This puzzle is about John Perry Barlow's 25 Principles of Adult Behavior (which he wrote when he turned 30). (Also recall that Barlow had a professional career as a songwriter!)
We present 22 song clips, each of which has lyrics that on their face seem to violate, or refer to someone's violation of, a different one of Barlow's 25 principles.
The clips are presented in alphabetical order by performer for confirmation. The Barlow principle violated by the clip should be used as a letter (A = 1, B = 2, C = 3).✆ Marc ANTHONY, "I Need to Know"
Tell me what you're feeling 'cause I need to know
Girl, you gotta let me know which way to go
'Cause I need to know, I need to know [etc.]
violates Barlow #7 ("Tolerate ambiguity") → letter G.
✤ Torrie BANKS, "Don't Think I Could Forgive You"
Yeah, our hands will get more wrinkled and our hair will be gray
Don't think I could forgive you
violates Barlow #21 ("Forgive") → letter U.
✎ Dan BERN, "Jerusalem"
It's like everybody's waiting
They've been a long time
I know how I hate to wait
Like even for a bus or something
An important phone call
So I can just imagine
How darned impatient
Everybody must be getting
violates Barlow #1 ("Be patient. No matter what") → letter A.
✫ BIG Bad Voodoo Daddy, "She's Always Right (I'm Never Wrong)"
'Cause baby when we fight
She's always right, I'm never wrong
violates Barlow #9 ("Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right") → letter I [distinguished from #10 "Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong" by the added focus on another person's rightness]
➔ BOAT Show, "Suss"
I gotta suss you out
I don't trust your motives
violates Barlow #3 ("Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you") → letter C
✪ CAKE, "The Distance"
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild they pour through the turns
violates Barlow #12 ("Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another") → letter L.
✇ Perry COMO, "It's Impossible"
Tell the sun to leave the sky
It's just impossible
Ask a baby not to cry
It's just impossible
violates Barlow #4 ("Expand your sense of the possible") → letter D.
✺ The DENTISTS, "Strawberries Are Growing in My Garden"
Nothing to do
Nothing to show for my life
violates Barlow #23 ("Live memorably") → letter W.
✧ Cee Lo GREEN, "Fuck You"
See you driving 'round town with the girl I love
And I'm like "Fuck you!"
I guess the change in my pocket wasn't enough
I'm like "Fuck you and fuck her too!"
violates Barlow #2 ("Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face") → letter B.
✦ Jori HULKKONEN, "Don't Believe in Happiness"
Don't, don't believe in happiness [2×]
violates Barlow #19 ("Become less suspicious of joy") → letter S.
✂ KID Cudi, "Pursuit of Happiness"
I'll be fine once once I get it
I'll be good
I'm on the pursuit of happiness
violates Barlow #15 ("Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that") → letter O. [It seems that Barlow aspired to be wary of aiming directly at happiness as a primary goal in life, but not suspicious of experiencing happiness. This seems to agree with a number of psychologists' and philosophers' recommendations.]
❄ MABEL, "High Expectations"
Make mountains move
That's all I want from you
violates Barlow #6 ("Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver") → letter F.
✈ Kate MAKI, "To Please"
I don't care what you want
Don't care what you need
I got myself to please
violates Barlow #14 ("Learn the needs of those around you and respect them") → letter N.
✱ The MONKEES, "Not Your Stepping Stone"
I, I, I, I, I'm not your stepping stone [2×]
violates Barlow #16 ("Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun") → letter P.
✉ Of MONTREAL, "Like Ashoka's Inferno of Memory"
Music starts and I woke
I can't laugh at myself
violates Barlow #8 ("Laugh at yourself frequently") → letter G.
❤ MONTY Python, "I'm So Worried"
And I'm so worried about
The baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow
I'm so worried about the fashions today
I don't think they're good for your feet
violates Barlow #5 ("Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change") → letter E.
✻ NF, "Hate Myself"
And I wish I could help
But it's hard when I hate myself
violates Barlow #24 ("Love yourself") → letter X.
✓ PHINEAS and Ferb, "Give Up"
It's time for you to throw in the towel
Capitulate and raise the white flag
But don't be bitter just because you're a quitter
You can even hold your head up and brag:
That's right, you gave up
violates Barlow #25 ("Endure") → letter Y.
✿ Jeremy RENNER, "Never Sorry"
I never said I was sorry
I ain't sorry
violates Barlow #18 ("Never let your errors pass without admission") → letter R.
✒ SIMON and Garfunkel, "The Boxer"
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving!"
But the fighter still remains
violates Barlow #11 ("Give up blood sports") → letter K.
✕ Kanye WEST, "I Am a God"
I just talked to Jesus
He said "What up, Yeezus?"
I said "Shit, I'm chillin'
Tryin' to stack these millions"
I know he the most high
But I am a close high
violates Barlow #20 ("Understand humility") → letter T.
✾ Weird Al YANKOVIC, "The Check's in the Mail"
Well, we're working on the problem
We'll get back to you soon
But don't try to call me
I'll be in a meeting every afternoon
For a year, maybe longer,
Keep in touch, thanks for dropping by
And have a nice day!
The check's in the mail, you're beautiful,
Don't ever change,
You know what I mean.
violates Barlow #13 ("Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)") → letter M.
These letters can then be plugged in to the diagram at the bottom to form the clue
THE WORDS OF THE XS ARE WRITTEN ON THE SUBWAY WALLS AND TENEMENT HALLS AND WHISPERED IN THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE SIMON AND GARFUNKELThis lyric is completed by replacing the X with the word PROPHET.