Inane Thoughts: Diary of a Frustrated Writer

Following yesterday’s blog my intrigue about the album O-Town, by the boy-band O-Town, got the better of me and I began reading the lyrics to this unheard album. I now think Danan and Brent not only had a hand in the tracklisting, but that they have actually have written these lyrics. Either that or they were the result of a glitch in a lyric generator that has been programmed using the words: “sensitive”, “sexy”, “Backstreet Boys”, “insipid” and “ooooh, sex”.

The first half of the album consists of the sort of lyrics that a Zoo-magazine-reading teenage boy might come up with, or a burgeoning sex pest. An example of this comes in the song ‘Six Seconds’, which is ostensibly about how often the average man/idiot thinks about sex, but is also by an amazing coincidence the same length of time that it takes a member of O-Town to achieve climax. Here is a sample lyric from this ‘song’:

Every six seconds or less
Preoccupation with the opposite sex
And you’re the one I blame
For making me go crazy

I think the most worrying line is the “you’re the one I blame” line, which is the sort of excuse that the Daily Mail would use to excuse men who sexually assault girls wearing skimpy clothing. The narrator goes on to say that he’d like this girl to be “sponging all over me”, which given the alternative use of the word “sponge” is an even more disgusting turn of phrase than it first seems. Finally the narrator ends up repeating the lines:

I cannot concentrate on anything
But this urge I have inside
Every six seconds
Every six seconds
Until you give me some

I think even the Nuts-reading-teenage-sex-pest might have looked back on these lines and taken a sharp breath. By this point I’ve begun to see this album as a piece of Warholian conceptual art, based around pushing the boundaries of the sort of lyrics that can acceptably be marketed at teenage girls if they are accompanied by vacuous music. These lyrics sound like the thoughts that a leering old man might have, if he were allowed to inhabit the body of a 14 year old boy, or had taken an overdose of viagra.

Another song on this first half of the album is a 21st century update on the teen-masturbation-movie, Weird Science, in which two teenagers create a woman to do appalling things to, in a daring exploration of the ethics of whether or not programming a robot to have sex with you makes it a consensual act. The song in question is called ‘Liquid Dreams’, which is obviously meant to be an elliptical reference to wet dreams, but actually ends up making it sound more like it’s a song about wetting the bed.

The main lyric goes thus:

Now this hot girl (hot), she’s not your average girl

She’s a morpherotic dream from a magazine

And she’s so fine (damn) designed to blow your mind

She’s a dominatrix super-model beauty queen

I dream about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child,

Just a little touch of Madonna’s wild style,

With Janet Jackson’s smile, throw in a body like Jennifer

You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams

Angelina’s lips to kiss in the dark

Underneath Cindy C’s beauty mark

When it comes to the test well Tyra’s the best

And Salma Hayek brings the rest

Now, leaving aside the obvious misogynistic undertones of the song, let’s just address the picture that they’ve painted with these words. The girl in question is a mix of Destiny’s Child (I assume this is a sort of tapestry weaved from of all of the members who’ve ever been in Destiny’s Child, but without any specifics it’s difficult to know what they have in mind), on top of this she has a touch of Madonna’s wild style, probably her conical bra, as well as Janet Jackson’s smile, which wipes out at least one part of the Destiny’s Child mixture. Next up they “throw in” (this about sums up their attitude to women) the body of ‘Jennifer’. First, I assume this is Jennifer Lopez, but it could be anyone from Jennifer Aniston to Jennifer Hudson, who have varying body-shapes and make it difficult to picture what they are thinking of (probably a good thing). Secondly, with the all-encompassing word ‘body’, they’ve pretty much used up the majority of the Destiny’s Child mix.

If they’d stopped at this point we’d now have Janet Jackson’s smile, an undefined Jennifer’s body and, if we don’t count the head as part of the body, the ears, eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, hair and skull of various members of Destiny’s Child. However, they don’t stop at this point, oh no, they go on (and on).

Next up we have Angelina’s lips (though creepily only to kiss in the dark), which insinuates that either Janet Jackson’s smile is separate to her lips, or that their dream woman has two mouths. Whether it is indeed one or two mouths, at least one full mouth will be obscured by some massive version of Cindy Crawford’s beauty mark, which may explain why they want to kiss in the dark.

