April 15, 2011

Last girl-crazy song by a male singer?

Why not follow up the post below on when we saw the last boy-crazy song by a female singer, sticking again to the #1s on the Billboard Hot 100, and using the same criteria to distinguish them from sappy or cutesy "Gee I love you so much" songs. There has to be something about his vulnerability, inability to shut off how he feels, and the sense that it could consume him.

It looks like they start a few years earlier than the female ones do -- like 1957 or '58 ("All I Have To Do Is Dream"), as opposed to 1960 for females. It also looks like the better examples end earlier than they do for females. As late as 1989, there was still "Like a Prayer" and "Eternal Flame," but the male songs from that year aren't up to that level. "She Drives Me Crazy" is a fun one, but nothing super special. The #1s from 1988 have several great girl-crazy songs -- "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Need You Tonight," and "Sweet Child o' Mine" -- but those are all from albums released in 1987. I don't see "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (from 1988 and '89) as at the same level as "Sweet Child o' Mine".

So maybe it was males who began switching off the wild lobe of their brains first, and females followed suit?

At any rate, 1993 had UB40's cover of an Elvis song, "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You." The last decent girl-crazy song must have been either that or "How Do You Talk to an Angel" from 1992... yep, there were pretty slim pickin's in the '90s. It wasn't until 2007 when Sean Kingston laid new lyrics over the music to "Stand By Me" that there was another decent such song, "Beautiful Girls."

That doesn't go against my idea about rising vs. falling violence levels as the shaping force behind these kinds of songs: Sean Kingston is Jamaican, and while their homicide rates rose like ours did from the early 1960s, they didn't turn back down during the '90s like ours. In fact, the increase looks even sharper starting around 1990, and that's continued at least through 2007.

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