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Lyrical Analysis- ‘We Are the World’ and ‘Girls Like You’

When it comes to the lyrics of ‘We Are the World,’ they almost perfectly correspond with the cause that the song is supporting. The whole purpose of the song was to bring attention to the famine going on in Africa and how people could help by donating money to the ongoing humanitarian efforts that were happening in Africa at that very moment. Because USA for Africa was so dedicated to helping the people starving in Africa-specifically Ethiopia- this meant that the song had to directly relate to the message behind the song, therefore the lyrics had to explicitly explain why there was a need for people to donate to the less fortunate. One example of a lyric that connects to the helping those suffering from the famine is

“There are people dying/And it’s time to lend a hand to life/The greatest gift of all” (We Are the World).


(Stevie Wonder’s guests from Ethiopia talking with the artists taking part in the recording, 20:57-21:53, “We Are the World: The Story Behind the Song.”)

The lyric is clearly stating the problem and that with the help of the listener(s), they can help save the lives of the less fortunate because the one thing that every last person in the world holds dear is life. The chorus is probably the best example of the lyrics that matter most to the song. The artists in USA for Africa are pleading to their audiences to give what they can so that they can help the people that need it most. The most impactful words of the chorus are

“We are the ones who make a better day/So let’s start giving” (We Are the World).

Meanwhile, the lyrics of ‘Girs Like You’ don’t exactly apply to what people think that feminism is. As stated by Shawn Holiday, the head of Maroon 5’s label, “The song came out in the midst of the #MeToo movement.” (Variety). The expected meaning of such a song would be to empower women. While the lyrics don’t specifically apply to the definition of feminism, they do apply with the appreciation for women-mainly the women in relationships. The entire chorus of the song goes,

Cuz girls like you run round with guys like me/Till sundown when I come through/I need a girl like you/Girls like you love fun and yeah me too/What I want when I come through/Is a girl like you” (Girls Like You).

These lyrics don’t have anything to do with supporting the equality of the sexes and the belief that men and women should have equal opportunities. Instead, the lyrics talk about a man (Levine) appreciating his “girl” for sticking with him through the difficult times. Levine is vocalizing his (and the overall view of the entire band of Maroon 5) appreciation for women in general, how they are always there, for their significant other, for the people that they care for. The message of feminism that the band and Cardi B. are trying to get across is better expressed through the music video they released of the song.

Related image

(Adam Levine with his wife Behati Prinsloo and daughter Dusty Rose Levine, iHeartRadio.)