20th century songs that have lost their meanings in the 21st century

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Everyone loves a good song, and not just because of the music, but also because of the title and lyrics. While good songs may live on in our hearts and minds forever, sometimes their titles, lyrics and meanings become outdated and, in the process, don’t make sense to the next generations of listeners. Such is the case for the following tunes, for which I’ve taken the liberty of updating their titles for 21st century appeal.

“Call Me” by Blondie (1980)

Once the standard for speaking to someone who wasn’t in your direct vicinity, calling someone on a telephone has given way to texting or instant messaging instead. Blondie’s take on the then-only way to communicate long distances was a hit in the dawning of the 1980s, selling more than 1 million copies.

Updated title: “Text Me”

“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon  (1973)

After making a name for himself as half of Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon went on to enjoy success as a solo act recording songs that became classics, like this now-outdated song.

Created in 1935, Kodachrome was a type of photographic film that was known for its ability to capture color in pictures better than previous film types. Made by the Eastman Kodak Company, Kodachrome’s decline began with the advent of digital cameras in the 1990s. The company discontinued production of Kodachrome officially in 2009, though its widespread use had pretty much ceased much earlier.

Updated title: “Photoshop”

“Girls on Film” by Duran Duran  (1981)

From the opening of this tune it was clear that Duran Duran was singing about 35mm camera photography. While today’s digital cameras’ shutters may still make the same sounds as their 35mm ancestors, the photographic devices are far removed from using film.

Updated title: “Girls in Pixels”

“Bug a Boo” by Destiny’s Child (1999)

What outdated this song isn’t its title, it’s its mention of now-defunct communication tools like America Online (AOL), MCI (a long-distance telecommunications company in the 1990s), and beepers (pagers). The song also mentions email, which lives on today, so the lyrics aren’t entirely outdated.

Updated title: no update needed, but the lyrics could use some fine tuning.

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox” by Alan Jackson  (1991)

Today’s younglings would likely have difficulty identifying a jukebox, which once were commonplace in diners and eateries the world over. For 25 cents in 1991, people could choose a song to play on the jukebox, to restaurant patrons’ enjoyment or dismay. While there are places you can still find jukeboxes, they mainly live on in memory only.

Updated title: “Don’t Rock the Smartphone”

“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” covered by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1981) Originally performed by the Arrows (1975)

Sure, you can still love rock ‘n’ roll in the 21st century, but you surely can’t pay only a dime to play a song on a jukebox, baby! (And that’s if you can actually find a jukebox to play.)

Updated title: “I Still Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”

I’m sure there are plenty of other songs to include on this list, but these are the ones my family and I brainstormed. Does one come to mind for you?

Kelly Martinez
Kelly Martinezhttp://senorwrite.com/
Kelly Martinez is a graduate of Utah Valley University who has written for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Deseret News. He got his start covering sports and has expanded his writing to cover many topics. His company, Señor Write Inc., provides the platform for him to produce several types of writing.

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