Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The 8 Girliest Songs... Written By Men

In order for a male artist to write a truly "girly" song (and when I say "girly", I mean "adolescent girly"), he must follow the following guidelines. Firstly, (assuming you didn't know any better) you would have to believe just by looking at the lyrics that a woman had written them. In other words, there are certain behaviors and attitudes that are commonly associated with the feminine (as opposed to the masculine). Secondly, the artist must sound as though he would cry if you were to punch him in the stomach. More specifically, his voice must sound a bit like a whine or a whisper. These songs were selected, not because they are lyrically without merit, but rather because these words should never have come from a man. I have not included "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" here because that deserves a category all its own:

8. Dream Weaver - Gary Wright

This song begins with the memorable lyrics; "I've just closed my eyes and jumped aboard the dream weaver train. Driver, take away my worries of today". First of all, what kind of man sings about a "dream weaver train"?  And by the way, this is not just a passing theme in the song; it is its central message; "Oo Oo dream weaver I believe you can get me through the night." I suppose if it were a song on a children's show about a Kangaroo or a Purple Dinosaur, it might be understandable, but for a grown man to say such things to other grown men is downright embarrassing. Moreover, "Oo Oo" is not exactly what I would call the most virile way to start a chorus. It doesn't help that Mr. Wright's fluttering vibrato makes his testimony sound all the more feeble. If this song were a person, it would probably be bullied.

7. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham!

Full disclosure. I have always liked this song, and am only mildly repentant of that fact. Nevertheless, if I am being honest with myself then I have to say that it has some of the girliest lyrics of all time. First off, any song that begins with the word Jitterbug (twice) is probably not going to be a song about valor or courage. The musical accompaniment then immediately breaks in; "You put the boom boom into my heart, you make my soul fly higher when your lovin' starts". Now whether or not she actually puts the "boom boom" into your heart is irrelevant. The point is you don't appeal to a woman by saying something girly like this, or by making gestures over your heart while reciting the phrase. A girl of thirteen might even find these words a bit infantile (even were they to come from the mouth of the great Justin Bieber). During the chorus, George Michael uses a play on words that borders on unforgivable; "Wake me up before you go go, 'cause I'm not plannin' on goin' solo." In this instance, using the word "go" twice is not merely a way of avoiding syllabic awkwardness, but an incredibly muscular way of saying two things at once. On the one hand, he is asking her not to forget about him when she goes out dancing, on the other, he is referring to the type of dancing she will be doing (i.e. Go Go dancing). Now just a imagine any man saying these words to you with a straight face... neither can I.

6. All By Myself - Eric Carmen

The fact that Celine Dion covered this song and that it fit seamlessly into her arsenal of sappy love songs (or in this case loveless), should tell you everything you need to know. If a man is lonely, he should talk about it, yes, but that doesn't mean that he should indulge himself in a bout of self-pity. It is not wrong for a man to cry, but if a man finds himself weeping every time he sees that Sarah Mclaughlin commercial, we might have a problem on our hands. Indeed, we are extremely sad to hear about your condition my friend, but suck it up, this is no time to be falling apart in front of an audience of millions. Have a little decency.

5. We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart

The sentiment of this song is quite noble. It involves a man trying to persuade a woman to, in every way, leave a little something to the imagination. The problem (as you will see) arises in the way in which he tells her to slow down; "Not a word from your lips, you just took for granted that I want to skinny dip. A quick hit, that's your game. But I'm not a piece of meat, stimulate my brain... Take my hand, let's hit the floor. Shake our bodies to the music; maybe then you'll score." What man says to a woman, 'if you dance with me, I will seriously consider sleeping with you.' The second verse begins in a similar fashion; "Just slow down if you want me. A man wants to be approached cool and romantically". To the contrary my friend, a woman wants a man to approach her romantically; it is the man who must learn the high art of romance.
If I have failed to convince you at this point of the girly nature of this song, perhaps the chorus will relieve you of any doubts; "We don't have to take our clothes off, to have a good time. Oh no- We can dance the party all night and drink some cherry wine. Uh huh." Frankly, I don't know what's girlier, the bit about the cherry wine, or the subsequent phrase "Uh huh". What I do know is that no self-respecting man should ever say; a) he wants to dance the party all night; b) drink some cherry wine; and/or c) recite the words Uh huh after expressing the previous two sentiments. By all means rebuke the lady for her lack of class, but do not do so while suggesting that "cherry wine and dancing" are the manly alternative.

