This song is about me or the post in which I realize I'm old and just don't get today's music.

By kenny friedman on Thursday, January 13, 2011

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A few months ago Staci, Miloh and I took a road trip to the fabulous city of Dubuque. My iPod was packed in the trunk... oops, there wasn't enough music on our phones and data service was spotty so Pandora was hard to use.

Life's tough, right?

So we were stuck with the middle of nowhere radio... which in all honestly I like because it's always an interesting search and it's the only time I get to hear Boston or Kansas.

And while listening to an 80s station I made the comment that music has changed in that when I was kid the songs about women where more pining for them, rather than being so confident that the guy would hook up... like I feel they are today. And that insecure pining was great and became the soundtrack to all John Hughes movies.

Which made me wonder whether my observation was right, which of course it is because I'm never wrong. It also made me wonder what the top songs were when I was born.

Also what will be popular music when Miloh starts finding out what he likes and buying some records... okay, those don't exist but you know what I mean.

So I decided to compare the music from the year I was born (1973), the year I started buying records (1985... I might have bought sooner but I looked at Top 100s and this is when I the stuff I really liked hit the top 10) and music from the year Miloh was born (2010).

I'd add the music from the year he turns 12, but honestly if I could somehow do that I would be spending my time in the music industry so I could gear up to make a killing.

So here are the Top 10s of those years... with my thoughts on them.

Number one:
1973 – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Wow... I'm starting with a snooze fest (sorry to my mom, mother-in-law and all their peers). I have to admit when I checked out a video of it I thought Tony Orlando had a good voice... but I could only stand it for 40 seconds... and isn't that song supposed to be sung by a woman?

1985 – Careless Whisper by Wham! 1985 redeems the list. While it's your general break-up song he's totally pining... I probably listend to this song after each of the three times I was dumped in 6th grade. One of those times was by Kris Petty when she dumped me at the Jefferson memorial on a class trip to D.C... f-ing bitch.

2010 – TiK ToK by Ke$ha. Here's the deal...Staci leaves the car radio on the station that plays this song... and sometimes in the morning I'm too tired to change it... so on the times I drive I often hear it... and I simultaneously hate it... like really hate it... but it's so freaking catchy that it ropes me in. Then I remember I hate it... and not only because Ke$ha puts a dollar sign in her name. I'd talk about what it means but there's no really meaning to it at all.


Number two:
1973 – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce. I've been to the south side of Chicago and luckily never ran into Leroy Brown... I'm glad because he sounds bad. I dig this super crazy old song (oh wait, that makes me super old). I think Croce should have one a Nobel Prize for warning folks of this terror from the south side... it's a PSA you can tap your foot to.

1985 – Like A Virgin by Madonna. Holy shit this was hot... as a 12 year-old I was loving Madonna and her uber-hotness. And to the Katy Perry and Ke$ha's of the world... you'll never come close to being Madonna... sorry. You'll probably also be interested to know that I wore those black Madonna bracelets that everyone wore... so much cooler than Silly Bandz.

2010 – Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Wow, this is such a fantastic song that I feel like I grew up listening to it... oh sorry... I was thinking about Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project. I'm blown away that such an obvious rip off hit number two... well I guess I'm not surprised, music is really blah now.


Number three:
1973 – Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack. This is a song about an assassin who instead of using a gun or knife uses his song to kill people... pretty ingenious when you think about it. It would be a much nicer way to go to war... much less messy than bombs. Actually I love this song... kind of haunting... remember when singers had good voices without having to be over produced? And the Fugees Cover is fantastic too... what's the chance a Ke$ha song will be covered in 23 years? Zero, the answer is zero.

1985 – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! Two songs in the Top 5. Remember when whole albums were good? Dudes got Jitterbug and Doris Day into the song lyrics and still hit number one. This kind of gets to my point about pathetic guys singing about getting dumped... or in this case left alone in bed in the morning. Also, a little known fact is George Michael came out one minute and seven seconds into the video... just check that outfit and tell me you didn't guess it back then.

