Remember that annoying song you heard everywhere in 2005? You know, the one about Blondie and the eighties? Bowling For Soup, anyone? Well, it was called “1985”. And you’ve heard it.
What I found out a few months ago was that in actuality, the song belongs to a Baltimore band called SR-71, known locally but not much elsewhere. And their version, while less catchy and filled with fewer 80s references, is better.
Why? The lyricism. While Bowling For Soup knew how to turn the pop culture references into a catchy pop song, SR-71 makes it a catchy, relevant, and emotional punk song. Whereas the BFS version is firmly rooted around a woman obsessed with the 80s, SR-71 makes the song an emotional saga, about a woman who’s lost her dreams in the bourgeois nature of the universe, which, when the song was released in 2004, was incredibly relevant.
BFS shuns the deeper lyricism for catchier, more pop-culture-based words, and they clean up the cluttered arrangement to create something more radio-friendly.
Compare and Contrast and Download:
Left-click: Bowling For Soup – 1985
PS: I’m actually a closet BFS fan. While I prefer SR-71 in this case, BFS has had some examples of smart, original lyricism and arrangement (“Almost” comes to mind).