There have been two songs to steam-roll the pop music world recently that caught my ear; one of them being “If You Seek Amy” by Ms. Spears and the other being “Love Game” by Lady Gaga. Now, when I first heard these songs in their entirety and fully noticed their tongue-in-cheek nature I became somewhat irritated. Why, you ask? I’m not sure really. There was just something about their innuendoes and sexual aggression that rubbed me the wrong way (mind the pun). I am, of course referring to Spears’ hidden acronym ‘All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy‘ = ‘All of the girls and all of the boys are begging to F.U.C.K. Me‘ as well as Lady Gaga’s constant references to taking rides on men’s ‘disco sticks‘.
That’s when I really got to thinking about it. The conservative consumer in me was disgusted that these camps had resulted to songs very clearly about sex to sell records. I thought – don’t these artists have anything better to sing about or any integrity regarding their content? Why must these people exploit and feed the sexual restlessness and tension of target audiences? Why does modern music have to live and die in the gutter?
Modern music, I thought? Are they the only ones guilty of this innuendo riddled music? Well, my fairly comprehensive knowledge of classic rock from the 60′s and 70′s allowed me to take a few steps back and investigate and, well, what I found surprised me.
Brit and Gaga aren’t doing anything new, nor are they any dirtier or more provocative than some of my favorite classics. Now, I want to clarify something here (before I become known as they guy who thinks Lady Gaga is as good as Led Zeppelin): I am in NO WAY comparing the musicality, quality or technical skill of classic rock and modern pop – I am simply pointing out the similarities in lyrical and symbolic content.
Have a listen to “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (1976) by ACDC, or “Feel Like Making Love” (1975) by Bad Company. And if you aren’t convinced yet, give “Lemon Song” (1969) by Zeppelin a gander (the real meaty parts of this song aren’t even Zepp’s, it’s actually borrowed from an old Robert Johnson blues joint from 1937 in which he says “You can squeeze my lemon ’till the juice runs right down my leg…”).
or “Whole Lotta Love” (1970) with lyrics like “Way down inside, woman, you need love. Shake for me, girl, I wanna be your back door man…”
So, what I used to love, the so-called ‘classics‘, are okay, but these new tracks with the same level of sexual marketing aren’t? Clearly I am just getting old and my ability to keep up with pop culture is fading fast. Soon, any vestiges of the man who was once on the safe side of cool will be washed away, leaving a grumpy, old, turn-that-music-down crankypants. Shoot me now.