January 4, 2009
She's too cute to be a minute over seventeen
Not being much of an oldies buff, I was surprised to see how many oldies songs there are about 16 and 17 year-old girls. Chuck Berry was 32 or 33 when he released "Little Queenie." Looks like there's not too much after 1990, and even by the mid-'80s there isn't a lot. Instead we got "Hot for Teacher" and "Stacy's Mom." Of course, this trend in music parallels the trend toward older female sex symbols.
Rock lyrics sure have become more adolescent, treating a 14 year-old's desperation-driven fantasies about his teacher or friend's mom, rather than a mature adult's pursuit of elusive16 year-old hearts and bodies. This has obviously ruined most of the aging women of today -- popular culture is now the mirror that flatters Snow White's wicked stepmothers, who have only managed to kill her off by forcing everyone to consider her a child, and so unable to be thought the most beautiful.
Reality check: if she can fall deeply in love with you, fuck your brains out, and bear your child, she's no kid.
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As the resident music buff on these boards (I'm a music writer in real life), I'll confirm your theory as correct.ReplyDelete
Just a quick glimpse at 1950s hits tells the story. There's Neil Sedaka's "Happy Birthday Sweet 16" and Andrea Carroll's "It Hurts to Be 16." Then there's the Crest's "16 Candles." I know there are more, but this is just off the top of my head (and all can be heard on YouTube).
The culture changed, people got married later and today's 16 year old is like yesterday's 12 year old, at least in the media's eye. So no more songs about that gae bracket.
For the record, two of the last were Winger's "Seventeen" (from 1988) and Benny Mardones' "Into the Night," which was a hit in both 1980 and 1989. Kiss' "Christine Sixteen" should probably count, but it seems like they were going more for shock effect.