Driving in the car today, I heard “Diamonds,” the recent #1 pop hit by Rihanna on the radio. One of the things that struck me about the song is that the lyric has been said a million times before, which of course, is why it connects with so many people. Often, those overused and cliché lyrics are easily relatable and therefore, able to reach a large number of people. The main lyric hooks of the song, “We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky,” and “Shine bright like a diamond,” could have been in a hit song from any decade as far back as the 1930’s. Think of songs like “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” or any number of songs that deal with “Diamonds” as the lyrical center.
What does change decade to decade are the styles of the songs, the way the lyric gets dressed up by the melody, and the colloquialisms of the lyric. For example: a sexually desirable girl has been referred to everything from a dish to a dame to a chick to a broad to a bitch to a ho.
What also changes in songs are the rhythmical structures, and the production sound and techniques in any given era. The current era’s production techniques, as showcased by “Diamonds,” use technology to make everything sound perfect. Pitch corrected vocals can make singers sound in perfect tune, automated music that is computer generated plays in perfect time, computerized mixing gives the perfect mix, and in a sense, all of these things eliminate the human variable more and more. It’s like the aural equivalent of a perfectly air-brushed photograph. But often, throughout all those changes, the actual message of the lyric remains the same.
Got any “Diamonds” songs to add to the list?