20 August 2006

And just where IS your London Bridge, young lady?

Thank goodness I'm back! I've missed you all so much! For a week, I couldn't get my blog to work. Something crazy happened with the transfer to new Blogger software, and in my effort to switch over, I accidentally created a new...

Well, it doesn't matter. I'm back.

And now that I'm here, I need us to consider something very important.

Where the hell is a lady's London Bridge? Because a lot of Americans seem to know. After all, we the people have sent Fergie's song "London Bridge" to number one on the Billboard singles chart.

At first, the chorus seems to make sense. It's apparently a coy reference to a woman's... um... hoo-hah. But take a second to really consider these lyrics:

How come every time you come around
My London, London Bridge want to go down

Like London, London, London
Wanna go down like
London London London

See what I mean? It's sort of apparent what the song is about, but not really. Which part of Fergie's body operates like a bridge? Because there's something really wrong with her if she's got an organ that moves that way. Or if she isn't talking about a bridge raising and lowering, is she referring to "London Bridge is falling down?" As in collapsing in a flaming wreck? Because that's not sexy.

(And also? This song is a total rip-off of "Hollaback Girl." But I digress.)

Of course, Fergie has made something of a career out of nonsense sex songs. As a member of the Black Eyed Peas, she helped bring the world "My Humps," a song whose video mesmerized my former roommate and me for weeks. (All those bored-looking women in skimpy shorts on motorcycles! How can they be so disinterested and yet so skanky?)

Now granted, the chorus to "My Humps"can be understood in a jiffy. "My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps." 'Nuff said.

But the bridge of this song? Consider this nugget from Black Eyed Pea will.i.am :

Mix your milk with my cocoa puff
Milky, milky cocoa puff

Mix your milk with my cocoa puff

Milky, milky riiiiiiight...

A few months ago, my friend Adam blogged about not understanding this part of the song. (Scroll down this post to find his analysis and see a picture of me looking cute). At first I resisted, but now I agree.

On one hand, if will.i.am is a man talking to a woman, then the sexual parallels of his words are all backward.

On the other hand, if he's speaking in the voice of a woman who is seducing a man--which I think is what he's doing--then it's still weird. Milk? Sure. Semen. But what's a woman's "cocoa puff?" Is it... um... hair? Because that's all I can think of that might make sense.

But why would you sing about that? Isn't a woman a tease if she wants to stop hooking up when you reach her "cocoa puff?" Does she merit her own song?

In both "London Bridge" and "My Humps," the attempt at cleverness gets in the way of sense, which undermines the cleverness being sought.

Kelis' "Milkshake"--to borrow an example from this week's Entertainment Weekly--is a much more successful coy-but-sexy song. When she sings, "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard," you can actually understand that she means jiggling her bosoms. (Or "buzz-ooms," to quote my grandfather.)

The clarity makes the song more fun. It helps us know what to jiggle when we're literally intepreting the lyrics on a dance floor. With the Fergie tracks? You just have to shake something and hope for the best.

Of course, the beats are still good, so maybe the best answer is to stop thinking and keep dancing.

Then we don't have wonder why Fergie added an erroneous "t" to the title of her upcoming album, "The Dutchess."

Instead, we can just put milk on our cocoa puffs until our London-London-Londons go down.

P.S.--The photo below is of the original London Bridge, which is now in Lake Havasu, Arizona. Love those wacky facts!

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At 3:59 PM, Anonymous kalle said...

A hilarious and profound analysis on silly songs, Mark! One does get distracted, if one listens to lyrics too carefully.

I agree with on the issue of somewhat subtle, but very clear naughty lyrics. My favourite is, of course, from Led Zeppelin: "I know what it means to be alone. I sure wish I was at home. I don't care what the neighbours say, I wanna love you each and every day". Play that to mom and she won't react, but think about what's really going on. Why would the neighbours complain...?

And I do have a bit more dirty idea about what they mean with the cocoa puffs... but I'm probably wrong.

At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the whole dutchess with the t is a pot reference. like the missy elliot song about dutch... it's a blunt, I think.

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous katy said...

I know you aren't as enthusiastic about the classic rock n' roll, but my favorite coyly dirty lyrics are in the track "Squeezebox" by the Who. (You may remember a discussion about it between Lindsay and her father on "Freaks & Geeks.")

It's ostensibly about one crazy accordian-playing lady. See, Mama's got this squeezebox, so Daddy never sleeps at night. She plays it all night, and the music's all right, and she goes "in and out and in and out and in and out."

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Whoa! I bet the "dutchess" thing IS about marijuana. Very good call.

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Brooke said...

I always assumed the milk and cocoa puffs references were meant to portray a black man getting with a white woman (will.i.am and fergie?)...am I just totally off base with that one?

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous kalle said...

Need to get back to this once more, having just heard the song (yes, it really is a "Hollaback Girl" plagiate).

Maybe the metaphor is that when the guy in the song comes around, Fergie does not stop him, like most of the others, who come by with high hopes. So, the bridge is a symbol of her willingness. While the bridge is "up" you can't cross it, can't have her, but when it goes "down" the road is clear all the way to the crown jewels... right?

Although, we are actually talking about the Tower Bridge here, but as long as there aren't too many Londoners involved in the discussion, it hardly matters. :o)


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