The Gap of Fifty Years

Commentary

Let's contrast the difference nearly fifty years makes, shall we?

Check out the lyrics for "Cool Kids":

She sees them walking in a straight line,
That's not really her style
And they all got the same heartbeat
But hers is falling behind
Nothing in this world could
Ever bring them down
Yeah, they're invincible, and she's just in the background
And she says

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

He sees them talking with a big smile
But they haven't got a clue
Yeah, they're living the good life
Can't see what he is going through
They're driving fast cars
But they don't know where they're going
In the fast lane, living life without knowing
And he says

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids they seem to get it
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

And they said
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

I wish that I could be like the cool kids
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to get it
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids

Oh look. Teenage angst. You know what? Everyone has it. Nearly everyone who lives to twenty gets through it. The lyrics are inane and boring. The song might be catching, but the lyrics? Drivel.

Contrast those lyrics with the lyrics of The Battle of New Orleans, sung by Johnny Horton. It reached number one in the popcharts in 1959.

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip'
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We looked down the river
And we see'd the British come
And there must have been a hundred of 'em
Beatin' on the drums
They stepped so high
And they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales
And didn't say a thing

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets
'Till we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire
'Till we see'd their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns
And really gave 'em - well we

Fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast
That the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast
That the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Hut-two-three-four
Sound off, three-four
Hut-two-three-four
Sound off, three-four
Hut-two-three-four
Hut-two-three-four.

The lyrics of this song teach a history lesson. We learn about the Battle of New Orleans - I bet you can guess what year it was in, and could probably even figure out based on that year which war it was in. You know who a major player in the war is (hello, Andrew Jackson), and can even figure out his nickname with the Old Hickory references. Oh, and look, some lessons on wartime provisioning and movements and OOOOOOOOOOOO strategy. There's some cultural references, too, with the cotton bales.

So, bacon and beans and defending your country, versus whaa whaa whaa cry cry I'm not as cool as those other, equally angsty, possibly less competent kids who don't know what they want to do with their lives.

What an f'ing life of privilege we live these days.

Get off my lawn.