ENTITLED TO 'EM= We all have right to [have opinions] ('EM = them)

I HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU= It's not nice to tell you this.
If you break something to somebody, you tell them something which is totally unexpected for them, so it's shocking. To break the news is to say something surprising or exciting to someone who didn't know about it.
- You should phone Peter and tell him that his girlfriend is now with Kevin. Nobody wants to break the news but he should know.

BABE= Baby, darling.

I'M NOT DROWNING= /drnɪŋ/ I refuse to feel completely oppressed.
To DROWN means literally to die under water because you can't breathe. When we are in a very difficult situation and we feel terrible and trapped we can say that we are drowning.
We can use the simple present in the negative to express a strong refusal:
- Sorry, I'm not doing it = I refuse to do it.
- I tried to convince her, but she's not coming = She doesn't want to come and that's definite.

THERE'S NO ONE HERE TO SAVE= I don't need your help, so stop treating me like a child.

WHO CARES IF...= I don't care if..., It's not important if..., I don't mind if...

YOU ARE NOT ME= (Who cares if you disagree, you are not me)= I don't care if you disagree because I have my own opinions and your opinions are not important to me, so don't try to change the way I think.

WHO MADE YOU KING OF ANYTHING?= Who gave you authority of any kind? You are king of nothing. You are not the most important person, you are not much better than me and you have no power over me.
This question (like the previous one) is not really a question, but an ironic way of expressing a negative. This is quite common, especially to show anger:
- Who do you think you are?= You are not an important person.
- You said New York is the capital of the USA?! Oh, good, so who is the intelligent person here? (= not you, of course)
- Who told you to speak?= You can't speak, nobody gave you permission.
- Who invited you to this party?= Why are you here? You're not invited.

YOU DARE TELL ME WHO TO BE= This is probably an imperative form using YOU for emphasis (which is very common), so the sentence is: "dare tell me who to be (if you have the guts)". Imperatives with "dare" are used to make a challenge, so this sentence is an emphatic equivalent of "don't try to tell me who I should be (because that is my decision, not yours)". The same meaning, but still more emphatic, comes when using "dare" in the negative imperative tense with an emphatic "you" ("don't you dare tell me who to be") The verb DARE can be followed by infinitive with or without TO.

WHO DIED...= Being a king is an hereditary thing, so before you are made king, the previous king has to die.

GOOD INTENT= Good intentions.

YOU SWEAR YOU KNOW BEST= You emphatically say that you know everything much better than me.
To SWEAR is to make a solemn declaration or simply to say something with great conviction.
BEST, in the expression "to know best" is a superlative form, but the meaning is comparative, because it's not the best one of all, it's the best one of we two:
- I'm older than you so I know best (= I know more than you about it)
- Of course you are the specialist, you know best (= you know more than me about this)

DELUSIONAL= /dəlu:ʒənəl/ The state or quality of being deluded. You are deluded when you have the wrong idea about reality in general or a situation in particular, you have no contact with reality.

WHO'S LOST= Who is lost.
It could also be "who has lost", but not in this context.

YOU'LL NEVER SEE= You'll never realize, you'll never understand the truth (because you are too deluded).

MAPS= The sentence "you're so busy making maps with my name on them in all caps" means that you are making plans for the future and I am in all those plans. But in this context it's not a romantic thing to say because that means that you are trying to control my life and deciding my future without asking my opinion, because "you've got the talking down, just not the listening" (you talk and talk but never listen to me).

CAPS= Mountain tops.

YOU'VE GOT THE TALKING DOWN...= You are very good at talking (but not at listening).
The correct expression is "to have something down pat" ("pat" is missing here), which means to practise something until you master it and do it well and without effort.

I JUST HURT= I was in pain, I was suffering.

LET ME HOLD YOUR CROWN, BABE= I'm going to remove the crown off your head. Now it's my turn to be the king and take my own decisions, so get out of my life.

The song was originally sung by Sara Bareilles, so the story is about a woman who is really tired of an abusive relationship and one day she finally finds the strength to stand up and tell her boyfriend everything she thinks about him before breaking up and telling him to leave: "try not to waste any more of [my time], get out of here fast".

Then again, she probably never found the strength to tell him all tose things and everything was just happening in her imagination, because at the beginning of the song she says: "So many things I'd say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by
".

But under this "romantic mess" happening, there might be a deeper story. I found this comment reported by jkapprentice:

Sara was on my local radio station yesterday and explained what this song means (also gave an awesome performance of it!). She said when she was working on the material for this album she started to share what she came up with within her "inner circle" (assuming management, record label, etc.). After being given the new material they pretty much ripped her apart, criticized, didn't bother to see where she was coming from, so she wrote this song as a response to their criticism.

3:30            
 
 
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