What a Girl Wants
Part One: The Things I Love to Hate
During the first winter I spent in Manhattan (after moving my extremely naive and sheltered little punk ass from Southern California), just hearing the song “California Dreaming” was all it took to reduce me to a whimpering pile of devastated dreams and incomprehensible sorrow. There’s nothing quite like the brutal heartlessness (and wind chill factor) of a New York winter to make a man out of you if you’re a woman, and a woman out of you if you’re a man. I’m over it now. I’ve learned to layer up like an Eskimo and appreciate the winter, but don’t ask me to leave my house when the temperature dips below zero. When you can fly through the air and break a bone because you stopped staring intently at the ground for 30 seconds as you walk, I’ll risk Cabin Fever, thanks just the same. There’s really only one problem with not leaving the house (I’ve worked it out, and anything else can be handled from inside these four walls): self-imposed isolation makes it difficult to meet single guys.
There is a cruelly ironic resonance, this being winter and all, in the sudden, slap-in-the-face dawning of the fact that my three closest girlfriends have recently 1) Gotten married, 2) Become engaged, 3) Fallen in love with a guy who bought her an iMac. Holy Christ! When did I disqualify myself from the dating population? Was I in a coma while everyone around me was pairing up? Was I temporarily off the planet the day they handed out the mojo? Even the platonic guy friends have done a disappearing act. David Lee Beowulf is in Kosovo until May, Bryan Judas Priest moved to Long Island — so he might as well be in Kosovo — and Adam Heavy Metal is — this is just too perfect — planning his wedding. It’s like all guys are Superman and I’m wearing Kryptonite underwear. And while there’s an interest implied in the gift of Love Cuffs (“Don’t Let Them Get Away This Valentine’s Day!”) slipped into my tiny hands by Tommy Rocker when we went to see Beck together, as of this writing, those cuffs have yet to be taken for a trial run. I am beginning to think it was unwise to seal that pact with Satan, trading in the possibility of a loving relationship for a thriving and kick ass career in rock journalism! But the chance to interview Blackie Lawless from WASP, plus all the free CDs and swag, was just too tempting to pass up.
If one more person jokes with me that the best way to stay warm in the cold weather is to “share your body heat,” I will surely strangle them to death. I may be short of a boyfriend to keep me toasty, but I am kept warm by my intense, burning hatred of many things that work my nerves to no end. Cell phones, people who ride their bikes on the sidewalk, slow walkers, telephone solicitors, my upstairs neighbor, my rat bastard landlord who just raised my rent $100 a month, completely obliterating my cost of living increase of — you guessed it — $100 a month: I hate all of these things. I also hate boom cars, boom bikes, the Grammy awards, Fred Durst, bald men with bad comb-overs, George W. Bush, and people who don’t recycle. Speaking of misplaced rage with the threat of grievous bodily harm, WHAT is UP with those closet freaks who pee on the seat in public restrooms and then don’t wipe it off? What is their problem? Do I even want to know? And how about the local news programming that’s become this psychotic circus of murder and trivia? Why does anybody care to read news stories on the Millionaire Bride or Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez’s various illegal activities? Please enlighten me as to how knowing these things raises my quality of life. Smokers, litterbugs, and van drivers who double-park on side streets — may they die like pigs in Hell — these are a few of my least favorite things.
Obviously, I have all this time and energy to hate because I am living a childlike, thoroughly low-stakes, riskless substitute for real life. It’s time to grow up, and get down in the trenches of the romantic warzone again. I’ll let you know if I survive.
Part Two: I Love How You Love Me, Sort Of
You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. I look around me and I see it isn’t so, oh no. Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. And what’s wrong with that? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that right now. Today’s love songs suck! I have no issue with songs about love, passion, soul connections, or whatever, but I cannot stomach those stupid “You-banged-my-best-friend-but-I-still-want-you-back-oh-baby” type love songs, or — 1,000 times worse — songs about the isolated act of sex where love, commitment, or respect aren’t even factored into the equation. Or how about this: sex songs that AREN’T SEXY? This is the kind of pretentious, brain dead crapola that encourages emotional dysfunction and perpetuates the myth of male superiority. Give me a motherfucking break! The love songs that grab my attention or yank my chain don’t have to be reality-based, what-fate-will-not-allow traumas, or self-aggrandizing, totally smarmy romantic fantasies that only take place on alternate reality Earth. A good love song just needs to work a kind of magic on you, to make you believe that full-on devotion and eternal worship — where the sex never, ever gets old — is possible. I’m willing to buy any song that can sell me that fantasy, but “What a Girl Wants” doesn’t make the cut, and “If You Had My Love” isn’t even in the game.
When I really want to body-rock, I turn to classic songs from the past to bring it on home. Here are some tunes that lock my libido into high gear.
“Heat of the Moment” by Asia
Key Lyric: “The heat of the moment shone in your eyes.”
The Message: Even One Night Stands can be a Quality Thing.
