Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Years As They Compare To The Music Of Phil Collins

HI! And welcome to February 29, otherwise known as that-which-only-happens-once-every-four-years, OR, When-Blaiser-finally-gets-off-his-duff-and-posts-something-to-the-blog... 
In this case, a very good friend made a Facebook query as to the origins and/or implications of Phil Collins's seminal 1980s hit "Sussudio." Below is a meditation. Enjoy, for it comes but once every four years...

I think Mr. Collins is being coy. Rather than some throwaway nonsense, "Sussudio" actually makes tangible the ineffable angst one feels when one has, in fact, a girl on his (or her) mind, ALL the time. Such a feeling reaches its zenith of overwhelmance (thank you), usually when one is about 16--the most likely time in one's life where one believes both literally and figuratively that "she don't even know my name." 

Not many 80s #1 pop songs nail this existential crisis so concisely, for the solution to what appears to be never-ending misery can be found with ease and simplicity: "I feel so good if I just say the word..." Hence, the release of "Sussudio" in 1985 had its maximal effect on those of us born in 1969/1970, offering a smart, peppy balm for our self-hating, self-defeating romantic impulses. 

Other songs of the era fall flat. Animotion's "Obsession" (debuting on the charts a week before "Sussudio"), correctly identified ubiquitous hormonal malaise, but swiftly degenerated into a whiny complaint of sexual inadequacy and a lack of any actionable game plan: "Who do you want me to be / to make you sleep with me?" And chicks don't dig that.

Providing additional evidence that Mr. Collins was ahead of his time, by 1988 other pop songs had evolved so slowly that the best available strategy to resolve overpowering attraction was to attempt to curry favor with the objects of one's crush fantasies by luring them into one's personal method of transportation, as endorsed by a B. Ocean in his sinister suggestion, "Get Outta My Dreams and Into My Car." Leaving aside the legal implications of a possible felony offense, it was just downright creepy. It certainly never worked when I tried it… However, "if I just [said] the word, Su-Su-sudio," I invariably did feel better. Especially when posting bail.

If ignored, the problem continues into early adulthood: Even with time and maturity, if one finally found the confidence to plainly state a carnal proposition, as in "All I Want to Do is [have unprotected sex with] You," Anne and Nancy Wilson's Baby-Daddy power ballad of 1990, the effort was culturally misplaced. Given skyrocketing out-of wedlock pregnancies and the emerging HIV epidemic, such songs encouraged the moral equivalent of throwing a lit cigarette into a coffee can filled with gasoline. Or, at least rubber-banding an M-80 to the back of a Star Wars figure and filming the resulting explosion with a Super 8 movie camera… which chicks certainly dig.

In summation, although regularly denigrated (possibly by those for whose demographic was never truly aligned to absorb the self-empowerment soaked between its lines like teenage invisible ink), Mr. Collins' "Sussudio" is actually a buoyant rock to which one can reliably rig one's emotional sails--in a continuously nihilistic world--perhaps only outstripped by the paradoxical wisdom available in Jermaine Stewart's clever sexual koan of the following year: "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off," of which I will be pleased to offer analysis on the next February 29th, 2016, some 8 months before Bobby Jindal loses in a landslide to Vice President Andy Cuomo.

Until then, I encourage you all to "Give me a chance give me a sign" and in return, "I'll show [you] anytime" ! 

Or, to just say The Word.

Thanks for reading. And please remember that even though No Jacket May Be Required, it's almost never a bad idea.