WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Old Songs, New Meanings

Photo: Top row: TV On The Radio; Middle row, left to right: Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon; Bottom row: Talking Heads Courtesy of the artists

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

I’ve been listening to a lot of old, favorite songs in these trying times. But even songs that were once comforting are colored by current events. Talking Heads singing, “This ain’t no party / This ain’t no disco / This ain’t no fooling around,” from “Life During Wartime,” was one of the first songs to take me by surprise. So, I did a social media callout to ask listeners if there were favorite songs taking on new meanings for them. A small flood of tunes, titles and phrases came my way, including Paul Simon’s “American Tune,” which has the line, “And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered / I don’t have a friend who feels at ease.”

Some songs listeners suggested felt hopeful, with lines such as “everything’s gonna be okay, Oh, I keep telling myself, ‘Don’t worry, be happy,'” from TV On The Radio. Some songs made me laugh, despite or maybe because of their directness. “Schools Out” by Alice Cooper or “Everything is Awful” from The Decemberists were two of them.

These odd twists of meaning are the strength of a song. The ability for it to be malleable beyond the writer’s original intent is what often comforts, sometimes helps focus and express the thoughts that are deep inside of us. So, on this week’s show, I put together a musical collage with help from listeners: old songs, new meanings.

Hear The Songs:


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

TOP