Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Odd Compliments Given in Pop Songs

I thought of these three and couldn’t think of any more.

“She’s a hurricane in all kinds of weather” and “She’s a sensation / The reason for aviation” — Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line (Shake Senora)”
Seriously? She’s a hurricane even when there are no hurricanes? Even when it’s sunny? Even when there are tornados? I guess that one I can get behind, but the “reason for aviation” is pretty damn weird. Granted, Belafonte needed a good rhyme for sensation, but still that’s a lot to credit to someone — and also totally false. Equivalent: “My girl is so great that she’s the reason we have trees.”
“She's so high / Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite” — Tal Bachman’s “She’s So High”
Aside from the obvious strangeness of having a song called “She’s So High” be about a woman’s station in life and not about how much THC is in her system, the list of famous women the speaker compares his lady love to reads like one written by someone who didn’t go to high school. Cleopatra: powerful, not especially beautiful, committed suicide. Aphrodite: pretty as a peach but never existed, also prone to sleeping around. Joan of Arc: not known for her beauty but for her religious fervor, which got her burned at the stake.
“She’s the kind they’d like to flaunt and take to dinner” — Tom Jones’s “She’s a Lady”
It’s not that she’s especially beautiful, it’s not that she’s the kind of girl you’d want to go home with, and it’s not even that she’s necessarily a prospective trophy wife. She’s just acceptable enough to take to dinner. Maybe it’s not all that strange a compliment, but whenever I hear the line I picture Tom Jones taking some broad with giant hoop earrings to a Sizzler.

2 comments:

  1. Not really a pop song, but I had to mention Blue Oyster Cult's She's as Beautiful As a Foot. The whole thing:

    She's as beautiful as a foot
    She's as beautiful as a foot
    She heard somebody say, the other day

    Didn't believe it when he bit into her face
    Didn't believe it when he bit into her face
    It tasted just like a fallen arch

    She's as beautiful as a foot
    She's as beautiful as a foot
    She heard somebody say, the other day

    Don't put your tongue on the bloody tooth mark place
    Don't put your tongue on the bloody tooth mark place
    Her face changing now, a Guernsey cow

    She's as beautiful, oh so beautiful, beautiful as a foot
    She heard someone say, the other day

    But then again, it's not so weird when you consider the same group has a song called 7 Screaming Diz-Busters.

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  2. I figured that line about aviation meant that she was so good, someone invented airplanes in order to go see her.

    Yeah, maybe it's a bit of a stretch.

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