Next they explain that “when it comes to the test” that “Tyra’s the best”. Now, I don’t know what ‘test’ is a euphemism for and I don’t wish to know, so I’ll ignore this and pretend they’re talking about Tyra Banks’ ability in examinations. They don’t specify what sort of examination she is the best at though and I’m starting to wonder whether O-Town are collectively any good at painting pictures with their words. In fact I’m beginning to think that O-Town’s words might be an ill-thought through embarrassment to the English language.

Finally, Salma Hayek brings the “rest”. Given that Destiny’s Child have the ears, eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, hair and skull, Janet Jackson the smile, Angelina Jolie the lips, Cindy Crawford an giant obscuring mark, ‘Jennifer’ the body and Tyra the ability to pass an exam, I really cannot see what Salma Hayek has left to bring to the table. Perhaps she brings the internal organs. I’ve heard her pancreas is rather titillating.

Later on in the song they attempt to address the fact that they might be focusing a little too heavily on the physical attributes of this monstrous woman and add the line: “Looks ain’t everything she’s got the sweetest personality/Like Halle B”. This of course makes all of their previous sexist leering fine, although some pedants and blowhards might say that they haven’t exactly redressed the balance, but what do they know eh?. ‘Sweet’ is enough for these boys, thankyou very much.

The sensitive souls of O-Town don’t stop there at revealing their extenstive sensitive side, there’s a whole second half of the album with which to further extrapolate their tenderness.

As an example of this ‘sensitive’ half of the album, I give you the beginning of the song ‘Sensitive’:

Sensitive

Who says a man’s not supposed to be?

Sensitive (I’m sensitive)

First up, I like that the last bit is in parentheses. It sounds like the sort of thing that should be whispered by a backing group, just to make it clear that in case you didn’t get what they were trying to say, it is definitely they who are sensitive.

The chorus then goes on:

I never hear you laugh

I never see you cry

Never heard you say you need a love like mine

See I’ve given you everything that’s inside

But you need to fill me up

‘Cos you’re not playing with the flame

Girl you won’t get burned

You know that’s not the kind of thing I do

It’s a mysterious lyric. The narrator has never heard this woman that he’s a-wooing laugh or cry. Questions quickly arise: is she a sociopath incapable of emotion; perhaps she’s a mute unable to vocalise these extremes of emotion; or perhaps the narrator has not actually met this girl, or spent time in her presence, but simply stares at her through her bedroom window from a nearby tree (more consistent with their previous output).

Given these possibilities it’s not surprising that she has specifically not said “I need a love like yours”. If she has heard any of the narrator’s other songs then she should be wary. She probably believes that the kind of love that he will be offering to her will be a bit weird: particularly if she’s heard the preceding track ‘Love Should Be A Crime’, which should lead her to the conclusion that she definitely doesn’t want to go around accepting O-Town’s definition of what love is, given they seem to believe that it’s some kind of criminal act (again, this is consistent with their previously discussed output)

The narrator then goes on to state that he’s given the girl in question everything that’s inside him, which makes it even more unsurprising that she doesn’t want his love, as I’m pretty sure that posting a collection of your excreted bodily fluids to a girl actually is a crime.

The narrator does, howver, go on to point out there is a redeeming feature of O-Town’s rather odd man-collective wooing – they don’t literally burn girls, as this is “not the kind of thing” they do. If I were giving them the benefit of the doubt I’d say this might be a metaphor, but given the laboured nature of the line, I have deduced that they are making the promise, quite literally, that they won’t burn her, which thus makes them sensitive. It certainly puts them one up on Danny Dyer.

I would go on to discuss songs like ‘The Painter’, in which they say that they can’t paint, sculpt or act (?!) adequately enough to describe a girl’s “bluer than blue” eyes, but they can sing them to her using their words. Words like “your eyes are bluer than blue”. Step aside Keats, piss off Yeats, go fuck yourself Rimbaud, O-Town rule the poetry in this town.

I will point out that I have only read these lyrics from various websites and have not listened to the songs. In fact, I don’t think I want to listen to the actual ‘music’, as it may spoil my view of this album as conceptual art.

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One Response to “Inane Thoughts: Diary of a Frustrated Writer”

  1. Phil Dyas Says:

    Just very good. Truly, this is pedantry of the highest order.

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