One of my favorite bands ever is Semisonic. It’s pretty tragic they’re only really known for their biggest hit “Closing Time” which, while a great song, it was only one of many amazing tracks they put out.
So the other day I’m listening to their brilliant second album Feeling Strangely Fine (Can I pimp them hard enough? Bless the 90s.) and the song “Completely Pleased” comes on (no pun was intended in the making of that sentence, and you will see why I had to point this out in just a sec).
Now I’ve listened to this song over a hundred times since 1998. I love it, it’s awesome, all that.
So it is absolutely shocking to me that I’d apparently never listened to the lyrics before. I don’t know what made this particular listen any different than any other, but after a minute or so, I noticed something:
I want to see you smiling, weak in the knees
I want to see you come, come, completely pleased
I want to give you something priceless and free
I want to see you hazy, dazed, and confused
I want to see you come, come completely used up …
Holy shit. This song’s about oral sex.
How had I never noticed this before? It’s not even like up-for-debate-open-to-discuss about oral sex. It’s graphic. In fact four lines in, he expresses his desire to see her “sweetly released.” It took me 10 years to figure this out? REALLY? Wow.
This is not the first time this has happened. There have been numerous occasions where I suddenly sit up one day and say, “Wow, this song’s dirty.” So with that, I give you my Five Favorite Secretly Dirty Songs.
5. “Oh What A Night (December 1963)” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
This one is even more obvious than “Completely Pleased” giving you further proof that I’m either unsafely naive or just an idiot. Now like most people, I have spent most of my life assuming all songs by artists such as The Four Seasons to be about sock hops and things like necking and *gasp* hand holding. But no. This song’s definitely about fucking. Awesome. Way to get some, Bob Gaudio. Sorry to hear it ended much too soon.
Granted, so many songs are about sex that it’s completely innocuous. But there’s something about “oldies” that you just don’t think about in a sexual way. I mean “Runaround Sue” might as well been called “Hooker Slut Skank” but it’s still just a sweet innocent song in my mind. I think it’s because as soon as you consider artists of the 50s and 60s singing about sex, you are coming to terms with the fact that your grandparents were at some point and possibly still are sexually active. And frankly, no. Just no.
4. “Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
Another 90s song, another set of lyrics I somehow managed to enter the millennium without understanding. 3EB had some dirty songs (see “Faster”) but this was their biggest hit and it’s amazing it played unedited on the radio. We got coke, meth, more oral (the 90s were all about the oral), possible doggy style, more coke, this song has it all. And it’s possible the peppiest “let’s get fucked up and bone” song ever.
3. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by various
Merry Christmas, I’d very much like to stick it in you.
That’s what I’m taking from this song. I mean it’s basically adorable Santa-sanctified sexual harassment. Or worse. I mean it’s kind of implied he slipped something in her drink. Dude, let the chick go home. Jeepers.
2. “Too Close” by Next
In my defense, this song came out when I was fourteen, so I obviously wasn’t exactly knowledgeable in the inner-workings of the male genitalia just yet. That said, this song might as well have been called “Boner Jam ’98.” The track opens with the words “I wonder if she can tell I’m hard right now” and just kind of escalates from there.
And to say this song might as well have been an anthem for eight grade boys would almost be funny if this song hadn’t actually played at every single dance when I was in eighth grade. Jesus, chaperones. We were children and didn’t know better. What’s your excuse? It was a Catholic school for Christ’s sake. God could have smote you in some way. That said, thank heavens for this song because otherwise my friends and I wouldn’t have the joy of screaming, “Step back you’re dancin’ kinda close, I feel a little poke comin’ through on you” every time we’re drunk. So thanks, Next. Please don’t ever wear sweatpants in my presence. Seriously, if you’re a grown man still having spontaneous erections, maybe you need to see a doctor.
1. “Greased Lightening” from the movie Grease
Of all the sleazy skeezy songs, this one takes the cake. Not only have I been listening to, singing along with and generally getting my groove on to this tune since I was old enough to remember, I’m not alone in not noticing its lyrics. Most of my friends and I all had the realization at the same moment. We were out being annoying 16 year olds one night, singing this song and got to, “You know that I ain’t braggin’, she’s a real pussy wagon” and just kind of stopped and stared at each other. Other fun lyrics: “You know that ain’t no shit, we’ll be gettin’ lots of tit.” Lovely. And of course there’s this chestnut: “You are supreme, the chicks’ll cream, for Greased Lightning.” Wow. Even Next with all their raging hard-ons DID NOT sing about natural female lubrication. Did I mention I hate the word “cream” in that context? Just ew.
Obviously there are a million more, many of them so subtle I still haven’t noticed, some so obvious that they didn’t warrant mentioning. But I take comfort in one thing. No matter how old I get, part of me will always be really immature giggling at the song about boners. Good times.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.