WBEZ | rock n' roll http://www.wbez.org/tags/rock-n-roll Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The seedy underbelly of oldies music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/seedy-underbelly-oldies-music-106439 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3413200860_5fcd8e78d1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When I was a kid there were only two FM radio stations I could have on when my parents were driving me around: oldies or classical. I chose oldies.</p><p>I&#39;ve found myself listening to the oldies channel on Pandora when hanging out with the baby, based on nostalgia and the songs&#39; basic sing-a-long formation. Maybe it&#39;s been a while since I listened to these tunes, because I&#39;m a little shocked now by some of the old songs that have always been my favorites.</p><p>Obviously with pinning, going steady and sock hops, oldies evoke charmingly retro, bygone era. I used to see these as innocent tunes, ideal to listen to as you and your main squeeze drank a milkshake via two straws. But now I realize the tableaus these songs paint aren&#39;t always so rosy, at least if you&#39;re a woman. To wit:</p><p><strong>Runaround Sue is about slut-shaming:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/c49klxPex-k" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Dion&#39;s cautionary tale about a cheating girl is certainly enjoyable, with its nonsense word chorus. But what&#39;s the theme, exactly? Telling everyone on earth that not only did his ex-girlfriend cheat on him, she did it with &quot;every single guy in town.&quot; Hyperbole much? Later on in the song Dion sings, &quot;Sue goes out with other guys.&quot; Well, that makes things more complicated. Maybe Sue didn&#39;t realize that she and Dion were an exclusive couple. Maybe they were on a break, like Ross and Rachel. And now Dion&#39;s ruining her image. You know who Sue needs? Her boyfriend to come back to town <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REeeucZtDY0">to save her reputation</a>. (Haha, just kidding. Sue doesn&#39;t need a man to save her reputation. She&#39;s not helpless.)</p><p><strong>&quot;The Wanderer&quot; glorifies an almost psychotic level of sexual promiscuity:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5m6lymJy57E" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Oh look, it&#39;s Dion again! Seriously, if you look at the lyrics to this song it&#39;s like this guy gets a kick out of being a complete a-hole and practically hates women.</p><p><em><span>I kiss &#39;em and I love &#39;em &#39;cause to me they&#39;re all the same/<br />I hug &#39;em and I squeeze &#39;em they don&#39;t even know my name</span></em><br /><br />Then, when these poor dumb girls ask him who&#39;s his favorite, he seems to get a sick pleasure out of informing them that it&#39;s not them &ndash; unless they happen to be Rosie. What the hell is wrong with this guy? Maybe this is why Sue didn&#39;t want to stick around.</p><p><strong>Judy gets victimized when Johnny is the true villain:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FvPO2gJU4aI" width="601"></iframe></p><p>This is a song by Lesley Gore, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmOrWG2FTbg">who actually sang one of the few feminist songs of the era</a>.&nbsp;But in this song, which is a sequel to &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsYJyVEUaC4">It&#39;s My Party (And I&#39;ll Cry If I Want To</a>),&quot; the buck gets passed to a gal when the guy is just as &ndash; if not more &ndash; guilty. In &quot;It&#39;s My Party,&quot; Lesley Gore&#39;s crying because at her birthday party, her boyfriend Johnny sneaks off with Judy and returns, having given his ring to Judy. Some friend, Judy! What an ass, Johnny! You couldn&#39;t have done this at any other time? Now you&#39;ve broken Lesley Gore&#39;s heart, embarrassed her in front of all her friends and ruined her birthday! In &quot;Judy&#39;s Turn To Cry,&quot; though, Lesley brags that Judy&#39;s upset, now, because Johnny took Lesley back &ndash;&nbsp;not because he realized he made a mistake with Judy but because he saw Lesley kissing another guy. Johnny punched Lesley&#39;s new flame and took her back. So why is Judy the villainess here? Johnny&#39;s the insensitive cad with jealousy and anger issues. Who would even want him? You&#39;re both better off without him, Lesley and Judy.</p><p><strong>Chubby Checker really milked &quot;The Twist&quot; for everything it was worth, didn&#39;t he?</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xbK0C9AYMd8" width="601"></iframe></p><p>OK, this isn&#39;t really in line with the previous observations, but I happened to subscribe to the &quot;Let&#39;s Twist Again&quot; channel and here are the Twist-related songs Chubby recorded:</p><p>&quot;<em>The Twist&quot;<br /><br />&quot;Let&#39;s Twist Again&quot;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Slow Twistin&quot;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Twistin Round the World&quot;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Twist It Up&quot;</em></p><p><em>&quot;The Twist (Yo, Twist!)&quot; </em>(with the Fat Boys, naturally)</p><p>I mean, let someone else have a turn with that dance, Chubby, dang.</p><p><em>Follow me on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/seedy-underbelly-oldies-music-106439