They say there are no new ideas, a thought that is particularly evident in today’s cineplexes — Friends with Benefits/No Strings Attached, anyone? (Thanks to Blind Film Critic, now you don’t have to see either of them.)
But in the world of music, I would think it’s especially difficult to come up with unique titles for songs. So I don’t blame musicians for going with one-word titles that will inevitably get (or already have been) co-opted by others. In fact, I think it’s pretty cool that one song title can represent two (or more) entirely different but equally awesome songs. I took a quick trip through my iTunes and found these musical homonyms, which I present to you face-off style. Any more to add to the list? Any thoughts on your favorites? Post a comment below!
Bad, U2 vs. Bad, Michael Jackson: The ultimate same-name song-off, and also the genesis of this blog post, thanks to Tim’s astute observation (thanks for the blog title idea, too, dear!). Although both are marquee tracks in their respective artists’ libraries, I think we all know I’m gonna go with U2 on this one. If I could (vote for both), you know I would, if I could, I would…
All I Want, The Cure vs. All I Want, LCD Soundsystem: This is a tough one — do I go with the moody aggressiveness of the former, or the up-tempo melancholy of the latter? I think LCD Soundsystem takes it by a nose.
All I Need, Radiohead vs. All I Need, Jack Wagner: Can I really choose an ’80s soap opera star over one of the greatest bands of all time? Yes, I can. Frisco Jones, come home to Port Charles ASAP.
Amsterdam, Coldplay vs. Amsterdam, Peter Bjorn and John: I much prefer the peppy Peter Bjorn and John version, even if they do tend to abuse the whole whistling thing. This song better captures what I believe Amsterdam to be like…and I just think it’s fun.
Black, Pearl Jam vs. Black, Pete Yorn: This is one of my favorite songs from both artists. One makes me feel a little sad, and one makes me feel a little happy. So I think this one has to be a tie.
Bye Bye Love, The Everly Brothers vs. Bye Bye Love, The Cars: As adorable as The Everly Brothers are, and as much as I love a good harmony, no one beats The Cars in my book.
Cherry Bomb, The Runaways vs. Cherry Bomb, John Mellencamp: It’s been tough for me to forgive Hollywood for casting Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, but obviously I’m gonna go with The Runaways on this one. To be fair, I should mention this is probably my least favorite John Mellencamp song (not to mention one of the stupidest music videos ever made), so it was never really a competition. P.S. How great are the Japanese subtitles on the Runaways clip?
Crazy For You, Best Coast vs. Crazy For You, Madonna: As I much as I love Best Coast and the short and breezy version of this song title, Madonna takes this round. Mainly for her terribly off-key performance in the best ever ’80s wrestling movie starring Tim-doppelganger Matthew Modine. You’re going to have to watch the movie to hear how horrible she sounds — this video uses the studio recording. I’m sure Madonna has expunged every clip of that performance from the Internet. But she can’t destroy all the copies of Vision Quest, now can she?
Creep, Radiohead vs. Creep, Stone Temple Pilots vs. Creep, TLC: This is hardly my favorite song from any of these beloved groups. But TLC clearly is the winner for a number of reasons: 1) They use creep as a verb. 2) They use creep to mean how they go about cheating on their man. 3) They were gigantic oversized pajamas with waistbands that make them look like boxers (the fighters, not the underwear).
You Talk (Way) Too Much, The Strokes vs. You Talk Too Much, Run DMC: Okay, the titles aren’t exactly the same, but I just love both of these songs so much. A total tie.
Dreams, Fleetwood Mac vs. Dreams, Van Halen: I happen to be a Van Hagar fan, and I always loved the Blue Angels video. In fact, when I would watch those cool planes fly by during SF Fleet Week this song always played in my head. But Fleetwood Mac’s is undoubtedly the superior Dreams-related song.
Forever Young, Rod Stewart vs. Forever Young, Alphaville: Not even a fight. While the cheesy, graduation-song sentiment of both songs really turns me off, only Stewart’s version actually makes me want to vomit. And you don’t have to be a musical genius to know that Jay-Z was never going to sample that crap.
Gloria, U2 vs. Gloria, Laura Branigan: Bono, I love you, but Laura Branigan always wins this fight. Watch this performance on VH-1, you’ll see.
I Go Crazy, Flesh For Lulu vs. I Go Crazy, Paul Davis: I truly had no idea that Paul Davis could be mistaken for a member of ZZ Top until just this minute, which kind of makes me want to choose him. Never has a voice less fit a face (except for maybe Christopher Cross). It’s a beautiful song and it brings back fond memories of cruising around with my parents in their maroon Chevy Caprice Classic in the ’70s. But it’s not featured in Some Kind of Wonderful, which is the best movie soundtrack of all time. So Flesh For Lulu wins, because I have even more fond memories of the ’80s.
Honorable Mention — Boys Don’t Cry, The Cure vs. I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Boys Don’t Cry: So it’s not exactly the same thing. But I always loved that there was a band called Boys Don’t Cry and that this song of all songs is what they sang. It just makes me laugh — and the video is absolutely remarkable. As for the Cure’s version, it’s definitely in the top 5 of their catalog.