Bad Dreams/Sweet Romance

Has pop music advanced in the last three decades? Let’s look at the evidence. Here from just three years ago, is a song that, given what it is, is quite good:

And here is pretty much an identical song from 26 years earlier:

This occurred to me today when a motorcycle drove past me blasting what I originally thought was Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) but turned out to be Bad Romance. This is not an attack on Lady Gaga—she gives the people what they want. I suppose it is an attack on the people.

Like I said, there is nothing wrong with Bad Romance. God knows, most mega-hits don’t even come close. And I’m not that keen on Sweet Dreams. But both represent about the best of their time’s meta-hits. That they are so similar[1] does not speak well of the culture. Maybe in that way, we have reached the end of history.


[1] I will allow a couple of things. First, Sweet Dreams was made on a semi-pro 8-track unit, most likely with similarly primitive effects. That makes the accomplishment all the more impressive, but the sound quality is not great. Similarly, I think the video was very good for its time, but there is no doubt that music videos have made major advances since their infancy.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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