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Are Lyrics Becoming More Vain?


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The New York Times is suggesting that Vanity in lyrics is a sign of a generational divide, and they may be right. They point out that 30 years ago, the biggest hits were songs like "Ebony and Ivory" and "Celebration," which were very communal even if they did suck. These days, it's more like "My Humps" and "Sexyback" that are likely to top the charts, along with other songs they contain shameless lyrical boasts.

What they didn't mention was that vanity was explicitly frowned upon in many classic songs, the most obvious being "You're So Vain," but Janis Joplin ridiculed a life of excess in "Mercedes Benz," and Led Zeppelin warned us that all that glitters is not gold in "Stairway To Heaven."

The Times ducked the influence of Hip-Hop a bit in their article, but even if you discount the rappers, you still have statistical proof of more "I, Me, My" words in lyrics, and certainly more narcissism. I don't want to go back to "Ebony and Ivory," but maybe is time to veer in a different lyrical direction.

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