Home / Single Review: Adam Ant “Goody Two Shoes”

Single Review: Adam Ant “Goody Two Shoes”

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Adam Ant doubts a celebrity’s squeaky clean image in the dynamic “Goody Two Shoes.”

Rowdy drums start the single as a guitar spits out the notes. It’s followed by the bustling horn section. It sets a heightened, immediate tone.

Ant watches a female celebrity on television, publicizing her latest sad story. Her fully made-up face is tilted to the left of the camera, revealing a flattering angle.

“With the heartbreak open/So much you can’t hide/Put on a little make-up, make-up/Make sure they get your good, side good side.”

In the b-section, he notes that if she flubs an answer to the question, she can donate to a charity or pose in a photo op with children to keep up her positive image.

“If the words unspoken/Get stuck in your throat/Send a treasure token, token/Write it on a pound note, pound note.”

He mocks her in the chorus, calling her a goody two shoes. She presents herself as someone who wouldn’t drink even a glass of wine or puff on a cigarette for a movie. Although rumors and blind items suggest she’s not quite the clean cut person she appears to be. Ant believes there must be some danger in her.

“Goody two, goody two, goody goody two shoes/Goody two, goody two, goody goody two shoes/Don’t drink don’t smoke – what do you do?/You don’t drink don’t smoke – what do you do?/
Subtle innuendos follow/There must be something inside.”

The female celebrity is featured on post-Oscar shows wearing a silver sequined dress and hobo bag. It’s a deliberate act to draw attention to herself and to be talked about more. Ant views the fans as captivated worshippers, taking in the celebrity’s entertainment as though it were a mass.

“We don’t follow fashion/That would be a joke/You know we’re gonna set them, set them/So everyone can take note, take note/When they saw you kneeling/Crying words that you mean/Opening their eyeballs, eyeballs/
Pretending that you’re Al Green, Al Green.”

After the chorus is an audacious solo by the horn section.

Ant shuns the fame game in the bridge. He does not want a svengali dictating his morality, diet or sex life. Nor does he want a yes-person around him to tell him how wonderful he is all the time. He warns other wannabe celebrities not to listen to their managers, agents, stylists, etc. Otherwise, they’ll become famous for simply being famous. He thinks Western culture is far too celebrity-obsessed.

“No one’s gonna tell me/What’s wrong or what’s right/Or tell me who to eat with, sleep with/Or that I’ve won the big fight, big fight/Look out or they’ll tell you/You’re a “Superstar”/Two weeks and you’re an all time legend/I think the games have gone much too far.”

The b-section is sung once. The chorus is sung about five times to end the single.

The delicious vexing hook of “Goody Two Shoes” is insatiable. Adventerous and energetic, it does not let up for even a second. The three minutes whizzes by. Ant’s rapid-fire delivery often leaves the chorus intelligible and not much else. The single dares the listener to not put it on repeat.

In the 80s, American culture was not consumed with celebrity gossip rags (print and online), entertainment news shows. Then, MTV was getting off the ground and fast becoming a influential medium. Ant’s snarkiness fits into the current E! Online media trend. It could even be its theme song.

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About Pam Avoledo

  • Even the skeptical had to admit this was a guilty pleasure – what a killer one-hit wonder. Was the tune about the Princess?

  • Nice review of/slant on Adam’s work. In actual fact the song was part of an ongoing battle Adam was having with the UK press, who didn’t believe he was squeaky clean-living but never managed to get the goods against him (Well up until the nervous breakdowns and the carburator…and by then his star had faded)

    Oh, and Barry – Adm was no one hit wonder. In the US, Room At The Top and Wonderful were quite successful, and in the UK he was one of the biggest artists of the 80’s.