Sunday, January 29, 2012

Judging from your song, you're infatuated with a woman named Mindy...or a man named Andy

Before I begin any mention of the song "I Kissed A Girl" by Jill Sobule, I want to go on record as stating that, in case there was ever even a moment of doubt among anyone out there, I vastly prefer this "I Kissed A Girl" over the other "I Kissed A Girl". I'm not going to go as far as to say that one song is objectively "better" than another. Aside from both being pop songs with a shared title and broad story of a straight girl reflecting on kissing another girl, they are two very different songs from completely different genres and eras with divergent themes. Sobule's song is an understated, sort of folk rock story of a woman's complicated feelings for her female friend that despite the quirkiness comes off with a surprising amount of honesty. Perry's song is a slick, Dr. Luke produced, electropop monster of a track, that's built around the titillating shock value of the female protagonist kissing another girl. Sobule's protagonist was motivated to kiss her friend out of emotion and felt some guilt about her actions which she eventually plays off and accepts a non-judgmental attitude about; Perry's is motivated to kiss a random female for the attention and is really torn by the guilt over her enjoyment of it. For a song about same sex kissing, it is aggressively heterosexual. While, often times I'll go for lust, flash, and trash over the subtle and honest, I just find myself just plain liking Sobule's protagonist a lot more than Perry's (also I've always been down with alternative rock chicks with guitars).

With that being said (I think that extended preface will be almost be as long as my actual main post, which is fairly simple) I just wanted to mention two random thoughts I had about Jill Sobule's "I Kissed A Girl".

First, after watching the video again, it's amazing how little Fabio has changed in over 15 years.

Secondly, as one of those gender specific songs that really requires the singer to be a certain gender (or to utilize the use of lame lyrical gender reassignment) to maintain the original theme, I always thought that if a man was singing "I Kissed A Girl", the song would then be about this guy seriously overreacting about kissing a girl for the first time and having conflicting feelings about it. Additionally some of those feelings of guilt might have been related to the fact that the girl he kissed ("Jenny") is his close friend and is with somebody else ("Brad"); understandably a bizarre source for getting your first kiss.

I never really considered until now that the switched male singer could have been gay, which would have made his conflicted feelings far more rational. Perhaps I'm just not that progressive minded but I always imagined the male singer to be straight, cripplingly love-shy weirdo. With a gay male protagonist the general theme of the song is preserved but instead it's a gay individual questioning their homosexuality and realizing it's okay to be a little straight sometimes; a theme that you really won't find all that often in pop songs (or any songs for that matter). This also would make a lot more sense of the fact that protagonist of the song reveals to the other girl that he/she is in a relationship as well with a guy ("Larry") whose recent marriage proposal he/she is considering.

Either love-shy straight or gay male scenario would explain Brad's relief and lack of concern that Jenny is staying over late at their house, but he still comes off as a massive homophobe when he states that "I'm glad your with your girlfriend, tell her hi for me". I suppose his attitude is consistent with Jenny's assessment of him as a "hairy behemoth" that was as "dumb as a box of hammers".

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