‘Bobby’s Girl’ might be the worst song ever

My radio was on scan. I was driving when I heard a woman’s voice sing the first line:

When people ask of me
What would you like to be
Now that your not a kid anymore…

I really wanted to hear what she was going to say, so I turned up the volume.

I know just what to say
I answer right away
There’s just one thing
I’ve been wishing for…

 

Here it comes…

I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl
That’s the most important thing to me…

 

At which point I said, to no one, “Seriously?”

Apparently, yes. Here’s the next verse:

And if I was Bobby’s girl
If I was Bobby’s girl
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be

 

“This is  a joke, right?” I said.

Each night I sit at home

Hoping that he will phone

 

“Come on, woman, go out. Get a life.” And then she says this:

But I know Bobby has someone else

Wait a minute, here. Hold on. After all that, Bobby has someone else? You are fucking kidding me.

Here’s the finish.

Still in my heart I pray
There soon will come the day
When I will have him all to myself…

I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl
That’s the most important thing to me…

And if I was Bobby’s girl
If I was Bobby’s girl
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be

I want to be Bobby’s girl

I want to be Bobby’s girl

I want to be Bobby’s girl

 

I knew it was an oldie, but I Googled for the details (and to check the lyrics.) Turns out the song is from 1962. That doesn’t make me feel less depressed. It’s not like I can say, “Look how far we’ve come, now we’ve got ‘Blurred Lines.’

What’s so upsetting to me about this idiotic song is that it describes a young woman’s fantasy life. Her dreams. Not her hum drum existence, but what she aspires to be.

There’s an awesome video of hilarious, brilliant, and beautiful Sarah Silverman on my Facebook feed from Jezebel that speaks to this. Right before Silverman hands the host a T-shirt that says “Feminist,” she talks about her reaction to the “Housewives” franchise.

Your heart-breaking attempts to look younger is the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future.

 

Silverman is talking about a hit show in the year 2013. What are women dreaming about right now? Really? What do we aspire to be? What are girls dreaming about? What do we think will make us happy? And don’t we grown-ups get how important it is for our kids to see us risk and try and fall on our face and get up again and go further? Every time take some step towards chasing our biggest dreams, no matter how small a move we make, we give others permission to do the same. It’s so much more fun to be your own girl.

Have you heard of First Aid Kit? We love this band!

Even the most dedicated of nine year olds can’t do all Taylor all the time. Luckily, over Spring Break last week, we discovered an awesome band: First Aid Kit. You’ve got to listen to this beautiful music and lyrics from two Swedish sisters. Here is “Emmylou” which I think is a reference to Emmylou Harris, yet another great artist.

If Taylor Swift is boy-crazy, is Dylan’s ‘Idiot Wind’ confessional?

Taylor Swift is a great writer, yet lately, the media seems determined to trivialize her lyrics as “boy-crazy” and “confessional.” Huh, I thought lots of artists, including, believe it or not,  males, wrote about love and break-ups.

Taylor-Swift-Vanity-Fair-Cover

I read all over the internet about how Taylor Swift humiliated herself in April’s Vanity Fair. I finally bought it and to my surprise, the actual piece is so great, I gave it to my nine year old daughter to read. (April’s Vanity Fair is great for kids. There’s a good piece on Malala Yousafzai and also one on Sheryl Sandberg, both which my daughter read.)

What I love about the VF article on Swift is that it makes clear what a driven, hard worker she is:

Watching her rehearse that day, it became clear that Swift works incredibly hard. While her band– which she commands in a friendly, laid back way– was taking a break, she continued practicing, playing songs on her guitar and piano, and going over sound issues with her soundman. “I’m the type of person, I have to study to get an A on the test,” she would tell me later. “I have to work really hard to get that record deal– I have to spend years at it to get good. I have to practice to be good at guitar. I have to write 100 songs before I write one good one.

I would’ve bribed Swift to convey that exact message to my perfectionist, easily frustrated daughter. But, lucky me, no bribery needed and my ethics remain intact.

In another part I love, Swift says:

For a female to write about her feelings and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend …that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.

 

This from the woman who says she’s not a feminist. But as I wrote about it then, she is 23 year old. Look at her actions, not what she calls herself. I am so glad she said this. It is SO sexist. For God’s sake, Eminem writes incessantly about break-ups, not to mention classic stars like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Would anyone ever call Dylan, the great poet, “confessional?” Or any male artist girl-crazy? Is that even a term?

