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Thread: Once-common, now rare song themes

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Once-common, now rare song themes

    No, not waiting for your honey to come back home from Germany or sitting in rumble seats.

    Listening to some songs from the 1970s, certain themes and phrases were very common, but now almost never seen in popular music today. For instance, "stealing away" - a staple of rock songs in the 1970s, but now something that makes most think "what the hell does 'stealing away' mean?" Rock songs about cars and driving are also now very rare, although rap has taken up the slack somewhat with Escalades, "20s" and "box Chevys" occasionally mentioned in songs, but cars are rarely the central theme. Suburban teenage rebellion in the 1970s has been replaced by emo suburban teenage angst today.

    What other themes used to be common in music not so long ago, but are now rare or nonexistent?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    What other themes used to be common in music not so long ago, but are now rare or nonexistent?
    Let's go to the Hop!
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    . Suburban teenage rebellion in the 1970s has been replaced by emo suburban teenage angst today.
    Same difference.

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    What other themes used to be common in music not so long ago, but are now rare or nonexistent?
    Seems like back in the late 60's/early 70's there were a lot more self-exploration/discovery songs ('Journey to the Center of the Mind' kinda thang) inspired by the psychadelic movement that rarely surfaces nowadays.

    Not sure if it's exactly the same thing, but it seems like 'concept' or 'theme' albums (e.g. the Wall) have all but vanished.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Male/female relations without explicit sex and/or violence (ie, a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant day)?

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Just plain ol' partyin' has been a rare theme in rock music since hair-metal disappeared. Most bands are intent on being either lyrically sophisticated or dark and aggressive. Hip-Hop gets to have all the fun.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    Just plain ol' partyin' has been a rare theme in rock music since hair-metal disappeared. Most bands are intent on being either lyrically sophisticated or dark and aggressive. Hip-Hop gets to have all the fun.
    Fully agreed here. Of all of the songs released last year (2004), the one that most caught my ear was Move Ya Body by Nina Sky. It is a very simple, light tune about just having fun at a nightclub that I first heard while driving into Chicago on the Edens Expressway during a cross-country roadtrip.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    themes/tunes

    WMMS in Cleveland used to kick off every weekend with "Born to Run" by the Boss.
    others:
    Bikers - "Born to be Wild." Steppenwolf
    Psychedelia: "In-a-gadda-da-vida." Iron Butterfly
    Hippies: "Teach your Children." CSNY
    Nixon tributes: "It's OK Ma, I'm Only Bleeding." Bob Dylan
    "Monster" Steppenwolf
    "Ohio" CSNY
    WALSTIB

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Not sure if it's exactly the same thing, but it seems like 'concept' or 'theme' albums (e.g. the Wall) have all but vanished.
    On a similar note, rock songs inspired by or payng tribute to blues music, many of which strayed from the artist's niche much like concept and theme albums. Used to be very common in the 1970s and 1980s, but now it seems like it's extremely rare.

    Mythology and medieval themes also seem lost, but they remain to some extent in extremely pretentious progressive rock.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    don't hear too many songs about good ole fashion cocaine any more.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    themes

    Getting run out of a bar for dancing with someone's ole' lady.
    Last edited by Tom R; 10 Nov 2005 at 1:25 PM.
    WALSTIB

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    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    In the 80s, Don Johnson's Heartbeat put emphasis on the concept of a relationship unmotivated by capital. Today we don't seem to have this caliber of music.

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    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Man With a Plan
    In the 80s, Don Johnson's Heartbeat put emphasis on the concept of a relationship unmotivated by capital. Today we don't seem to have this caliber of music.
    I'd have to echo that sentiment. Don Johnson rocks!

    Anyways... I remember listening to a presentation from someone from the IDA (International Dark Sky) association... they had mentioned something about references to stars or the night sky disappearing from modern music. Haven't really looked into whether it was true or not, but it would be interesting to find out.
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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Not sure if it's exactly the same thing, but it seems like 'concept' or 'theme' albums (e.g. the Wall) have all but vanished.
    Not completely true:

    Jay-Z: The Black Album (tribute to life and career)
    Biggie Smalls: Ready to Die (rise and fall of a crack dealer turned MC)
    Outkast (Andre 3000): The Love Below (the coupling and break-up of a man and woman)
    Del the Funkee Homosapien: Deltron 3030 (a hip-hop album set in the year 3030)

  14. #14
    I'd have to listen to modern music to know what is missing
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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    I'd have to listen to modern music to know what is missing
    I'm in the same boat. But I don't think there's been a song written about leaving a cake in the rain because it was so hard to make in a while.
    Last edited by noottamevas; 10 Nov 2005 at 3:29 PM.

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I like 70s songs that mention "shacking up." Whoever uses that term anymore?!?

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    On a similar note, rock songs inspired by or payng tribute to blues music, many of which strayed from the artist's niche much like concept and theme albums. Used to be very common in the 1970s and 1980s, but now it seems like it's extremely rare.
    I really enjoy listening to Aerosmith's Honkin' on Bobo, released in 2003, in which they cover 12 old blues songs, while adding a hard rockin' gritty sound to 'em as well. Probably the hardest album they've done since the 70s or 80s.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    I like 70s songs that mention "shacking up." Whoever uses that term anymore?!?
    I still say "shackin' up"! In fact I have said it three times this week...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  18. #18
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    Hip hop is still all about the bitches...
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

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    Quote Originally posted by GeogPlanner
    Hip hop is still all about the bitches...
    I remember when early hip-hop was all about the party. Kurtis Blow and the Sugarhill Gang and others just used to rap about how well they could rock the party and keep it goin' 'till the break of dawn.

    Once Grandmaster Flash came out with "The Message", everyone wanted to rap about ghetto conditions -- but they did it as "ghetto reporters", not as participants. NWA blew up because they rapped about the ghetto and glorified its lifestyle.

    Hip hop hasn't been the same since.

  20. #20
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    I remember when early hip-hop was all about the party.
    Yeah...I miss party hip hop from 1989-1991.

    I'm with gkmo62u. You don't hear song about good ole recereational drug use anymore. Now...you just get to hear the angst/rage filled lamenting over the effects of drug abuse....feh....
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    Male/female relations without explicit sex and/or violence (ie, a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant day)?

    Mike
    This is the first song that came to mind.

    Jill Scott - "A Long Walk"

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jillscott/alongwalk.html

  23. #23
    spokanite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Not completely true:

    Jay-Z: The Black Album (tribute to life and career)
    Biggie Smalls: Ready to Die (rise and fall of a crack dealer turned MC)
    Outkast (Andre 3000): The Love Below (the coupling and break-up of a man and woman)
    Del the Funkee Homosapien: Deltron 3030 (a hip-hop album set in the year 3030)
    Don't forget Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime!

    Quote Originally posted by Man With a Plan
    In the 80s, Don Johnson's Heartbeat put emphasis on the concept of a relationship unmotivated by capital. Today we don't seem to have this caliber of music.
    I agree, and would include Eddie Murphy's "She likes to party all the time". Who could forget that eternal chorus:

    "My girl wants to party all the time
    party all the time."

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Dare I say it - the phrase "boogie" - as in "boogie oogie oogie till you die..."

  25. #25
    Top 40 songs that aren't all about f*cking.

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