Monday, 18 July 2011

Music Monday

Nineteen years ago my family and I went to stay with my uncle and aunt in Boston for the summer.  I was just fourteen: gawky, awkward and very far from at ease with myself.  America was everything I imagined it would be from the books I read and the films I watched.  One warm evening my cousins (who seemed impossibly grown up and cool to me, being 16 and 20 at the time) and I drove to an outdoor concert an hour or so north of Boston.  Although when asked I will always cite Elastica at Leeds Metropolitan Uni as my first live music experience, in honesty it was Paula Abdul & Color Me Badd in rural Massachusetts. 

Paula Abdul I could take or leave, but I loved Color Me Badd.  If anyone ever complains about the rise of raunch in pop culture, I draw their attention to Color Me Badd's 1992 hit I Wanna Sex You Up.  Raunch has been around for as long as pop music and the lyrics to Rihanna's S&M, which caused such a stir recently, are no more shocking than I Wanna Sex You Up's "I wanna touch you in all the right places/I wanna make love to you/All night, all night."  Is part of the issue that it's now women who are making their desires explicit (in both senses of the word)? 

Listening to it now I realise that it's a truly bad song but it will always remind me of a hot July night when, very briefly, I felt grown-up, cool and American.

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