Check out the lyrics of “Idiot Wind” rumored to be about Dylan’s wife Sara. Does this song remind you of anyone younger and blonder?

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn’t believe after all these years you didn’t know even me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven’t known peace and quit for so long I can’t remember what it’s like
There’s a lone soldier on the cross smoke pouring out of a boxcar door
You didn’t know it you didn’t think it could be done in the final end he won the wars
After losing every battle.

I woke up on the roadside daydreaming about the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are making me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad what’s bad is good you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom.I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed your eyes don’t look
Into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone faced while the
Building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees while the
Springtime turned
Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to Capitol
Idiot wind blowing every time you move you teeth
You’re an idiot babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I’ll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

John Lennon: a true original

After my post on Nick Cave’s sexist CD cover and the ubiquity of images pairing covered men and uncovered women, my sister reminded me of Annie Leibovitz’s famous photograph:

rolling-stone-john-lennon-and-yoko-Annie-Leibovitz

This photo of a naked John Lennon with his wife, Yoko Ono, was taken on Dec. 8, 1980, the last day of Lennon’s life.

Ono was, of course, demonized for putting some kind of spell on Lennon and then breaking up the Beatles.

John Lennon is a true artist and absolute original. This image is just one of the many ways Lennon’s talent and vision made the world a better place.

 

Clothed men, naked women: a retropsective

I have an idea for a themed art show that could travel the museums of the world: “Clothed men, naked women: a retrospective.” How many galleries and halls do you think would overflow?

I just posted about repetitive gender imagery in “riding bitch,” where the female is shown behind the male on a bike, animal, imaginary creature etc. This sexism is persistent in depicting a fantasy world marketed to children. Amazing how the imaginary world is just as sexist as the real one, huh? Wonder how that happens…

Lynley Stace linked to one of my posts, and that’s when I saw Nick Cave’s new CD cover on her blog.

nickcave-pushtheskyaway

Stace writes:

As one woman commented on Facebook, this image is problematic because it depicts a naked woman opposite a fully-clothed man (in a suit, no less). The woman looks upset or humiliated because her face is covered and Nick Cave looks as if he’s ordering her to go to her room (i.e. he is treating her like a child).

What I would add to that comment is that the woman, judging by her youthful body, is much younger than Nick Cave. Nick Cave is currently 55 years old. That female body looks under 30. So the power is with Nick Cave in every possible respect.

 

Also, check this out. The image is getting as much traction as Cave can get out of it. Stace writes: “Also, the album cover isn’t JUST the album cover. Turns out this image is being used for general promotional advertising.”

advertising

I used to be a fan of Cave. No more. What really gets me is when you look at this image, you can feel how radical and cool Cave thinks he is.

Hey, Nick, it’s been done. Throughout history, again and again. Here’s a version from Manet:

manet

GQ:

gq

Vanity Fair:

scarlett-johansson

I could fill my entire blog with these images. Cave, you’ve lost your originality and you’re showing your 55 years. You’ve become a copy cat, a cliche, and no more an avante-garde artist than Larry Flynt was a proponent for free speech.

#NotBuyingIt

and if you agree,

Please Tweet: Nick Cave’s Push Away the Sky been there, seen that and #NotBuyingIt

 

I admit it, I loveTaylor Swift’s ‘Red’

My daughter and I have a favorite song on Red: “All Too Well.” I think it’s about Jake Gylenhaal, clues being: reference to sister, plaid shirt, he’s close to his mom, Taylor had Thanksgiving with his family at Maggie G.’s house and that’s scarf season, right?

Whatever you think about Swift, and I’m a fan, she’s great with lyrics. Some lines from “Well” I really like “you called me up again just to break me like a promise”…”Cause here we are again on that little town street, You almost ran the red cause you were looking over at me” (Can totally picture that) and finally “Time won’t fly it’s like I’m paralyzed by it.”

Swift is a talented story-teller. I recommend the whole CD.