2010 – Hey, Soul Sister by Train. I have a couple songs by Train on my iPod generally like them because I don't need to think at all when I listen to them. I watched the video and actually love what they do with the type (yeah I did research for this post). But when I see the band (and listen to the song) I just see/hear a facade.. nothing deep. I do however love that David Copperfield is the lead singer. I should Add that I love that they mention Mister Mister...



Number four:
1973 – Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye. I had no idea what this song was about so I read the lyrics... apparently it's about getting it on. I guess this one shows that in 1973 dudes were super confident like they are today... there must have just been some neurosis in the 80s... or I can just be wrong about my earlier hypothesis... but that's unpossible.

1985 – I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner. Dude just wants to know what love is... he wants you to show him. This is what I'm talking about... he's gonna take some time to look around because he's been beaten down, by heartache and pain that he isn't sure if he can face again, and he's begging for some loving. He's not all "I'm gonna go to a club and hook up with some chick." Little known fact: Foreigner, Survivor and Night Ranger are three bands that under pressure I couldn't name a song they sing.

2010 – California Gurls by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dog. I totally don't get this song... she's not even singing... and she's not rapping... it's so incredibly horrible, there's nothing to this song. I'd say it was total bubble gum but I like bubble gum. Oh... and I apparently own it... thanks Staci (love you).


Number five:
1973 – My Love by Paul McCartney. According to the Wikipedia this was the most successful song of the album Red Rose Speedway... that album must truly suck. There are only 5 words in the song so I can't really talk about what it means... it is probably a great song to put kids to sleep to.

1985 – I Feel For You by Chaka Khan.  Not going to say much about this as I wasn't a Chaka fan because I'm a dude... but I do love that Melle Mel starts the song out. Remember when rap was good?

2010 – OMG by Usher feat. will.i.am. This song actually follows what I thought the 80s songs were... he's liking this girl but he's not cocky about hooking up with her. It does however differ from the 80s because back then rap/hip hop was good.

Number six:
1973 – Why Me by Kris Kristofferson. Well, no women in this one... just a bunch of whining, some tambourine and a whole lotta religion.

1985 – Out Of Touch by Hall and Oates. I think this is one of those semi-pine over a girl songs. I can't tell for sure because Hall and/or Oates must have gone to William S. Burroughs for help on the lyrics. Like the song though... video's a bit whacked out.

2010 – Airplanes by B.O.B feat. Hayley Williams Of Paramore. I kind of like this song... but it if I'm going to listen to a song about wishes it will be I Wish by Skee Lo.

Number seven:
1973 – Crocodile Rock by Sir Elton John. Just a catchy little song about the music of the 60's sung by a gentleman in a metallic suit with some big ass shoes and a top hat to match.

1985 – Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears for Fears. I played the keyboard for a short time... wanted to learn because of The Cars... but this was the first song I learned to play. If there was a gun to my head I could probably pound out the melody one key at a time... such a great song still.

2010 – Love The Way You Lie by Eminem feat. Rihanna. I want to hate Eminem because he's a total ass, hates Moby and is homophobic... but he does have a fantastic voice. Problem is all his break out songs are the same. It's always about how he hates the woman he loves/loved/wants to love and he peppers in some domestic violence. But then he throws in some great vocals of Rihanna or Dido and I get hooked. Then I remember he's a dick.


Number eight:
1973 – Will It Go Round In Circles by Billy Preston. When you think of 70s music you think of this song, right? Nope, no you don't. Nobody does. I think the first time I heard it was 2 minutes ago. It's about a song with no melody or some crap like that.

