Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why It's Probably Best Not To Deconstruct Summer Jams

"She's A Beauty" by The Tubes is totally my summer jam.

Yes, it was released in 1983. What? Do not even say "California Gurls" to me or I will engage you in an ill-advised rap battle. I don't listen to anything that's willfully misspelled, and that includes you, Ke$ha. The only exception I make is for Prince, whose brevity ("I Would Die 4 U," "Feel U Up") I choose to view as an impressive prescience of text messaging lingo.

Anyway, as I was saying, "She's A Beauty" has an eerie power over me. It's like aural peyote. When I hear it I start thinking crazy things, like, You know, maybe I could pull off a romper, or Anne Geddes' right to photograph babies in flower pots doesn't, in fact, stop with my eyes. It never stops, thanks to the First Amendment. 

For maximum effectiveness I like to listen to my jam first thing in the morning on a hot summer day, before the humidity can conspire to make me look like Rosanne Rosannadanna after a particularly vigorous spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl. I'll walk out of my front door feeling dangerously sexy in my jean shorts and flip flops, like there is no Una, only Zool.

Don't fall in love, I'll whisper with my eyes to the portly man sitting on the crate outside the bodega nursing his 10 am beer.

She's a beauty (She being ME, obviously. A beauty who eye-whispers about herself in the THIRD PERSON. Do not hate on my skills.)

One in a million girls (My name literally means "one," so this is super deep.)

Why would I lie?
Why would I lie? (Yeah, I'm getting a little defensive, probably because the dewy mist of sweat on my face has by now turned into muddy reflecting pools of concealer.)

I must admit that I never gave much thought to the lyrics, other than the obvious meaning to be gleaned (as illustrated above): I am awesome.

Turns out, there's more. The message of the song, according to Wikipedia, is "the financial and emotional cost of falling in love with a stripper, prostitute or other type of sex worker",* which I guess makes sense considering the lyric She'll give you every penny's worth/but it will cost you a dollar first, and which also explains why the video makes such a show of taking poor preteen, pre-op Alexis Arquette on a creepy (yet PG-rated) funhouse ride chaperoned by what looks to be a one of the extras from the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut, but I'm willing to overlook all of that because the song makes me feel so hot**. Is that wrong?

*FYI, I've seen those girls behind the glass in Amsterdam's red light district -- a blog for another day -- and the song that comes to mind is not "She's A Beauty" or even "Roxanne," but rather "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" as wheezed/gargled by Tom Waits

**Way hotter, anyway, than I feel when listening to the rest of the Tubes' canon, including hits like "Mondo Bondage" and "Don't Touch Me There" (yes, really)


  1. That is a really good song. There's something about that chord change on "You can talk to a pretty girl" that gets me right there, you know? Like Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" or Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over". They both have that too.

    I'm right there with you when it comes to boycotting the mis- or stupidly-spelled songs and artists. Besides, the 80's and 90's had all the best music anyway.

    My Retro Summer Jam is "Centerfold" by the J. Geils band, which is also sort of about a sex worker, if you think about it...hm. Strange coincidence. :)

  2. I love this one, too. I decided a long time ago that if I ever became a stripper, this would be the song I danced to. :)

  3. this makes me happy.

  4. "before the humidity can conspire to make me look like Rosanne Rosannadanna after a particularly vigorous spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl." is maybe one of the funniest things I've read on your blog.
    And, I agree with you on not embracing things that are willfully mispelled. Stay strong!

  5. Herre in Amerika spellin' good is just a phantasy, gurl!

  6. That video is seriously frightening!

  7. For real? It's about not falling in love with hookers? How many people are out there falling in love with hookers other than Sting, Lieutenant Nately, and The Tubes? It CANNOT be that common of an occurrence. I won't even count Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge! because that was pretty much just written that way so they could use Roxanne, and we've already discussed Sting. Hell, even Hugh Grant didn't fall in love with his hooker. Sheesh.

  8. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Is it just me or is the link to "the video" really a link to Twista's "Birthday" video...I was confused when I saw stars on some girls nipples pop out of a cake... I'd take The Tubes video over that any day.

  9. Oh, love the summer jams, which I usually listen to year round. I'm fond of the movie soundtracks, most especially Bridget Jones' Diary, including the classics Love, Not of this Earth, It's Raining Men, and Dreamsome. I am listening to that right now, and everything just looks better and brighter in the world. Plus it makes me dance in my chair.

  10. Wow, I loved your ghostbusters reference. I'm going to make a mental note of that & try to sneak it into conversation sometime soon. Hopefully the person I'm talking to gets it & doesn't just think I'm pretending to be possessed all willy-nilly.

  11. Best Tubes song ever (from the same album) is What Do You Want From Life. Go listen to it now!

  12. Being a lifelong metalhead, I know not this song of which you speak...but I did totally laugh my ass off at the Ghost Busters reference.

  13. Of course I got on Youtube and watched the video for "She's a Beauty" which lead me on an 80's video jag!


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