The following is a comparative piece: an examination of Eras and the differences that come along with generational gaps. The years in question and the focus of this article will be 1965 and 2015. The main topic of examination shall be musical lyrics; more specifically, the difference between the top songs of then versus the top songs of now.
Much has changed over the past fifty years but in many ways, much has remained the same. The political structure remains flawed. Lyndon Johnson couldn’t get it right in 1965 and Barack Obama faces struggles of his own in 2015. The system has never really worked and will probably not remedy itself anytime soon.
Surprisingly, fifty years later, racial injustice continues to peak its ugly head into every day society. In 1965 as level-headed human beings fought for Civil Rights, bigotry dominated much of the streets – which sadly continues in 2015 as the notion of “equality for all” continues to allude citizens of this planet as many are fed a steady diet of ignorance and hatred.
In 1965, the universal wave of Free Love was being spread by the youth with great optimism and hope for future generations. However, our generation has lost the ideals of Free Love; caring more about free WiFi than love for your brother. Yes, we have gone mad – no longer “turning on” to LSD but tearing off faces while strung out on bath salts.
One thing that has remained a constant from 1965 until 2015 is the love of music. While the industry has seen better days, music will never die but it has changed, drastically. The top 10 hits of 1965 sound nothing like the current top 10 hits of 2015.
Now then, let’s compare:
10. My Girl vs. Earned It
“My Girl” by The Temptations vs. “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” by The Weeknd.
The biggest difference between these two tunes is the automatic feeling one gets while listening. “My Girl” is a euphoric and upbeat look at love while “Earned It”discusses love in a very drab and monotonous manner.
Each song is essentially about loving a special woman but The Weeknd wrote this track for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie which instantly takes away from the innocence level. Meanwhile, The Temptations take the listener to a place of peaceful romance – more fun and less filth.
9. Crying in the Chapel vs. Honey, I’m Good
“Crying in the Chapel” by Elvis Presley vs. “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer
“Crying in the Chapel” may have been popularized by “The King” but it was not written by Elvis. The spiritual tune was penned by a man name Artie Glenn for his son, Darrell who recorded and released the song in 1953.
The tune speaks of a lost soul of sorts who finds solace and redemption in the chapel with the Lord – often encouraging prayer throughout the number. “Crying in the Chapel” could hold some profound meaning for those who believe but for those who don’t, this is just another boring Church song.
Nonbelievers may find themselves relating more to “Honey, I’m Good,” by Andy Grammer: a song that is literally about a man fighting off the temptations of another woman because of the girl he has at home. However, the song goes on to compliment the woman in question quite a bit, even referencing “that ass.” There is definitely a sleazy undertone to this song.
8. Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat vs. Hey Mama
This is an awful comparison of two blatantly corny songs – each for their own reasons. “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” has your typical mid ’60s sound – nothing threatening or controversial – just a nice little love song about that girl that everybody was singing about at the time but at least the cheese factor of “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” is enough to make you smile.
“Hey Mama” on the other hand is just another generic electro-dance number which has been laced with a little hip hop. Let’s distinguish something right now: the DJ is not a musician or an artist. The DJ is simply a laptop loser who fears daylight and real artistry. Anyway, “Hey Mama” is packed with sexual innuendo, bad voices, and terrible lyrics. Songs like this play a large role in the dumbing down of the Next Generation.
7. Help! vs. Want To Want Me
“Help!” by The Beatles vs. “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo
This is not even a fair comparison. How can Jason Derulo compare to the greatest pop group of all time in any capacity? “Help!” was written by the legendary John Lennon (credited to Lennon-McCartney) following The Beatles’ quick rise to fame. According to Lennon, the song was his personal cry for “Help!”
“Want To Want Me” is a song about a guy on his way to see a girl and all the while he is longing for her to “want him.” Pretty intense compared to what Lennon was talking about, right? And what’s with Jason Derulo’s voice? Derulo sings this song in a tone that makes the listener believe he was sitting on his testicles throughout the recording session.
6. Downtown vs. Uptown Funk
“Downtown” by Petula Clark vs. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Coincidentally, the next entry places Downtown against Uptown … “Downtown,” while recorded by Petula Clark was written by Tony Hatch – a songwriter/producer – while strolling around New York City and taking in the atmosphere. The song itself provides the listener with a walking feel of the great city.
“Uptown Funk” is a number that combines the elements of disco with ’80s pop music, sprinkled with a dash of doo-wop while also taking the listener on a journey through places such as Harlem, Hollywood, and Jackson – proving that whether you’re Downtown or Uptown, something is going on and someone is getting down.
5. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ vs. Shut Up and Dance
“You’ve Lost The Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers vs. “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” is a sad tune about the loss of love and the desperation to rekindle a flame that has already been extinguished – burnt out romance that once shone brightly that has grown dim, on the verge of disappearance.
“Shut Up and Dance” is a catchy indie-rock song with a simple backstory: Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals) was out at a bar with his girlfriend. When he became frustrated with the service and his inability to obtain a drink, his girlfriend told him to “shut up and dance.” The song was composed based on the experiences of that night.
Evidently, losing love and losing patience can both lead to a hit song.
4. You Were on My Mind vs. Cheerleader
“You Were on My Mind” by We Five vs. “Cheerleader” by OMI
We Five were a group that hung around the music scene during the famous Folk Revival years. While not the most memorable group of the Era, We Five found a hit with a cover of the Ian and Sylvia (folk/country duo) song, “You Were on My Mind.” The song itself is not much of a tale: someone woke up someday and had somebody else on their mind.
OMI is a Jamaican-born singer whose reggae influences can be heard within his song “Cheerleader.” Although, this is far from being a Bob Marley track, the song is an ode to a woman who basically stands by and supports her significant other with the implication being that the singer has found the right woman. However, the song repeats that he thinks he found himself a “cheerleader.”
Waking up thinking about somebody and thinking you might have a cheerleader on your side? Sure why not? Neither track is going to go down as the greatest song ever written anyway.
3. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction vs. Trap Queen
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones vs. “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap
The idea of comparing The Rolling Stones to Fetty Wap is enough to make a man’s stomach turn. However, such is the circumstance of this list, therefore let’s clarify that there is absolutely no comparison between “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Trap Queen.”
The Rollings Stones track is a rock-and-roll classic – a tune that is blasted at parties and gatherings to this day. The Fetty Wap track is about a dude and his girlfriend sticking it out through his drug dealing days – romance at its finest.
Fetty Wap likes to talk about “getting high with his baby.” Nice sentiment, but neither Fetty Wap or his baby could hang one night with Keith Richards.
2. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) vs. Bad Blood
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” seems like the kind of song that Taylor Swift would sing aloud while dancing around her apartment with her cats. Then again, the Motown love song can have that affect on many people.
“Bad Blood” is another Taylor Swift song which was written from a personal place. This time about an unnamed female musician who supposedly attempted to sabotage one of Swift’s concerts. The female in question has been said to be Katy Perry.
One of these tracks is a sugary-coated display of affection while the other delves into the world of betrayal and broken friendships. Not much for similarities but who cares? Just keep dancing with the cats.
1. Wooly Bully vs. See You Again
“Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs vs. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
“Wooly Bully” is a song which to some seems incoherent and misplaced – depending on the listener. The song is essentially a conversation between two youths with a desire to dance.
“See You Again” was written and recorded for Furious 7 as a tribute to the film’s late star, Paul Walker – an emotional offering for a fallen friend.
Comparison: while these songs live on opposite sides of the tracks, the underlining theme whether it is a fun dance number or paying tribute to comrade remains friendship.
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