“All Too Well”

I walked through the door with you
The air was cold but something ’bout it felt like home somehow and I
Left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you still got it in your drawer even now

Oh, your sweet disposition
And my wide-eyed gaze
We’re singing in a car getting lost Upstate
The autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days
And I know it’s long gone, and that magic´s not here no more
And it might be okay, but I’m not fine at all

Cause here we are again on that little town street
You almost ran the red cause you were looking over at me
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well

Photo album on the counter
Your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the t-ball team
You tell me about your past thinking your future was me

And I know it’s long gone, and there was nothing else I could do
And I forget about you long enough to forget why I needed to

Cause here we are again in the middle of the night
We’re dancing round the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well
Yeah

And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
´til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well

Hey you called me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumbled up piece of paper lying here
Cause I remember it all all all too well

Time won’t fly it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I´d like to be my old self again
But I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it, cause you remember it all too well Yeah

Cause there we are again when I loved you so
Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all
Down the stairs, you were there, you remember it all
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Reel Girl rates “Red” ***HH***

Artemis strikes again

If you’ve been following Reel Girl, you know I’ve been comparing Katniss Everdeen to Artemis ever since I read the book.

On the Ms. Blog today there is a post about the musician Dar Williams who I love. Her new CD “In the Time of Gods” was inspired by the Greek gods and goddesses.

Here’s what she says:

“I like Artemis the best. I’ve met that woman, and she is reviled in our society. She lives in the woods and she feeds squirrels and she has a shot gun and she hates your guts. I love her.”

Does that sound like Katniss or what?

Read the interview here. I can’t wait to hear the CD.

Here’s to hoping we run into more goddesses in books, on screens, and in music in 2012.

Taylor Swift sings her way from victim to hero, triumphs at Grammys

When my daughter was seven years old, she turned me on to Taylor Swift. Every time the car radio scanned to a Swift song, she’d call out from the back seat, “I like this!” So last night when Swift sang “Mean” at the Grammys, I got chills. Swift’s original lyrics and radiant performances make her a great role model for girls. She shows kids that, with some creativity and perseverance, you can write your way from victim to hero.

In “Mean” Swift sings:

I bet you got pushed around
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now
Cause you can’t lead me down that road
And you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Swift’s “Mean” has become a beloved anthem for girls around the world. I think the lyrics resonate with kids in part because the song takes on the false belief that permeates so much of kidworld. Especially for girls, being mean is too often seen as cool or powerful. As you get older, in college, cruelty can continue to be equated with being smart, masquerading as a cynical or skeptical brand of superior intelligence. Whereas being kind can be seen as weak, uncool, or even dumb. Too many grown-ups go on to maintain this warped view.

In contrast, Swift directly challenges the mean-cool dogma with her sweetness, her songs about how she loves her mom, and the devoted way she treats her fans. Swift is also a brilliant lyricist who writes openly about her humiliations and, again and again, turns them into triumphs.

What humiliations? Many involve love and relationships, but some are less personal, more public, and have everything to do with her career.

At the 2009 MTV music awards, after the 19-year-old Swift won Best Female Video for “You Belong to Me,” rapper Kanye West stormed the stage, claiming the award should’ve gone to Beyonce. Both Swift and her mother were reportedly crying backstage. Later that night, when Beyonce won her own MTV award for Video of the Year, she asked Swift to take that time speak (which was cool of Beyonce and a good moment for females supporting each other publicly.)

Swift wrote a song about Kanye West and forgiveness called “Innocent.”

A year later, at the 2010 Grammys, Swift performed a duet with her idol, Stevie Nicks. She sang off key. A well known critic tore her apart, saying that Swift should reconsider her career as a singer.

It was about that experience that Swift wrote “Mean:”

You have pointed out my flaws again
As if I don’t already see them
I walk with my head down
Trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again…

And I can see you years from now in a bar
Talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion
But nobody’s listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing…

The chorus goes likes this:

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

But last night she sang:

“Someday, I’ll be singing this at the Grammys.”

Congratulations Taylor, you rock.

Click here to see Taylor Swift singing “Mean” at last night’s Grammys. Show this to your kids.

Here’s my eight-year-old daughter dressed as Swift for Halloween:

Here are all the lyrics to “Mean.”

You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again
Got me feeling like I’m nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I’m wounded
You picking on the weaker man

Well you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides
And your wildfire lies and your humiliation
You have pointed out my flaws again
As if I don’t already see them
I walk with my head down
Trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I bet you got pushed around
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now
Cause you can’t lead me down that road
And you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

And I can see you years from now in a bar
Talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion
But nobody’s listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing
But all you are is mean

All you are is mean
And a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean, yeah
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so?..

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city (Why you gotta be so?..)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean, yeah (Why you gotta be so?..)
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me (Why you gotta be so?..)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?