LegendaryMonkey: Loving denizens of White Stripes Nation, I, your (or at least Al’s, which may or may not be creepy, now that I think about it…) Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart has so much enjoyed her holiday hiatus! Now, fortified with tryptophan and leftover pie, I am ready to beat the drum again for the revolution! Today we bring you:
“Fell in Love With a Girl”
White Blood Cells, 2002
LM: To start with the obvious point, “Fell in Love With a Girl” constitutes one of Jack and Meg’s most straight down the center Ramones attacks. 110 seconds of pure punk goodness.
Generalisimo Alberto: Or again, early Kinks or Who would be relevant.
LM: I’ve heard it said by many that this was the best punk song of 2002, and to hell with the fact that there was no real competition. Certainly crap like Avril Lavigne doesn’t qualify.
GA: Any way you want to look at it, Jack doesn’t even need a seven nation army here. His one simple guitar slams down those dirty power pop chords like the US laying down the law in the streets of Baghdad.
LM: Alberto… do NOT call this pop again or I will be forced to speak for at least an hour on why punk is not pop. And I may crush your larynx or something equally painful and irritating.
GA: There’s no inherent contradiction between pop and punk, musically speaking. It depends on how you play out the contradictions of “punk rock.” On the one hand, there was the idea of being studiously anti-social and spitting in the face of the industry. But the basic musical values ran to short and sweet stripped down pop song structure. The Sex Pistols were playing Chuck Berry style more than anything.
The Who are often considered the fathers of punk rock, and those early records that are the basis of that reputation were conceived as popular recordings for radio play and mass consumption. “My Generation” is a perfectly catchy little pop tune.
Certainly the Ramones were pop music. Their whole conceptual framework was short, sweet pop construction based on classic bubblegum. The Ramones wrote bubblegum with balls.
In short, “Fell In Love With a Girl” is pure, sweet hard candy pop music- and perfectly credible punk rock. To mix my candy metaphors, punk and pop are like a Reese Cup- two great tastes that taste great together.
LM: I’ll buy anything if you explain it with candy metaphors. But there may still be beatings later. Carry on.
GA: The lyrics describe the comic dilemma of a leader torn between being a man of the people, but also a man. It’s sort of like Premier Kisof or Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ, torn between social obligation and wanting to impregnate Mary Magdalene. One side of the brain wants to run with the evil redhead, but the other side knows that he’s got a revolution to engineer.
Red hair with a curl
mellow roll for the flavor
and the eyes for peeping
can’t keep away from the girl
these two sides of my brain
need to have a meeting
can’t think of anything to do
my left brain knows that
all love is fleeting
LM: And if you want to look at this in some context that doesn’t sound like it came from Pinky and the Brain, this is again about an a woman who seems awfully easy to judge – a theme we’ve seen before in “You’re Pretty Good Looking.” Here we have a woman who is obviously seeing someone else, who is “looking for something new.”
She says “come and kiss me by the riverside, Bobby says it’s fine he don’t consider it cheating”
she’s just looking for something new
and I said it once before
but it bears repeating
LM: So, this is an attraction that is purely physical, for a woman who is grounded in the physical, and I sense here a hunger for something more… something cerebral. But to hell with it, it’s a song, a moment, a kiss – and what’s it really matter in the end, right? And that simplicity of thought and action mirrors the song itself and is a monument to punk sensibilities.
Viva la revolution! Go back to the beginning of WHITE STRIPES NATION!
LegendaryMonkey Alisha Karabinus provides the inner voice of sweet reason for evolved primates at Sudden Nothing.
Al Barger plots the overthrow of the government and his continuing crusade for Moorish dignity at More Things.