1985 – Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. The video, which looks like it could have been made today, was on heavy rotation on MTV, which is funny to me because it bashes MTV. In my wiki search I learned people are pissed because they use the word "faggot" and such. Maybe I'm an uncaring asshole (who has many gay friends and family) but the deal is he's singing in character... and it makes sense for him to use the words. Just mentioning that now because as you may have heard someone is making a clean copy of Huckleberry Finn. You can't change history folks, and in art people need to use certain words to get the point of a character across. In Huck Finn Twain was actually calling attention to racism... not saying Knopfler is Twain but... whatever.

2010 – Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Gaga is like Andy Kaufman. They both rely on their act for fame. In reality she's a really whitebread super boring singer. Any one can sing that crap. But she plays a part and people love her... I'm not one of those people... I'll stick with Kaufman (or Zach Galifianakis who I'm also convinced is doing a Kaufman when it comes to his stand up.)


Number nine:
1973 – You're So Vain by Carly Simon. I totally thought this song was about me and maybe my birth was the party I was walking into... but it was released in '72 so I guess I'm wrong. I love, love, love this song.

1985 – Crazy For You by Madonna. I totally thought this song was about me.

2010 – Dynamite by Taio Cruz. Finally I get to a song about a cocky guy going to a club. Took awhile but this is what I'm talking about. This kind of cockiness is all in pop music while I had great pining like "If You Leave" or "Jessie's Girl." What I do like about this song that dude who does an all voice version. Oh... but from the title I thought the song was about me.

Number ten:
1973 – Touch Me In The Morning by Diana Ross. It's basically the precursor to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

1985 – Take On Me by A-Ha. "I'll be coming for your love, okay?" Dude's asking permission for said love. That's what I'm talking about. Did you know this song has a video? Another song I used to be able to play on the keyboard.

2010 – Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris. I think this is the same exact song as Dynamite but with a different video. What I like about Cruz is he has a really pronounced stutter but still sings anyway... and this has opened up to other singers with stutters to get big... like Lady Gaga in Poker Face or that other person in that other song that I can't think of. You know the one.

So that's the comparison of the songs from when I was born, when Miloh was born and when I started buying music. The thing is my hypothesis is unproven because songs from dudes singing about girls apparently just don't make it to the top ten year-end charts. Something to think about if you're a musician.

Still I'm right about guys from the 80s being more piney and the ones from now being super cocky. I like the pining... and like I said before so did John Hughes. Imagine Duckie Dale if you had to use the music of today for the soundtrack.

And I think we can all agree that while the songs of the year I was born weren't all hits the songs of this year were mostly crap... That's a fact.


Ladies and gentlemen... Rick Springfield.



7 comments:

  1. Thank you for pointing out why I think that Lady A song is so familiar. They totally ripped off Allan Parsons and now I'm pissed for singing along in my car! And "Jessie's Girl" was totally my jam when I was two. There are many photos and eight track recordings of me singing it from start to finish while air-guitaring with a broom. I was rad.

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  2. I love Skee Lo!!!


    Also, to continue this theme of Jessie's girl, my husband is named Jesse and someone thought it would be cute to play that song at our wedding. MORTIFYING (please note we were married in 2007).

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  3. Well said. I love 80's music...and my 5-year-old's favorite songs are Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Kyrie by Mr. Mister. Hopefully he can continue the trend and avoid the boner jams of the future.

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  4. Okay, dude I am OLD. I was in High School when Madonna came out.

    I concur with 98% of your observations here.

    Music today for the most part sucks.

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  5. OK, here goes my answers to the comments:

    @amber wow on the 8-track. I never had an 8 track machine, not even that robot thing.

    @C totally sounds mortifying... what was going through their mind unless they secretly liked you (or the DJ was an idiot)

    @katee he's not jamming to broken wings? Kyrie is a good song too.

    @mommy Lisa. I'm assuming the 98% has a +/- range of 2, because I'm right about it all.

    And to clarify a question (not here) about the madonna bracelets, dudes did where them... the black ones and only one or two at a time. That's a fact.

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  6. Our baby Getty loves when Daddy sings the 80s tunes to her!

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  7. This was awesome. That is all.

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