Similar Songs Across Time: Elf and Boy Bands

Whether it’s heartbreak or true love or “girl power,” we tend to say the same types of things over and over again through music.  But have you ever heard two songs that really struck you as fundamentally similar? Ones that seemed to have the same message, even if communicated slightly differently? Sometimes music is similar in both meaning AND mode, yet that doesn’t make one or the other superfluous, at least in my experience.

I was thinking about this idea recently after watching the Christmas movie, “Elf.”  I noticed that Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young” (as heard in the movie) has a similar message to…well…One Direction’s “Act My Age.”  While Sinatra’s song talks about feeling younger than normal because of a girl, the modern boy band’s song states that in the future they will feel as young as they do now.

But this one line in Sinatra’s song particularly struck me:

“And even when I’m old and gray
I’m going to feel the way I do today
Because you make me feel so young”

It’s so similar to the One Direction lyrics (“When I’m fat and old and my kids think I’m a joke…I won’t act my age, no I won’t act my age”).  But at the same time,  the songs are different from each other.  Depending on the artist, instrumentation, and vocabulary used, the “same” message comes across differently, even if they lyrics’ message is virtually the same.

So what do you think? Have you ever heard two songs with virtually the same meaning? If so, do you prefer one over the other and why? How do you think the music itself impacts the message?

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