Decline Of American
Culture - Lyrics Then & Now

From Olivia
Hi Jeff,
You and your guests talk a lot about the decline of American culture, and a little research I did on the matter reinforced that point nicely.
I looked at Billboard's top ten of their 'Hot 100' songs (which uses both radio plays and sales to rank songs) for 2003. I summarized the theme(s) of each song in a couple of words and extracted a sample lyric. If the song contained any 'mystery lyrics' -- those written in whatever passes as 'English' these days, but which have no meaning to the average educated person -- I included those as well.
I then did the same thing for the year 1981, the year I graduated high school. (Since songs were written in 'real' English 20 years ago, there are no 'mystery lyrics' among those songs.)
The differences are profound. Whilst the 1981 lyrics wax poetic about love and relationships, the 2003 lyrics are an orgy of sex, violence and drugs. Oh, yes and a good helping of obsessive 'love.' A sad comment on the state of our culture, don't you think?
And before anyone protests that sex, drugs and violence were also themes in songs from the 80s (or 70s or 60s), let me just say that this little exercise was not meant as exhaustive research, but rather to show the differences in the 10 MOST POPULAR, MOST LISTENED TO songs for each year I researched.
Read it and open your eyes to where we are headed.
2003 Billboard Hot 100 (Top 10)
1. 50 Cent - 'In Da Club'
[sex, drugs, alcohol, violence]
You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed
mystery lyric:
But homie ain't nothing change hold down, G's up
I see Xzibit in the Cutt that nigga roll that weed up
2. R. Kelly - 'Ignition'
Girl, please let me stick my key in your ignition, babe
So I can get this thing started and get rollin', babe
See, I'll be doin' about 80 on your freeway
Girl, I won't stop until I drive you crazy
3. Sean Paul - 'Get Busy'
It's all good girl turn me on
'Til the early morn'
Let's get it on
Let's get it on 'til the early morn'
Girl it's all just turn me on
mystery lyric:
Me want fi see you get live 'pon the riddim weh we ride
4. Beyonce Knowles - 'Crazy In Love'
[obsessive love]
Got me looking so crazy, my baby
I'm not myself lately
I'm foolish, i don't do this
I've been playing myself
Baby i don't care
Cuz your love got the best of me
And baby you're making a fool of me
You got me sprung and i don't care who sees
Cuz baby you got me so crazy
mystery lyric:
Young hova
Ya'll know when the flow is loco
Young b and the r-o-c uh oh
O-G, big homie
The one and only
Stick boney but the pockets are fat like ton
5. 3 Doors Down - 'When I'm Gone'
[obsessive love]
Everything I am
And everything in me
wants to be the one
You wanted me to be
I'll never let you down
Even if I could
I'd give up everything
If only for your good
6. Matchbox 20 - 'Unwell'
[mental illness]
I'm talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they've all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I've lost my mind
7. Chingy - 'Right Thurr'
I like the way you look in them pants, see ya fine
You're momma a quarter piece, she far from a dime
The type of girl that'll getcha' up and go make you grind
I'm thinkin' about snatchin' her up, dirty; makin' her mine
mystery lyric:
Girl can I taste yo khaki for three hundred to step,
Like buyin' a throwback
8. Aaliya - 'Miss You'
[obsessive love]
Since you went away I
Don't really feel like talkin'
Don't wanna hear you don't love me
Baby do you understand me
I can't do a thing without you
9. Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow - 'Picture'
[sex, drugs, booze]
Livin' my life in slow hell
Different girl every night at the hotel
I ain't seen the sun shine in three damn days
Been fuelin' up on cocaine and whiskey
Wish I had a good girl to miss me
Lord, I wonder if I'll ever change my ways
10. Evanescence - 'Bring Me To Life'
[obsessive love]
Wake me up
Wake me up inside
I can't wake up
Wake me up inside
Save me
Call my name and save me from the dark
Wake me up
Bid my blood to run
I can't wake up
Before I come undone
Save me
Save me from the nothing I've become
1981 Billboard Hot 100 (Top 10)
1. Kim Carnes - 'Bette Davis Eyes'
[seductive woman]
And she'll tease you
She'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious and she knows just what
It takes to make a pro blush
She's got Greta Garbo stand off sights
She's got Bette Davis eyes
2. Lionel Ritchie with Diana Ross - 'Endless Love'
And your eyes
Your eyes, your eyes
They tell me how much you care
Ooh yes, you will always be
My endless love
Two hearts,
Two hearts that beat as one
Our lives have just begun
3. Kenny Rogers - 'Lady'
Lady, I'm your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there's so many ways I want to say I love you
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
4. John Lennon - '(Just Like) Starting Over'
Our life together is so precious together
We have grown, we have grown
Although our love is still special
Let's take a chance and fly away somewhere
5. Rick Springfield - 'Jessie's Girl'
[forbidden love]
And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time
Wonderin' what she don't see in me
I've been funny; I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way love's supposed to be
Tell me why can't I find a woman like that
You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl
6. Kool & The Gang - 'Celebration'
Everyone around the world
Come on
It's a celebration
Celebrate good times
Come on
It's a celebration
7. Daryl Hall & John Oates - 'Kiss On My List'
My friends wonder why I call you all the time
What can I say
I don't feel the need to give such secrets away
You think maybe I need help, no, I know that I'm right
I'm just better off not listening to friends' advice
When they insist on knowing my bliss
I tell them this
When they want to know what the reason is
I only smile when I lie, then I tell them why
(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list
Because your kiss is on my list of the best things in life
8. Eddie Rabbit - 'I Love A Rainy Night'
Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain on my face
To taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadows
Puts a song in this heart of mine
Puts a smile on my face every time
'Cos I love a rainy night
9. Dolly Parton - '9 to 5'
[work, ambition]
They let you dream just to watch them shatter
You're just a step on the boss man's ladder
But you've got dreams he'll never take away
In the same boat with a lot of your friends
Waitin' for the day your ship'll come in
And the tide's gonna turn
and it's all gonna roll your way.
10. Reo Speedwagon - 'Keep On Lovin' You'
[love, forgiveness]
And though I know all about those men
Still I don't remember
Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we're still together
And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever



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