4. Superman (It's Not Easy) - Five For Fighting

Forgive me for sounding uncharitable, but the lead singer sounds a little bit like a timid Muppet. But of course that is not the only reason this song made the list. The reason can be intuited by the parenthetical title. This song is one big long whine fest about how difficult it is once you have made it. Poor me, I have all this responsibility, and now I have everything I ever wanted, and it doesn't make me happy. This is a wonderful epiphany (man does not live by bread alone), but need it be couched in a song about how everyone should feel sorry for you because you are successful; "I can't stand to fly...". Well son, then get out of the way and let someone else wear your "silly red sheet"; "...and it's not easy, to be-hee me"... I am so sorry that you are having such a bad time of it, but is it really seemly to complain to the world about how difficult your life is? "I'm only a man in a silly red sheet, digging for kryptonite on this one way street". Just a side note, for anyone who writes a song about Superman (and that includes Three Doors Down), Superman does not like kryptonite; it is bad for him. Hence, why would he be digging for it; "... only a man in a funny red sheet, searching for special things inside of me". Well Superman, while you're 'looking for special things inside of you', the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket, but at least you found "special things inside of you."

3. Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill

This one, like All By Myself, should be filed under the category of "You might feel it, but you don't have to say it!" The verses of this song seem to depict a man that is incredibly indecisive; "You ask me if I love you, and I choke on my reply. I'd rather hurt you honestly than mislead you with a lie. And who am I to judge you, in what you say or do, I'm only just beginning to see the real you." I have no idea what most of this means, but based on the rest of the song I can at least deduce that this individual needs to come to a conclusion and stop acting liking a mercurial little school girl. In the second verse, he prattles on like some musing existentialist; "I'm just another writer still trapped within my truth; a hesitant prize-fighter still trapped within my youth." Come back to us from the land of make-believe, little Danny, and get to the point. By the way, what does it even mean to declare yourself a "hesitant" prize-fighter, and how does that relate to your serial indecisiveness? Perhaps by "hesitant"  he means hesitant to actually get in the ring and fight. Nevertheless, the crowning jewel of this embarrassingly sentimental song is the chorus; "Sometimes when we touch, the honesty's too much and I have to close my eyes and hide. I want to hold you 'till I die 'till we both break down and cry. I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides." What sublime words can I use for such an abyss of manliness? What can I possibly say to help Dan Hill recover his dignity after he has practically admitted that he wants to play a game of Peek-a-Boo, and then afterwards have a little cry fest (we can at least be grateful for the fact that he makes no mention of a tickle fight). I suppose the only way one can respond to this is... "Congratulations, you are the second runner up on my list of girliest songs!"

2. Firefly - Owl City

This song begins with these memorable words; "You would not believe your eyes, if ten million fireflies lit up the world as I fell asleep." I think the first line should be "I sound like I'm twelve years old, I live in my parents basement..." It gets worse; whereas Dan Hill simply wants to cry, this guy admits that he gets "misty-eyed", whenever those beloved fireflies disappear. I suppose that we can at least be grateful for the fact that he doesn't mention curling up in the fetal position and weeping every time one of his pet hamsters dies. "'Cause I'd get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs, as they tried to teach me how to dance. A fox trot above my head a sock hop beneath my bed, a disco ball is just hanging by a thread." All right Johnny, you've spent enough time by yourself, it's time to go outside and try to make some friends of the same species. Making matters worse, throughout his vocal performance he combines two things which are verboten when attempting to preserve some semblance of manhood: vocal throatiness as well as vocal breathiness. He literally sounds like someone is punching him in the stomach as he is singing the song. He sounds, hurt, weak, and on the brink of tears. Incidentally, it is impossible to use the words "sock hop" in a song and maintain any hint of masculinity.

1. Take It On The Run - REO Speedwagon

I remember the first time I ever heard this song. I was with my sister in her room and we listened to it on her record player. She was in her early teens at the time (which seems strangely appropriate), and was a big fan of the band. I never asked her why, but I suspect that, as a girl of about fourteen, she could "totally" related to the lyrics. Indeed, the words couldn't be any more adolescent were they to be lifted from a little girl's diary. The story line revolves around a girl who is "possibly" cheating on her boyfriend. All the same, it is difficult to tell who the lead singer is angry at; the girl who may be cheating on him, or the people who are gossiping about it. I am not sure he even knows, but he is quite fierce in his accusation. In any case, the girliest line that has ever been uttered in the history of pop music is the first line of this song (drum roll); "Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard from a friend you've been messing around." The only thing that could make this sound more girly is if he had inserted the word "like" in between each phrase. After singing such words, not only should he repent in sackcloth and ashes, but he should renounce any claim to being a man.   

Just missing the official list are such classics like Styx, "Lady", and Savage Garden's (whose name alone could be on our list), "I Knew I Loved You." Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon," also receives honorable mention, especially for this line; "Lovin' would be easy if your colors were like my dreams. Red, Gold, and Green- Red, Gold and Green..." I think that says it all.  


  1. All By Myself - Eric Carmen gets the tune from the manly Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

    How could you not include:

    Seasons in the Sun- Terry Jacks

    Alone Again, Naturally- Gilbert O'Sullivan.

    Honey- Bobby Goldsboro.

  2. Oh, there were many possibilities (of course this is not an exact science). What about Nilson's "I can't live if living is without you..." But that's why I like people to comment because I know when I make a "definitive" list, others will have their own ideas about it.