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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Six Best Statutory Rock Songs

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 2:14 PM

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3. The Police - "Don't Stand So Close To Me" "Temptation, frustration so bad it makes him cry / Wet bus stop, she's waiting, his car is warm and dry"

There's something to be said about the teacher character in The Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me", because he knows what he's doing is wrong. The song makes implications, but as far as we know, there's no direct crime in the legal sense between him and the student seductress. Does this make it okay? God no, but at least he ain't bragging. The original recording (not the destroyed re-arrangement from Every Breath You Take: The Singles) captures the conflict with that mysterious vibe that Andy Summers oozes from his guitar. And Sting, thankfully, takes the song into the third person for all except the chorus. Good thing for the unnamed student in this parable, because given Sting's reputation as a Tantric sex god, she'd have a long, long night ahead of her.

2. Aaliyah - "Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number" "Age ain't nothin' but a number / Throwin' down ain't nothin' but a thang"

In the title track from her 1994 album, Aaliyah (RIP) tries to convince an older guy that her age should not be a factor. If you erase the verses, with lines like "let me show you ecstasy", it could come off like she's saying she's not too young to be taken seriously as an artist. Uh..until you look at the production credits and see the name R. Kelly, the-peeing-on-an-underage-girl-and-somehow-getting-acquitted R. Kelly. And then the weirdness steps up a notch when you find out that the then-fifteen Aaliyah lied about being eighteen so she and the 27 year old R-Kel could secretly tie the knot. And then it gets better when you discover that her parents had the marriage annulled a year later when they found out. Through all this, we have "Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number", which appears to be a mantra of Kelly's. I can see Aaliyah writing this song around a quote from her hubby producer. Let's be thankful that she didn't name the song "Don't Tell Your Parents, Okay?"

1. Winger - "Seventeen" "Daddy says she's too young / But she's old enough for me"

I think we can all agree that '80s pop metal artists were the smarmiest of all rock stars. Considering how late Winger was to the game - its self titled debut trailed Def Leppard's Pyromania by a good five years - the sketchiness of "Seventeen" feels like a band wanting in on the debauchery and trying too hard to play catch up. All this makes Winger's "Seventeen" particularly detestable. There's no internal turmoil, no second guessing, just boasting about the conquest. Phrases like "she likes to work me overtime" and "feels good dancin' close to the borderline" are certain to be used against Kip Winger in a court of law. Next time you complain about how mainstream music sucks, just close your eyes, imagine you have a seventeen year old daughter and sing this song in your head. Coldplay doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

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