The song is “Georgy Girl,” by The Seekers.
Surprised? Does it seems strange to you that this ditty — and it is a ditty, and little more — could have nearly earned a little statuette? It almost did, by virtue of its association with a 1966 film starring Lynn Redgrave, Charlotte Rampling and James Mason, who all now regret their involvement with the project, I’m sure. (The film was based on a book, and a later musical stage adaptation was based on the film. Apparently “Georgy Girl” belongs to a expansive pop culture network of references and remakes. Yes, bad news for humanity.)
It wasn’t until KrisDina and I were driving through Australia and New Zealand that I really appreciated what a wonderfully terrible song “Georgy Girl” is. In addition to being catchy as all hell and containing some of the most awkward chunks of syntax ever in a pop song, “Georgy Girl” delivers one of the foulest messages you could imagine: Make yourself pretty in order to be happy, because no one could ever love you now, you disgusting pig. In retrospect, it was less funny and more mean to re-sing the lyrics as “Dina Girl” when Dina was sitting in the back seat. Then again, she seemed to think it was funny. I think.
If you still don’t know what song I’m talking about — it’s the one Homer Simpson once re-sang as “Hey there, blimpy boy,” if that helps at all — watch the video.
And here are the lyrics, with my commentary.
Hey there, Georgy Girl!Nice how a brief rest helps to punctuate the “inside you” and hammer home the point that the speakers know more about Georgy than she does herself. The way the first two lines set her up as initially happy — “swinging down the street,” fancy free, or not — makes me think that poor uggo Georgy was just innocently walking down the street when some Brit pop-influenced quartet showed up and started browbeating her for failing to please aesthetically — through song, no less. How horrified Georgy must have been.
Swinging down the street so fancy free
Nobody you meet could ever see
The loneliness there — inside you
Hey there, Georgy Girl!Really, they already know the answer to this question: Georgy is fancy-free and lonely inside. Jerks.
Why do all the boys just pass you by?
Could it be you just don’t try?God, please let it be the clothes and not something more fundamentally unappealing about her.
Or is it the clothes you wear?
You’re always window shopping but never stopping to buyI have to applaud the effort it took to create the in-line rhyme of “shopping” and “stopping.” Also, by this point in the song, I picture Georgy having dropped her bags of chocolate and stuffed animals she bought at the store and fleeing down the street, with the overly critical singers in hot pursuit. Georgy is scream-crying. Her arms are in the air. People are looking.
So she’d those dowdy feathers and fly — a little bit.
Hey there, Georgy Girl!And by “bring out all the love you hide,” they actually mean “buy new clothes.”
There’s another Georgy deep inside
Bring out all the love you hide
And, oh, what a change there’d be
The world would see — a new Georgy Girl!Same Georgy Girl. Same Cabbage Patch Kid-on-hard-times face. New clothes.
Hey there, Georgy Girl!The someone she’d dream to be is probably someone who isn’t being insulted musically.
Dreaming of the someone you could be
Life is a reality; you can’t always run awayNor can she run away from this band, seeing as how they’re still going on about how she sucks.
Don’t be so scared of changing and rearranging yourselfBeing stuck on the shelf as a metaphor for being unloved: foreshadowing for the song that I picked for my first song of the week?
It’s time for jumping down from the shelf — a little bit
Hey there, Georgy Girl!They’re repeating whole choruses at this point — proof of cruelty. Also, at this point, the “new” Georgy Girl is probably the old Georgy Girl, rendered into a sobbing human puddle at the bus stop, where she was waiting for her only hope of escape, since she’s clearly to lame to own a car.
There’s another Georgy deep inside
Bring out all the love you hide and, oh, what a change there’d be
The world would see — a new Georgy Girl!
Pop music at its best.
Previous songs of the week:
- The B-52s, “Funplex”
- Bill Withers, “Who Is He (And What Is He to You?)”
- Bruce Springsteen, “I’m on Fire”
- The Budos Band, “His Girl”
- CSS, “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex”
- The Fiery Furnaces, “Ex-Guru”
- Jenny Lewis, “Fernando”
- Men at Work, “(Land) Down Under”
- RJD2, “A Beautiful Mine”
- Roy Orbison, “I Drove All Night”
- She & Him, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”