Coming at just 3 minutes and 45 seconds, Progressive Rock Supergroup Asia’s best known hit is stacked up with more flowery guitar solos and trilling keyboard interludes than the entire Yes catalog. “Heat of the Moment” is a very “busy” song that, when placed on the analysts’ couch, doesn’t appear to really be about anything. Singer John Wetton takes a begrudged apology, throws in some rather pedestrian, metered-rhyming, and tarts it all up with a few obtuse images of “dragon’s wings” and random mythical imagery. What does it mean? Who knows? The pay-off comes in the chorus of Wetton’s repeated, insistent cooing “It was the heeeat of the moment” that’ll get you in the mood. When coupled with “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” this song makes a perfect bookend to your own personal Monster Ballads rock block.
“Wait” by White Lion
Key Lyric: “I never had a chance to love you.”
The Message: Holy shit! Did I ever screw up!
“Wait” is my number one, hands-down, favorite song of all time. I can see the video for this hair metal classic of unrequited longing play in my head from start to finish every time I hear it. The lyrics are innocuously vague, and contradict each other all over the place: Something about hunky-yet-sensitive Danish front man, Mike Tramp, begging his girlfriend to “show your loving like it was before” while simultaneously pleading his case that she “wait” because he “never had a chance” to love her. Well, it’s either one or the other, isn’t it? Doesn’t matter. Any guy who looks hot enough to stop a clock, down on his knees begging for another chance (he actually sings “I’m begging you, wait!”) gets my attention. Guitarist Vito Bratta steals the show over and over again with virtuoso riffs that lift you up and take you to another dimension, shaming Eddie Van Halen on his best day. A truly great and sentimental love song of the highly underappreciated pop metal genre!
“Love Will Lead You Back” By Taylor Dayne
Key Lyric: “In my heart I know, love will lead you back.”
The Message: Great sex can make you seriously delusional.
When it comes to matters of the heart, I don’t believe in second chances. Likewise, I would strongly advise anyone against reconciling with a lover who stomped all over your mind/body/ego — especially if that lover left owing you money. I was at a particularly low point, having just been dumped by THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, when dance diva Taylor Dayne stepped in to belt out her heart-felt conviction that “love will lead you back to my arms, where you belong.” This song tore me up with its message of unshakable faith in the power of love to work a miracle on someone who was too stupid to know a good thing when they had it. “Love Will Lead You Back” provided me with the catharsis I needed to cry it all out and get on with my life — you know, like an emotional Band-Aid. An absolutely gorgeous and ultimately timeless message of self-delusion, if “Love Will Lead You Back” can melt the heart of a cynical, battle-scarred, love casualty like me, imagine what it can do for the truly young and naive.
“Desire” by Gene Loves Jezebel
Key Lyric: “What you get is what you see.”
The Message: Light some candles and break out the hot oil!
Nothing gets me in the mood for love like the extended, “Come and Get It” mix of Gene Love’s Jezebel’s sex-drenched “Desire.” Back in the ’80, I slapped “Desire” on the disc player before all my conquests, and it never failed to get the action going. The lyrics move from playful (“Oh sugar, I’ve been missing you”) to hot and spicy (“I am a ball of fire/ And your heart’s desire”) and you will move right along with them. Unmatching twin singers, Michael and Jay Aston (now that’s a fantasy I’d like to explore) trade off on the den-of-dark-seduction vocals and orgasmic “huh!”s that punctuate the swirling, exceedingly tight instrumental interplay. I have a fifteen minute version of “Desire” that, if you time everything just right, is long enough to soundtrack the entire scenario. Unless you are very, very lucky.
“Love of a Lifetime” by Fire House
Key Lyric: “I finally found the love of a lifetime”
The Message: This is the Real Thing.
For whatever reason, (and although I own the record) I always seem to hear “Love of a Lifetime” piped over the sound system when I’m shopping in the Mall. The song must trigger some kind of chemical reaction in the brain that makes women buy more clothes. I don’t know, but “Love of a Lifetime” is the only song that stops me cold in my tracks every time I hear it and spins me into reverie of “What if I met the perfect guy for me?” Fantasy Land. The only real hit Fire House ever had makes you believe that a “forever” thing is entirely plausible. “Love of a Lifetime” shows up at more Headbanger weddings than any other modern rock song.
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard
Key Lyric: “Love is like a bomb baby come on get it on.”
The Message: Do me.
Everything you need to know is on the table by the second line of the song. Bluntly put, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is about fucking. It’s the clever, we’re-talking-about-it-but-we’re-not-really-saying-it way in which Def Leppard dance around the subject that makes this a tune even your parents could love. The sound is heavy, the guitars are loud, the band is hot, and I’m buying the fantasy big time. Any potential suitor whose seduction scenario includes a rousing chorus of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” will get in my pants in about thirty seconds.
This article originally appeared in the March edition of Gail’s online column, The Worley Gig , found at http://www.pandomag.com.