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[SOLVED] 21 to zip / Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Lovin' You"

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Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018
Pending moderation

What does this mean?

"You had me down, 21 to zip"

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/robert-palmer-bad-case-lovin-you-lyrics.html

(I've already read the Yahoo answers comment, but I'm skeptical.)

Thanks!

Overthinker
<a href="/en/translator/marapalabra" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1234155">QuothTheRavenclaw</a>
Joined: 30.01.2015

My best guess is that it refers to the card game Blackjack (aka 21). The object of the game is to get as close to 21 points as you can in each round without going over, so the singer is saying that whomever he's singing to has won the game/won him over.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Oh!! I kept thinking of sports. Tennis? No, that's 15. Basketball is 2. Boxing is 10.

Card games never occurred to me!

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019
QuothTheRavenclaw a écrit :

My best guess is that it refers to the card game Blackjack (aka 21).

I agree with this. And zip means zero or nothing.

Guest
Guest

21 hints at blackjack, but it could be any kind of game with a 21 to 0 score. Ping pong, maybe? Regular smile

Seriously, you can't really score zero at blackjack, and you don't even compare scores.
Ping pong might be a more serious candidate.
Anyway, you don't need to know what kind of game it is to translate the song.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I see your point, but discussing song meaning and interpretation is one of the many things that makes this site superior, one of the reasons I left a competing site and came exclusively to this one.

People like me enjoy understanding, not just translating.

Wink smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

Are you, guys, sure it is not some kind of slang or a pun?
Had me down - ah, self exploratory, few meanings
21 - legal age of drinking
Zip - could be a ziper Or Zippo Or zip-code

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I think ingirumimusnocte is right about black Jack and ping pong.

It seems that ping pong is also called table tennis. Score info: https://www.recroom-products.com/tabtenrul.html

So 21 to zip would be pretty bad!

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I doubt we can ever be 100% sure, unless we find an interview of the writer. There could be innuendo, but ive heard this song so many times, and I never sensed innuendo.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

As QuothTheRavenClaw said, whomever he's singing to has won the game.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

But in your own words, you, a native speaker, do not understand what it is about, right?

Maybe it is about those ‘clouds in the coffee’ kinda things?

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I think if we could be sure of the game, it might help.

If there is no game that can be won 21 to zero, that would add weight to your interpretation.

But I never would have thought 21 drinking age and zip zipper. Even "you like it on top" could be interpreted two different ways, in my opinion.

The following score info contradicts the first ilink:
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-ping-pong-and-table... contradicts the table tennis link above

ingirumimusnocte, are you sure there's a variation of ping pong/table tennis that wins at 21?

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

Don’t they call it ‘the courtesy game“ or something like this when one team looses too many points, and there is no way for the team to win them back, so they just call the game off?

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Hmm, that might work.

Incidentally, I forgot to make my phone payment, so I won't be able to check messages for 24 hours.

Going to bed now. Must wake very early. Thanks everyone.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

BD, you surprise me... you pay 10 cents for every sack you ask them to put your groceries in, every time you shop, and you are struggling to pay your phone bill? Or maybe I misunderstood... Regular smile

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Not struggling, I simply forgot.

Also, we sort of have to put our trash in bags. So I re-use the bags a few times, but then I line the trash bin with them.

It is our culture to line our trash bins, although I think most people buy plastic bags for this purpose instead of paper.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

Sorry, I meant well..

I’ve been a recycling freak for ages, so I go to the store with recyclable bags

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/blacksea4ever" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1390089">BlackSea4ever</a>
Joined: 19.07.2018

It's funny, I came across this reference more than once, but as I drink my coffee, lol, as it cools, there are traces of milk that sure look like clouds. No, milk isn't sour.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/blacksea4ever" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1390089">BlackSea4ever</a>
Joined: 19.07.2018

No ping no pong... You play blackjack and 21 is great or zip = you are bust (not zero). Fits perfectly.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

You should really read Phil’s explanation, it explains all Wink smile

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Thank you!!!

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/blacksea4ever" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1390089">BlackSea4ever</a>
Joined: 19.07.2018

M, I stay away from all kind of snakes and also when I'm sent to f-off...lol...or it might illicit a comment from me.  Devil smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

D, you are cruel, and if are interested in “clouds in coffee”, check this

Guest
Guest

I seem to remember the winning score was 21 when I used to play ping pong, but apparently the official rules are different. Maybe it was just a local French custom? Or maybe the rules changed at some point? It's been quite a while since I last played Regular smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/igeethecat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1365086">Igeethecat</a>
Joined: 16.12.2017

Originals:

Doctor, doctor, give me the news
I got a bad case of lovin' you
No pill's gonna cure my ill
I got a bad case of lovin' you
I know you like it
You like it on top
Tell me, momma
Are you gonna stop?
You had me down, 21 to zip
Smile of Judas on your lip
Shake my fist, knock on wood
I've got it bad, and I've got it good
Doctor, doctor, give me the news
I got a bad case of lovin' you

I am totally confused - is he playing ping-pong with his mother?
And asking her to stop?
And ‘smile of Judas on mom’s lips?

And I am totally ignoring “You like it on top”

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017

Well, UD says that "To '21' something is to quit it, to give up on something." https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=21
This may be also helpful to understanding.

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

The winning score was 21 until the ITTF changed it to 15 early in 2001. This was really stupid of them, because the game had been getting shorter (apparently because of changes in paddle designs) and people thought it was now too short, but this change from 21 to 15 occurred less that a year after the increase in ball diameter from 38mm to 40mm to increase air resistance and thus slow things down - but it slowed things down by a lot less than the winning score change very soon afterwards shortened the game length.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Song written and originally recorded by John David "Moon" Martin, an American singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Born in Altus, Oklahoma in 1950, Martin gained recognition in the 1970s as a pop artist and composer. Originally a rockabilly artist, he wrote the songs "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)", made famous by the English singer Robert Palmer, and "Cadillac Walk", made famous by the American singer Willy DeVille.

~~~~~

After hearing ingirumimusnocte's comment (#5 "you can't really score zero at blackjack, and you don't even compare scores") and comparing it with BlackSea4ever's comment (#19 "You play blackjack and 21 is great or zip = you are bust"), I find it ironic that the exchange of info is, in and of itself, going back-and-forth like a ping pong ball.

Now that I think about it, this song is about attraction, and blackjack would be a "sexier" reference than ping pong. I think I've swayed my opinion back to blackjack.

(Aren't you glad I'm not on your jury, everyone?)

"You had me down, 21 to zip"

Repeating QuothTheRavenclaw's comment (#2), "the singer is saying that whomever he's singing to has won the game/won him over".

~~~~~

#25 Igee - Please forgive me. Is your question about "mama" ("momma") serious or a joke? Embarrassed smile

Guest
Guest

Phew! Thanks Tom, I questioned my sanity for a moment.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Thanks so much everyone. Very interesting conversation.

I'm going to mark this as SOLVED but feel free to offer further comments.

If no one objects, I would like put a link to this forum in the public comments under the song lyrics.

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