If you don't mind, I'm going to get a little personal here. My last post on The Outfield sent me into a personal and professional tailspin. Who cares about The Outfield?, I thought to myself. What is the point of this blog? What is the point of anything? Why are strawberries red? Where do rainbows go when the rain stops? And so on. You know, life.
So I went into seclusion in the west wing, so to speak, and had a good think. I thought and thought until I could think no more. Then, just as I was about to give up hope -- an epiphany. If I really want to make a difference, I realized, I can't go around mocking songs from the '80s and thinking anything's going to change. That would be like shipping food back in time to Nigerians who have long since passed away or gone on to profitable careers in online scammery. If I want things to change, I have to mock songs in real time! Take on the chart-toppers of today instead of those from yesteryear.
That was all a lie!
Actually, last weekend I was watching the VH1 Top 20 with my friend Richie and not only had I never heard a single song on the list, but I'd never heard of most of the bands. "Owl City"? "Lady Gaga"? "Lifehouse"? "Bon Jovi"? wtf?? I was particularly captivated by Britney Spears' new video, in which she sings about having a threesome while dancing provocatively with people of both sexes. Then, I heard the song again on the radio while driving home (right after Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," not sure what exactly that station's target audience was) and I figured it was fate.
So after many long years in the wilderness I present to you "3" by Britney Spears! Enjoy the video, which I find somewhat unsettling.
1, 2, 3 / not only you and me / Got one eighty degrees / And I'm caught in between / Countin'
I am really kind of charmed by how weird these lyrics are. They start out in a very straightforward way. "1, 2, 3" clearly means that there are three people. "Not only you and me" iterates that fact. Then, the third line makes no sense. I guess she looks at one person, then swivels around 180 degrees to see that there is another person? But she says she has "got" 180 degrees, like she is in possession of them. I do not know what it means. Then, she says she is "caught in between" the people. OK, I guess so.
Then the final line, my favorite -- "Countin'!" This song is about counting! Try singing it in Count von Count's voice. Amazing!
1, 2, 3 / Peter, Paul & Mary / Gettin' down with 3p / Everybody loves / Countin'
This part sounds even more like something from Sesame Street. Doesn't it? If instead of being about having sex with two people at the same time, and accompanied by images of nearly naked people bumping and grinding each other all over the place, it was instead about, well, learning how to count, and accompanied by images of playful puppets and clean multiracial children, it would be just like Sesame Street! I like Britney Spears.
Babe, pick a night / To come out and play / If it's alright / What do you say?
Haha, I was actually ready to ditch this whole Sesame Street thing, but .... seriously. Replace "babe" with "friend" or something and we're still right on track.
Merrier the more / Triple fun that way / Twister on the floor / What do you say?
I don't think a threesome would triple the fun. To an outside observer it would multiply the fun by 1.5, and for either participant it would only double the fun. Come on! This is just simple math. Don't these songwriters have copy editors? (I have no idea who actually wrote this song and refuse to look it up. But I do know that it was copy edited by Bill Sanderson of Grand Forks, N.D. For shame, Mr. Sanderson. Take more pride in your craft.)
Also, "merrier the more"? Was the "Twister on the floor" line so indispensable that we had to do these verbal gymnastics? Was it?! SANDERSON!!!!
Are you in? / Livin' like this is the new thing / Are you in? / I am countin'!
This sounds like a creepy hippie pickup line from the '60s. Hey, baby! Are you in for this threesome? Livin' like this is totally the new thing, man! Loosen up! Far out! MAN WALKS ON MOON
And, I remain charmed by how excited Britney is about being able to count. Baby steps.
Three is a charm / Two is not the same / I don't see the harm / So are you game?
At this point the songwriters probably realized there wasn't much to say about having a threesome that wasn't sort of gross and creepy, especially when paired with such a danceable and frivolous beat.
Lets' make a team / Make 'em say my name / Lovin' the extreme / Now are you game?
See? Case in point. "Let's make a team / Make 'em say my name" ... gross and creepy.
What we do is innocent / Just for fun and nothin' meant / If you don't like the company / Let's just do it you and me
I find this part disconcerting because of the change in tempo. I know every pop song in this vein has to have a part where they slow it down and get all emotional and romantic for a minute before going back to the loopy-loop dance-a-ganza with the hey-hey and the flip-flop. But this song is about a threesome, which is really by definition (in my opinion) not at all romantic. I mean, I am not anti-threesome, and I hope all of you go out and have 10 threesomes with 20 different people immediately after reading this post, but I think if you're going to write a song about having threesomes, just go for broke and make it a kind of in-your-face celebration of Bacchanalian pleasure, don't try to write cute sugarcoated lyrics and try to infuse some measure of tenderness and longing in here. Threesomes are not about tenderness and/or love. They are about fucking. Right? Um. Excuse me for a few minutes.
You and me / Or three / Or four / On the floor
Four! Four slutty people on the floor! Ah, ha, ha!
Five! Five venereal diseases! Ah, ha, ha!