Unfortunately, we're jaded and our music is reflective of that. Instead of searching for sunshine, Good Charlotte has deemed us "The Young and the Hopeless."
The Eight Tracks of My Tears
What tune can you think of today that lifts people's spirits? Songs are either about sex, love disguised as sex, money, money and sex, angst and disappointment, angst disappointment and sex … you get the idea.
Step back from the world situation and look at the most common theme in music — human relationships. When The Fifth Dimension sang about love, there was a great story to go with it. Take "Wedding Bell Blues," written by Laura Nyro. Marilyn McCoo was dating Billy Davis Jr. and wanted to marry him, but he wasn't in a hurry. (Some things never change.)
Bones Howe, the group's producer, told McCoo about the song and she recorded it as a semi-joke. The lyrics say: "I was the one who came runnin' when you were lonely. I haven't lived one day not lovin' you only. But kisses and love won't carry me til you marry me Bill."
It was an understandable plea from a woman who loved a man and wanted him to come to his senses. The 2003 plea goes something like:
I'd like to get to know ya, so I can show ya Put the (BLANK) on ya, like I told ya Gimme all your numbers so I can phone ya Your girl acting stank than call me ov-ah Not on the bed, lay me on your sofa Call before you come, I need to shave my (BLANK) You do or you don't or you will or you won't cha.
This poetry in motion comes courtesy of the slimmed-down Missy Elliott, from her obviously titled single, "Work It." Sure, it rhymes, but "ov-ah" is not a word.
In all fairness, I could use Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" as an example of a great love song that takes us back to the days of yore, but it doesn't serve my point. Her overwhelming success at this year's Grammys does show that we are eager to return to enjoyable music — music that says something we can comprehend without a Phat interpreter.
I could pick and choose other examples from The Fifth Dimension's entire music catalogue as well as those of Ms. McCoo and Mr. Davis as solo artists and duo, but you get the message.
It's just that seeing them really made me walk down memory lane and think about better times. And I thought we could all use a good dose of better times.
So, as we have no real control over what's going to happen in the days and weeks to come, may I suggest you pull out an old Fifth Dimension eight-track or LP (just ask granny if you can use her phonograph) and take a listen. It might just bring a smile to your face on a day when you think there's nothing to smile about.
By the way, Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoe are still making beautiful music together, both personally and professionally. They're currently apprearing at Feinstein's in NYC through the end of the month.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.