Bruno Mars vs. Billie Holiday: Forget You

June 11th, 2011

A few blocks from my house meteoric singer-songwriter Bruno Mars will entertain tonight.  He’s a talented guy who writes catchy and racy tunes (Forget You, aka…well, let’s just say Gwyneth Paltrow did not sing the original lyrics on Glee).

For the wittiest lyrics around, I’m listening to Victoria Miles.  Her Virtual James is a brilliant take on guys too tied to their Xboxes to see real life.

But the Mars song Grenade, which hit the top of the charts, reminds me of the debate between realism and romanticism.  Compare Grenade to Sammy Kahn’s Until the Real Thing Comes Along, recorded by Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Dean Martin, etc.

Mars: “I’d catch a grenade for ya…Throw my hand on a blade for ya…I’d jump in front of a train for ya…Take a bullet straight through my brain”

You can see the bloody hand reaching for 911.

Kahn: “I’d lie for you,
I’d sigh for you/
I’d tear the stars down from the sky for you/
If that isn’t love, it will have to do/
Until the real thing comes along”

Do you prefer reaching for the stars or a switchblade?

 

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