When Sting sang about “Roxanne,” in 1978, she was a prostitute whom he loved and wanted to “save.” The song had a plaintive, painful tone.
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Today’s “Roxanne” is a status seeking Malibu party-girl, spending Daddy’s money and sniffing cocaine.
It’s also a Top 40 sensation.
The singer/songwriter is Arizona Dervas, a 24-year old white hip-hop /rapper from Maryland who got instant buzz last year when his version of “Roxanne” hit #4” on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The uptempo delivery is catchy, and the lyrics are raunchy…
All she wanna do is party all night
Never gonna love me
But it’s alright
She think I’m a asshole
She think I’m a player
She keep running back though
Only ‘cause I pay up
Popular music both reflects and influences pop culture and listening to these two “Roxannes,” side-by-side, is an eye-popping example of how much our culture, and musical tastes and styles have changed sinc 1978.
Vive la difference?