Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Euphemismpop

Listening to Julian Cope's 'Trampolene' (1987) today I found myself wondering about the proliferation of 1980s pop songs that are about sex, but address the subject only euphemistically -- see also: Madonna's 'Into the Groove' (1985), Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' (1986). As if there was an overlap from an age in which sex could only be sung about if veiled in euphemism (hence, for example, 'rock and roll') and today, when if people want to sing about sex they just sing about sex. Conceivably George Michael's 'I Want Your Sex' (1987) was the first big chart smash to do the latter.

2 comments:

Archie Valparaiso said...

Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" had been a big hit (No. 3 in US, No. 4 in the UK) in 1982, five years before George Michael used "the S word" in a song title. That said, apart from the title, the rest of the "Sexual Healing" lyric was indeed a cavalcade of euphemism: "I need some lovin'"..."I can't hold it much longer"... "you'll be there to relieve me" ... "the waves are risin'"... "open up and let me in".

It was basically an ultracool equivalent of a raised-eyebrowed Larry Grayson routine.

And you're right. Now it'd just be "Get over here right now. I've got a raging boner and mere routine masturbation isn't my preferred option. Baby."

Maybe we were better off with things as they were. If the difference between erotica and all-out porn is that the former artfully insinuates what the latter crassly exhibits, wouldn't some of today's pop lyricists do well to take note? The title and lyric of Enrique Iglesias's "Tonight I'm Fucking You", for example, is something to be scrawled on a wall, not set to music.

Or am I just being old again?

Adam Roberts said...

Well said, sir! *applauds*