Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Words and Phrases in Music

On the way home this evening, SWV's song, "Downtown" played on my iPod. I recalled back to when this song was released and how naive I was to the metaphor. I was like, "she needs to go on a shopping spree to get in the mood to make love?!?". Then I finally really listened to the lyrics and had a big "ohhhh" (pun intended) moment. After that song, the word fairly innocuous word "downtown" now had a sexual connotation.

I started to think of other songs that either changed the meaning of some word or phrases or added new ones to our vernacular. Here's a few I thought of off the top of my head.

Cyndi Lauper's "She Bops"
I was about 10 years old when this came out. Little did I know that she was referring to a little "self-love". I just thought it was a strange little dance. Apparently, that is what Cyndi wanted us little kiddies to think it was about.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax"
Ok, these lyrics were a bit more, um, way more obvious. But, again at ten, what did I know? It wasn't until I heard this song again in my early twenties I wondered how could have my mother allowed me to listen to such music??

Blackstreet's "Booty Call"
Actually, the first time I ever heard the term "booty call" was in Bill Bellamy's comedy stand-up act ("ladies, if a brother calls you at 2am, is that or is that not a booty call?").

R. Kelly's "Down Low"
I'm sure R. Kelly's thought with this phrase was to keep a secret. Fairly innocuous, no innuendo there. However, this term has taken on a whole new meaning with straight identified black males, who occasionally like to take it in the tail pipe and don't want anyone to know.

I may add some more if I think of them. Any songs come to your mind?


Urban Thought said...

Evelyn Champagne King's Love Come Down

The first time I heard this song I was in elementary school. Everyone was singing it. I used to bop my head to it. Not knowing what she meant at the time. Years later I thought to myself... OH... She is talking about her juices flowing (cumming).

Another lyric I didn't understand until about a year later was a Prince song named Little Red Corvette. The line "a pocket full of horses." I thought, at the time, that they were talking about horse power for the car. Instead, condoms, Trojans to be exact.

The Girl From Park Heights said...

I think I pretty much got most of the sexual innuendoes I heard as a filthy-minded child.

But I do recall, before I had any knowledge of sex, around the age of 3 or 4 hearing Olivia Newton John's Physical and wanting to watch the music video but my mom wouldn't let me. She said it wasn't for children. So I asked 'why? Is is scary?' I remember being really stumped on why I couldn't watch it.

Erika 2004 said...

@UT: Thanks for stopping through. You gave me two more songs to listen to differently! I never paid enough attention to the lyrics of either song to realize that there was so much sex involved. I'm so naive!!

See, that's what music misses these days, a little creative sexual seduction. Now, it's just "get butt-naked" or "I Want Your Sex".

@TGFPH: I remember that video. It actually confused me at the time, because before I saw the video, I thought that she was talking about something nasty, at least nasty to me in my 8 year old mind. Especially at the end when she says "let's get animal, animal". But since i thought that videos back then represented what the song was about, I saw the video and changed my mind. I thought, oh they're just working out. LOL.

Eb the Celeb said...

Why did I just see booty call the other day. I forgot how funny that movie was.

Cat said...

it's so obvious now but as a kid had no idea about salt and peppers "push it" just knew my parent's didn't want me hearing it.

Not Your Average Male said...

How about Bob Marley's "Stir it Up" -- I was so entranced by the melody as a youth that I had no idea what he was stirring until many years later.

Go 'head, Bobby -- stir it up good

Cat said...

Oh, and I forgot about that other reggee song- "Girl, I'm gonna make you sweat" (I don't know the actual title). Have you heard those lyrics? Bad news.

Erika 2004 said...

@Cat: I had never heard that song before, so I looked it up on youtube. That is so crass!!! They certainly didn't leave much to the imagination!!

My husband wanted to add "Encore" by Cheryl Lynn to the list.