The 6 Most Baffling Classic Rock Songs About Women
Something about earnest love songs -- rooted in their lost and desperate appeal to emotion, in their universal struggle against unrequited affection -- always makes me reflect on my own life and think "Man, I am a way better storyteller than musicians." The trouble is that they get ahead of themselves, jumping right to the heartache and the yearning while only throwing out a few rushed metaphors and cloying imagery to describe the girl or the guy they love. Well, if I'm going to commiserate, I need some indication that the person is worth all that longing to begin with, and the best place to start is with physical beauty. I don't care if Bell Biv DeVoe's love is poison or if Poison's love has thorns if no one's going to assure me from the start that the women they're singing about are hot. And if they're not, then honestly, what's the point of all this?
I can't see what she looks like in that spacesuit, Air Supply.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" -- Guns N' Roses
She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky ...
She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
"Maneater" -- Hall & Oates
She'll only come out at night
The lean and hungry type ...
The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar ...
She's deadly, man, she could really rip your world apart
Mind over matter
Ooh, the beauty is there but a beast is in the heart
Behold:Now you may look at that picture and say "But Soren, that's just some expertly drawn jungle plant, where is the maneater you promised?" to which I would say,
"Bette Davis Eyes" -- Kim Carnes
Her hair is hollow gold
Her lips sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She's got Bette Davis eyes ...
She'll expose you
When she snows you
Off your feet with the crumbs she throws you ...
All the boys think she's a spy
Behold:I just want to preface this by saying that drawing Bette Davis eyes was much harder than just cutting out Bette Davis' real eyes and Scotch taping them to this beauty's face. Which I did. Seeing them, I think it's pretty clear why they were deserving of an entire song. Also, it's possible that those are both the same eye from different photographs; I cut out a lot of them and got confused.Additionally, I wasn't entirely sure what hollow gold hair actually looks like, so I gave her a blonde beehive, which seems to work nicely. Her ability to create flames in her hands and trip people with bread crumbs are all self-evident from listening to the song, but once you compile all her powers together in a single image, the woman really comes to life on the page. I'm almost positive this is exactly the image Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon had in their heads when they wrote the song.
"She's Always a Woman" -- Billy Joel
She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes ...
She'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleeding ...
Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Behold:For the sake of this picture, I'm going to ask that you pretend that this woman just stabbed you with a kitchen knife, and now she's having a good laugh about it. If I've done my job properly, your attraction to her just went up a few points, or whatever metric you use to measure that kind of thing. I've painstakingly tinkered with her eyes and mouth to make them look as deadly as possible. The eye shadow is supposed to be reminiscent of Daryl Hannah's character in
"Rio" -- Duran Duran
Moving on the floor now babe you're a bird of paradise
Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it's very nice ...
Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande
Behold:The key to the visual representation of a Duran Duran song is capturing the same subtlety for which the band is renowned. You might look at this picture and get the
"Drops of Jupiter" -- Train
Now that she's back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey ...
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey ...
Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar ...
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find? ...
But tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
Behold:First of all, re-entry into the atmosphere without a spaceship is completely impractical. Even musicians should know that. Train ought to make an effort to be a little less sloppy with their metaphors. I also have no idea what "talks like June" is supposed to sound like. Bees, maybe? I wasn't sure, so I just gave the melting woman a sundress and some flowers in her burn trail to signify summer as she careens toward Earth. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed Train didn't do any homework before writing this song. It's reckless, with no consideration for logic or physics. In fact, drawing this whole thing felt disingenuous. If you look closely, her suitcase is covered with the proof of her travels to Venus and other planets in the solar system, despite the fact that I know Venus' atmosphere is made up primarily of sulfuric acid, so it would be impossible to make novelty stickers there. I hate to end on a sour note, but Train needs to read an issue of Scientific American before they're allowed to write any more songs. They need to get their facts straight and hope that they are never responsible for whole gaggles of young girls firing themselves into space. I'm mad just thinking about it.
For more from Soren, check out 8 Letters from the Elementary School Where I Guest Lectured and 4 Steps to Staying Relevant as a Bully In the Modern World.