Tuesday, July 23, 2013

She, Wolf

Do you remember when Amanda Seyfried covered “Li’l Red Riding Hood” back in 2011 to promote her movie Red Riding Hood? I think everyone’s reaction fell somewhere between, “Oh, that’s right. She can kind of sing,” and “I think commercials ruined this song for me, Lily Kane or no Lily Kane.” I fell into the latter camp. Sam the Sham released the original back in 1966, and just within my lifetime, it’s been featured in movies, TV and commercials often enough that no one really needs to hear it again. Besides, it’s not the best song in the world. It’s catchy, but it didn’t take a genius songwriter to see the sex metaphor in the Big Bad Wolf.

Then again, there’s this: a response song, “(Hey There) Big Bad Wolf,” by the Sham-ettes, a girl group spin-off to Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. I think I love it.


Some notes:

It wasn’t written for this Betty Boop cartoon. The cartoon was just synched rather well to the song. The fact that Boop herself was initially conceived of as a lady bulldog just adds an extra layer of weird to the Sexy Bad Wolf situation.

It really is so much more disturbing because it's one of those “old-timey” cartoons, though. We’ve been over this.

I really want to rally behind the song as an awesome way to turn the whole stalker-as-love interest thing around, since it has Red calling out the Wolf on being a creepy. You can see it that way, but there’s also a lot of awkwardness with Red dropping lines like “No use to keep your sheep suit on / You can come for me by coming on strong / By the time we get to grandma’s house / You’ll be as meek as a little old mouse.” Whatever power the song gives Red is undercut by the whole “I can save him!” mindset. What to say? Love is complicated.

Oh, and when she says “sheep suit,” I assume she’s referring to lambskin condoms.

Sam the Sham really clung to the fairy tale-as-sex metaphor thing. In 1967, his band released its own sequel to “Li’l Red Riding Hood,” titled “The Hair on My Chinny Chin Chin.” A moderate hit, it uses the Wolf blowing down a house as a poppy, danceable rape metaphor. There’s also “Mary Is My Little Lamb” and a Pied Piper-themed song that seems to be hiding from Google.

There’s a lot of work to be done with this song and humans-as-animals and humans making animal noises. The fact that the song closes out with the female singer alternating between wolf howls and sheep bleats seems like the tidbit that would yield a lot for the dark soul who wants to press into the matter.
Here are the lyrics to “(Hey There) Big Bad Wolf,” just because it’s not always super clear what the singer is saying.
(Is that the Big Bad Wolf I see?
Why this cat’s following me!)

Hey there, Big Bad Wolf
You’ve been following me through the woods
You are the guy that I’ve been waiting for
(Listen to me!)

Hey there, Big Bad Wolf
Please hold me tight ‘cause I know you could
Please stay with me while I’m walking through the woods alone

What dark eyes you have,
The kind of eyes that mystify
But I’m gonna show you how much I care
‘Cause my love with you I’m gonna share
I’ll try to keep you satisfied
‘Cause I’ve been walking back by your side
And I’ll be yours and you be mine
And together we will feel so fine

So dontcha say you can’t pretend
‘Cause I’ll still love you till the end
You don’t have to be a Big Bad Wolf anymore

Hey there, Big Bad Wolf
You’ve been following me through the woods
You are the guy that I’ve been waiting for

I really love you now
And we can get alone somehow
Stay by me so I’ll be safe
Until we get to grandma’s place
And no use to keep your sheep suit on
You can for me by coming on strong
By the time we get to grandma’s house
You be as meek as a little old mouse

Hey there, Big Bad Wolf
You’ve been following me through the woods
You are the guy that I’ve been waiting for
Oldies analyzed in far closer detail than they deserve, previously:

1 comment:

  1. My preferred Little Red Riding Hood is the homicidal hooker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYBCrYPRFUU

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