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    Fun Size Trending Topics September 23, 2021. His Name? St. Dangerous Of Course CD929

On Two For Tuesday, we celebrate two songs that are linked in one way or another. Maybe an artist referenced another artist’s song. Maybe one song features an interpolation of another song. Perhaps an artist references one of their earlier songs through a repeated line or riff. If they’re linked, you may just read about them on Two For Tuesday.

Today, we’re talking about two songs with the same chorus melody.

In 1979, members of the punk rock band Generation X were touring in Japan when they visited a Tokyo nightclub. They noticed that at the club, patrons weren’t even looking at each other- they looked instead at the mirrored walls of the club. Bassist Tony James and lead singer Billy Idol wrote a song (that is often misinterpreted) about this experience. Idol has since described the song as really being “about people being in a disenfranchised world where they’re left bereft, dancing with their own reflections.” They recorded a demo as Generation X before the band broke up in late 1979. An official version under “Generation X” was never released.

In 1980, Tony James and Billy Idol formed a band again, this time called “Gen X.” They recorded a final version of the song and released it in October 1980, only months before Gen X would also disband. The original version of “Dancing with Myself” was only ever released in the U.K.

After the disbanding of Gen X, Idol moved his career to New York City. “Dancing with Myself” was remixed and credited to “Billy Idol and Gen X” for its American release. It reached #27 on the American dance charts but became more of a culturally significant song after Idol saw other successes like his cover of “Mony Mony” and “White Wedding.”

Nowadays, it’s probably Idol’s best-known song, as well as being one of the first songs that come to mind when thinking of ’80s music. It incorporates a punk rock undertone courtesy of Idol’s time in Generation X, but also features a dance beat, one of the elements heightened for Idol’s American remix. It’s been called “new wave,” “power pop,” “dance rock,” and “glam rock” depending on the version and the reviewer. The song has been covered and used in soundtracks extensively.

“Bad Decisions” served as a refreshing return for The Strokes, as it was only their second single since their hiatus in 2013. The first single of 2020, “At the Door,” was a gorgeous composition, but it bore more resemblance to Julian Casablancas’ solo venture 11th Dimension than it did the classic tracks of This is It and First Impressions of Earth. For those hoping for another “Last Nite,” “Bad Decisions” was a much more promising track. In fact, “Bad Decisions” landed at #6 on the Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart, just below the ranking of “Last Nite” (#5 on the Alternative Airplay Charts). Obviously, it may have had a little help.

Critics noted similarities between “Bad Decisions” and “Dancing with Myself,” but a look at the liner notes easily assuaged fears of infringement. Idol and James were credited from the fore for “Bad Decisons,” a proactive move based on the lifting of the “Dancing with Myself” chorus melody, despite it being arguably transformative. It was both a morally conscious and fiscally intelligent move to credit the former Generation X members pre-emptively, as the tune does bear enough resemblance that a lawsuit could have later ensued, a battle artists don’t often win against music publishers (in fact, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s father is credited as a writer on Radiohead’s “Creep” due to a similar lift). Like the infamous “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, “Bad Decisions” could have also been in trouble for combining multiple elements of “Dancing with Myself” (the melody line and the empty syllables sung after it).


The purpose “Dancing with Myself” ends up serving in “Bad Decisions” is to create a nostalgic shorthand. The video for “Bad Decisions” opens with someone in a retro-looking living room turning on an old TV to watch actual old footage of The Strokes playing. The viewer then uses a machine on her end table to call on her “Strokes clones” who are all dressed in retro suits. A similar chorus line to the legendary ’80s tune, but with a distinct Strokes sound makes us feel like we already know the song when we hear it for the first time (“Bad Decisions” was produced by Rick Rubin, who uses this tactic often). The implications of the video and song together tend to make me think that the Strokes were making a comment to those who weren’t happy when the band changed their look or sound or failed to generate another song that was just like “Last Nite”: “Here we are, clones of what made us famous, performing for you exactly as you wish.” This really harkens right back to the original idea of “Dancing with Myself,” ” people being in a disenfranchised world where they’re left bereft, dancing with their own reflections.”

You can hear “Dancing with Myself” on CD 92.9 FM’s The Stash and “Bad Decisions” anytime on CD 92.9 FM!  

Feel free to suggest a future Two For Tuesday by emailing JustEmma@CD929FM.COM.

Just Emma


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Written by: Emma Sedam

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