Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Anachronistic Songs, Part 1 of 2

One meaning of anachronism
a person or a thing that seems to belong to the past and not to fit in the present
Common characteristics of an anachronistic song, usually the song having been out at least a few decades ago:
  • It includes a term that was popular or a norm in a particular era "long ago".
  • It includes a term that the definition has shifted over time.
  • It is more likely now to be considered culturally or politically insensitive than in the past.
  • It contains reference to a year number.
Two songs that harken to quaint norms from a few decades ago are "Slow Down" (Beatles) and "Take a Letter Maria" (R. B. Greaves).
  • From "Slow Down"
    "Well I used to walk you home baby after school
    Carry your books home, too"
  • From "Take a Letter Maria"
    "So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife.
    Send a copy to my lawyer."
    People don't take dictation anymore.
For a blast to past, "groove" to the following songs:
  • "Groovin'"—Young Rascals
  • "Groovy Kind of Love"—Wayne Fontana and Mindbenders
  • "Feeling Groovy"—Simon and Garfunkle
  • "Shake Your Groove Thing"—Peaches & Herb
The following songs have titles, lyrics, artists, or mix of these three items that stand out for anachronisms:
  • "Uptight Out of Sight", by Stevie Wonder, originally had positive meaning, as the lyrics indicate. At times, however, both "uptight" and "out of sight" were also negative terms. Around the same time, James Brown's "Out of Sight" was clearly a positive expression. Coincidentally, his lyrics also contain "uptight".
  • "The Rapper", by The Jaggerz, came out in 1970, long preceding the music form called rap in the 1980s.
    "Rap, rap, rap, they call him the Rapper."
    This song came out in the late 60s. Rapping meant casual conversation at that time. In the 80s, rapping meant spoken rather than sung music—rap music. Sometime later, the term hip-hop seems to have replaced the term "rap".
Straights, Hippies, Gays
Straight used to mean not-hippie.
  • "The Straight Life"—Bobby Goldsboro
    "Leaving the straight life behind"
  • "Some Velvet Morning"—Sinatra/Hazelwood
    "Some velvet mornin' when I'm straight"
  • "Mohair Sam"—Charlie Rich
    "Who is the hippie that's
    Happenin' all over our town …
    Good lookin' Mohair Sam"
    "Hippie" had undergone meaning even while Charlie Rich used the term in "Mohair Sam".
  • "Deck the Halls"—numerous artists
    "Don we now our gay apparel"

"Anachronistic Songs, Part 2 of 2" covers other blasts from the past—unPC-ness, dimes and related costs, and years.


Anonymous said...

Let me tell you 'bout a place / Somewhere up-a New York way / Where the people are so gay / Twistin' the night away

whilldtkwriter said...


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