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Black Sky Thinking

Black Sky Thinking: Baby Got Back?
The Quietus , May 19th, 2008 11:32

Why women love dirty boy music, by Christina McDermott

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As a rule, I like to view myself as being a thoroughly modern lass and I'd like to think that this is something reflected in my music tastes. You're just as likely to find the selected works of Holger Czukay on my ipod as you are Girls Aloud's 'Something Kinda Ooh' - a song I have which I have been reliably told is "Pop's best homage to Anal Sex ever recorded". However, like many women, I harbour a secret.

Now here's a test for you. Say you're out and about doing all those cool things that young people do, and suddenly a song like Alice Cooper's 'Poison' comes on. Just watch all the women in the room. You may hear an excited shriek of: "OHMYGODILOVETHISSONG!" You may see masses of lustrous female locks being thrown around. You may even see women outside having a cigarette throw their fags to the ground and start beating the windows in the kind of oestrogen laden fury rarely seen outside of a 1987 Judas Priest concert. Gentlemen, it's time to come clean. We fucking love your dirty boy music.

Now, Dirty Boy Music to give it a term I just came up with literally ten seconds ago, is a peculiar beast. The best way to define it is 'any song containing sentiments which, if you used them on an actual real life woman, would probably earn you a swift boot in the knackers'. My only personal initiation into this wonderful world of misogynist sentiments came at a rather early stage in my musical development when my father would rock me to sleep at night to the strains of Kid Creole and the Coconut's 'Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy', a song which contains the charming refrain "Cause if I was in your blood / then you wouldn't be so ugly".

Getting the balance right can be tricky though. Sir Mix-a-Lot (a man who doesn't sound so much like a rapper as a brand of dogfood) is one in particular who treads a fine line when it comes to the tricky subject of treating women as being more than mere receptacles for your John Thomas. His 1992 chart topping hit 'Baby Got Back' comes across as a rather charming - if slightly ham-fisted homage to the larger than average women, even if in the video Mr Mix-a-Lot appears to be rapping on a giant arse. If anything it's slightly refreshing to hear some musical proof that you can have some meat on your bones and be sexually attractive so long as you don't ask too many questions about what your bloke intends to do with your rear end once he gets his hands on it. Pity then that he chose to follow it up with 'Put 'Em On The Glass', a tune where he entreats women to get their tits out for him when he's driving down a motorway, an act which I'm sure can't be sanctioned in the Highway Code. Perhaps, not wanting them to feel left out, he felt that he had to do his part for men who like a large chest on a woman, but as a rule, if you're going to ask your girlfriend to wash your car with her breasts, don't be too surprised if she turns your request down for more than mere health and safety reasons.

The thing about this kind of music is that for it to work, it can't take itself too seriously. It has to contain the right amount of knowing cheekiness combined with rib shaking good tunes for the artist in question to be able to carry it off. A great example of this is with Motley Crue's 'Girls Girls Girls' may be a homage to eyeing everything up with big hair, leggings and a pulse, but if you've ever read their biography The Dirt then you'll know that when it came to the crunch, these lads were more interested in less wholesome pursuits than merely sticking their hands down some girl's bra. The Beastie Boys may make it clear that all women are good for is doing cleaning up their man's messes in 'Girls' (taken off License to Ill, but they still make it clear that all the women they've managed to work up the courage to talk to have either told them where to go or cheated on them with their best friend. Want to hear a fine piece of misogynistic sentiment being shot down in flames? Turn to Dizzee Rascal's 'I Luv U', a deliciously aggressive piece of grime where all of Dizzee's chicken strut posturing is ripped to shreds by a teeth sucking, wise cracking East London girl, who cuts right through his jibes about her reputation with razor sharp, almost bored comebacks showing that she really doesn't give a shit about what he - or anyone else for that matter - may think about her.

Still confused? Think of it this way. If you're a woman with a mind of your own, what would you rather be listening to. A generically good looking lad moaning on about how their girlfriend left them and no one truly understands his plight? Or something you might actually want to listen to which, despite any superficially dodgy leanings you know has about as much serious sentiment behind it as the next X Factor winners single. Just, you know, don't do what the Rolling Stones did in 'Under my Thumb' and threaten to control our lives and beat the shit out of us. We tend not to like that.