Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adam Ant's Song Encourages Anorexia


               Here is my random thought for the day, and it is, admittedly, very random: I have to admire Adam Ant for his balls.
               From the time I was eleven to fifteen, Adam Ant was my favorite singer.  Actually, he was far more than that; he was my idol and the primary subject of my adolescent fantasies.  I absolutely wanted to marry the man (if that wish had come true, I undoubtedly would be fucked up in a myriad of entirely different ways today).
               After eighteen years of musical silence, Adam Ant recently released a new album with a surprising long and inexplicable title (something about being a hussar and marrying the gunner's daughter).   Since I expressed a modicum of curiosity about it, my husband bought it for me.   
               I've been listening to the album in my car, and there is one track that has gotten under my skin.  I sing it to myself, I quietly mull over its lyrics -- I'm even writing about the damned thing!   The song is "Punkyoungirl."  It is a politically incorrect train wreck; there is just so much wrong with it that, in order to take it all in, one really must listen to it a number of times.  But I think that it is precisely because the song is so perverse that I am drawn to it with something akin to morbid fascination.  That, and it's damnably catchy.  
               To put it simply, the song is about a young girl (I'm guessing late teens or early twenties) with whom Adam apparently enjoys having sex.  Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean to be a prude here.  That Adam Ant wants to have sex with young women is hardly surprising.  I imagine that the majority of older men would like to do so; most just don't have enough money or fame to be very successful at it. 
               Adam regales his listeners with an appreciative description of the girl's body and then credits her with causing his midlife crisis: "punky young girl needs a middle aged man / whose midlife crisis you began."   He goes on to bid her to "lift up your skirt, let me lick the alphabet."  Although I'm not sure from where the euphemism "alphabet" might have come, I'm still pretty sure that I can recognize a reference to cunnilingus when I hear it.  This line never ceases to cause a very visual image of Adam, in the midst of his alphabet escapades, to pop into my head and, while I must admit that it isn't an entirely unpleasant image, its presence there just seem somehow wrong
               After a few more thinly cloaked sexual references and some rather cute speculations about the girl's underthings, Adam warns her "if it goes wrong, don't look at me / my brain don't carry responsibility."  At first, this lyric sounds like a total cop out.  I mean, surely a man in his late fifties should carry the responsibility when in a relationship with an impressionable young girl, even if only because he has so much more life experience from which to draw?  But then again, Adam does have special circumstances (as he references in the song "Shrink").  Perhaps he really can't be held responsible for his actions after all.
               The real heart of "Punkyoungirl"'s ballsy nature is its chorus.  Adam repeats "She said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." 
               First off, this girl has obviously never been introduced to a roast beef po-boy. But even if the girl's supposition were true, repeating it is probably irresponsible.
               A hint of admiration seems to be audible in Adam's voice as he sings these lines; he presumably admires her discipline.  She is clearly dedicated to maintaining her slim, beautiful body. 
               The problem is that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" is exactly the sort of phrase you will find on pro-anorexia websites.  It encourages the anorexic mindset.  And Adam Ant has put it out there for mass consumption, encouraging any young women who may listen to the song to starve themselves in order to be more desirable. 
               Am I saying that this shouldn't have been said?  Of course not.  I think people should say whatever the hell they want, regardless of how inflammatory it may be.  A lot of my own writing is undoubtedly offensive by many people.  But I am saying that Adam sure has balls to say it, and I'm not even entirely sure he even realizes what he's saying.
               Now that I have analyzed the song to death, I'll conclude by saying that, as screwed up as it may be, I do like "Punkyoungirl."  I think it's probably my favorite song on the whole album.