3 Callbacks to Old Songs in New Lyrics

Hey Mystics & Misfits 🖤

Today’s post is about the love of my life, music. I can’t locate the exact number of minutes, but my Spotify Wrapped for 2020 reported that I was listening to music more than 1/3rd of the entire year!

So, as the title says, today I will be pointing out times when a new(er) song’s lyrics paid homage to an older classic, whether purposefully or not. Then at the end I have an honorable mention that didn’t quite fit the theme of the blog.

Let’s get into it!


1. MUSE | Supermassive Black Hole (2006)

“I thought I was a fool for no one, but ooo baby, I’m a fool for you

“I’m A Fool For You” is the title of a song released by Ray Charles in 1957. Over the years, many artists have created their own interpretations with covers performed by the likes of Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and Van Morrison.

This throwback isn’t surprising coming from the maximalist trio that is Muse. Their eclectic sound stems from an exceptional variety of influences, from Tame Impala to classical composers to Rage Against the Machine. Muse’s versatility is a major reason they’re one of my all-time favorite bands.

2. LIL WATERBED | Luv In My Cup (2017) “That’s my shawty, she my little purple haze

This throwback is probably easily recognized by a majority of people, as “Purple Haze” is the name of an iconic song released in 1970 by ambidextrous guitar maestro, Jimi Hendrix. It seems to be one of those songs people will know of even if they couldn’t say much about how it actually sounds!

This homage is more pointed that the previous, as “Luv In My Cup” is about love between two drug users. The chill, somewhat hypnotic rhythm of the song suits the topic well. The idea of love and drugs affecting a person’s mind in the same way is a classic theme in art that has withstood the test of time.

3. BILLIE EILISH | Bellyache (2017)

"Where’s my mind? Maybe it’s in the gutter where I left my lover”

The Pixies, one of Kurt Cobain’s cited favorite groups, came out with the eerie tune “Where Is My Mind?” in 1988. This callback is interesting because it was unintentional. Eilish hadn’t heard the Pixies’ song before creating Bellyache, which she co-wrote with her older brother Finneas O’Connell, known professionally as FINNEAS.

Although many people listen to music older than them, it’s understandable that Eilish wasn’t familiar with “Where Is My Mind?” as it was released 13 years before she was born. Nevertheless, recognizing the phrase when I first heard the song felt like a special moment.


ROY BATTY - played by Rutger Hauer | Blade Runner (1982) “… All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

This instance is less exact than the examples above, but I felt it note-worthy all the same.

Twenty years before the release of the aforementioned sci-fi film, the Everly Brothers released a song called “Crying in The Rain” with the following lyrics:

I'll never let you see / The way my broken heart is hurting me / I've got my pride and I know how to hide / All my sorrow and pain / I'll do my crying in the rain

Perhaps due cause for tears, I’ve never actually seen Blade Runner, but looking into this scene definitely has me more intrigued. The speech I quoted from is actually referred to as the "tears in rain monologue" and has been lauded as the defining moment of Rutger Hauer’s career. Even more awesome, he adlibbed the line! The original script had read: All those moments... they'll be gone.

It's a beautiful thing when emotions and creative instinct can change the trajectory of a work, oftentimes for the better!


Well, that’s all I have for today. I hope this post was interesting to you. Thanks so much for reading, and until next time, I hope you stay curious!


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