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Pop Music, Scourge of the Onelies (part 715_e): I wuv my woogums September 1, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, music review, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, We like. . ..
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Why are most pop songs about love? Because it’s a state fraught with emotion just begging to be released in song. Fine; I get that. But of all the pop songs about love, why are most of them about man-woman couple love? Because that’s the kind of love our world seems to place above all other kinds of love. Not fine; I don’t get that. We need more songs like Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, which works for all kinds of love and is a rocking tune besides. (Lyrics below.) 

And while I’m bitchin’, you know what really irritates me? When a female singer covers a love song by a man and changes the lyrics from “I can’t get enough of my woogums, I love her so much” (this is why I don’t write songs. . . ) to “I can’t get enough of my woogums, I love HIM so much”. Or when a male singer changes woogums into a female, when woogums was obviously a male in the original version. Like “Bobby McGee”, in the song by Kris Kristofferson, becomes a “he” in the cover by Janice Joplin. Janice lucked out because Bobby is a gender-neutral name. What would she have done if the song had gone, “Me and Tanya McGee?” Not cover it? Even though as a tune it’s still a boogie-riffic (this is why I don’t do top 40 commentary)? 

Does this irritate anyone else? 


Stevie Wonder: I Just Called to Say I Love You

No New Years’ Day
To celebrate
No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away
No first of spring
No song to sing
In fact it’s just another ordinary day
No april rain
No flowers bloom
No wedding Saturday within the month of June
But what it is
Is something true
Made up of these three words that I must say to you

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

No summer’s high
No warm July
No harvest moon to light one tender august night
No autumn breeze
No falling leaves
Not even time for birds to fly to southern skies
No Libra sun
No Halloween
No giving thanks for all the Christmas joy you bring
But what it is
Though old so new
To fill your heart like no three words could ever do.

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.


1. onely - September 1, 2008

Awww, a song for ME!!! Thanks, fave co-blogger!!! I just commented… to say I love you too!!!
🙂 L!!

2. professor what if - September 3, 2008

I say we need less songs about love full stop, and more about social justice and activism!

A minor point, but wasn’t Janice Joplin a lesbian? If so, she too probably appreciated the gender neutral name ‘Bobby.’

And, on another note, I just saw Melissa Etheridge live and I was noting how many of her love songs are ‘sexuality neutral’ — ie they don’t announce they are about non-hetero love…

3. onely - September 6, 2008

Thanks, Professor What If–I agree, we need more songs referencing political causes. I remember Toby Keith’s “The Angry American” in response to 9/11 (“We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way”). Well, that got a lot of press, not only because it’s obnoxious, but because there are so few songs about social issues that Keith’s song stuck out like a sore thumb.

Good point about Joplin, too–hadn’t thought of that. = )

Regarding Etheridge, I wonder why her songs *don’t* announce that they are non-hetero. . . is it because Etheridge is making a statement that the hetero/nonhetero status of a relationship is irrelevant, or is it because she’s more marketable if she keeps her songs sexuality neutral?

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