Hey baby, what you know good?
I'm just gettin' back, but you knew I would
War is hell, when will it end?
When will people start gettin' together again?
Are things really gettin' better
Like the newspaper said?
What else is new my friend
Besides what I've read?
Can't find no work, can't find no job my friend
Money is tighter than it's ever been
Say man, I just don't understand
What's goin' on across this land
Ah, what's happenin' brother
This week we have seen a ton of "good" economic news, and yet as we head into the weekend, the question is what's going on? What's really going on with the economy, and should we really be singing its praises? Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album has been ranked the 10th best of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, and its lyrics continue to be timeless.
Lately, I find myself thinking and singing them, especially those from "What's Happening Brother," that ask "are things really gettin' better, like the newspaper said?" Of course these days, it would seem newspapers are less into news-gathering and more into cheerleading, although some play it down the middle.
But music, books, and poetry remind us that the more things change the more they stay the same. "What's Going On" was released in 1971, and Marvin Gaye's intuition that things were getting worse was spot on. America entered into its worst decade ever outside the 1930s and had to eventually be rescued by the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The question is could it have been better had we been more honest about the condition and more willing to fix it.