Sunday, April 22, 2012


It’s no secret that I’m a fan of oldies music…play me something from the ‘40s or ‘50s and I’ll be in my happy place. I know it’s not normal for someone my age, but before you tell me that the cure is a healthy dose of David Guetta, stop to think for a second about what he’s actually singing about. There’s no question about the fact that lyrics have deteriorated hugely over the past few decades. Yes, there are still people who manage to write great things, but these are few and far between: “Is there still magic in the midnight sun, or did you leave it back in ’61, in the cadence of a young man’s eyes…”; “I lit a fire that wouldn’t go out, until it consumed the walls and roof of this house, until all I remember was burning away…”; “So lying underneath those stormy skies, she said ‘oooh, I know the sun must set to rise’ “. But on the whole, commercial music nowadays lacks greatly in the lyrical department. Don’t believe me? Please see my examples below:

Missing someone:
Then: “Each day I pray for evening just to be with you, together at last at twilight time.” (The Platters, Twilight Time)
Now: “Girl you know I miss ya, I just wanna kiss ya but I can’t right now so baby kiss me thru da fone.” (Soulja Boy, Kiss Me Thru The Phone)

Then: “Why does the sun go on shining, why does the sea rush to shore, don't they know it's the end of the world, cause you don't love me anymore.” (The Carpenters - covered by everyone else- The End of the World)
Now: “I was like baby, baby, baby, ooooh, like baby, baby baby, oooh, like baby, baby, baby, oooh, I thought you’d always be mine.” (Justin Bieber, Baby)

Looking for love…:
Then: “Each morning I get up I die a little, can barely stand on my feet, take a look in the mirror and cry…can anybody find me somebody to love.” (Queen, Somebody To Love)
Now: “Where dem girls at, whoooohoooo” (David Guetta, Where Dem Girls At)

Lack of money:
Then: “So how can you tell me you’re lonely, and say for you that the sun doesn’t shine, oh let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London, I’ll show you something to make you change your mind.” (Roger Whitaker, Streets of London)
Now: “I need a dollar, dollar, dollar is what I need.” (Aloe Blacc, I Need A Dollar)

Falling for someone:
Then: “Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring, bound by wild desire, I fell into a ring of fire.” (Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire)
Now: “You spin my head right round, right round, when you go down, when you go down down.” (Flo-Rida, Right Round)

Then: The warden threw a party in the county jail, the prison band was there and they began to wail, the band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing, you should've heard them knocked-out jailbirds sing.” (Elvis, Jailhouse Rock)
Now: “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.” (Rebecca Black, Friday)

Gambling analogies:
Then: "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run, you never count your money when you're sitting at the table, there'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done." (Kenny Rogers - The Gambler)
Now: "Shut up and put your money where your mouth is." (Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas)

Then: “Well, I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert.” (Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down)
Now: “I got a hangover, whoa, I been drinkin’ too much fo’ sho…” (Flo-Rida, Hangover)

OK, let’s forget about that last one, clearly not much change there…

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the more recent songs - or, by extension, people who like them- I'm just saying that the differences in lyrics are worth consideration next time someone rolls their eyes at me for getting excited when I hear Johnny Cash. 

1 comment:

  1. Farah! This needed to be written! I absolutely love it :)
    Now excuse me while I visit Johhny ;)