Who wants love? Pop fans don’t.
Sure, the mass of Top 40 listeners want to cling to the belief that Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, two young people singing about falling in love, are exactly what they want on the radio. However, take a closer look and discover what people actually want – sex – dirty, uninhibited, OMG-worthy sex.
The music business, much like other creative arts, is built on the idea that the product being delivered is sexy. Sex is a base desire for humans, and pop culture has magnified that erotic feeling into a demon of such magnanimous proportions that it looms over almost every discussion of entertainment.
Specific to radio, Lykke Li’s new single, “Get Some,” asks, are we really getting the carnal experience we deserve when we turn on the radio?
Lykke Li isn’t exactly the girl you’d expect to raise such a populous, philosophical question. She was a cute, indie presence with 2008’s Youth Novels, her accented voice falling around periodically pounding drums and songs about dancing. It was a simple formula, one that finds itself rooted just outside the traditional electro-pop of national radio. She broke mildly big with the song “Possibility,” a lilting tune featured on a Twilight soundtrack, but it was nothing gargantuan enough to warrant talk of her influencing the pop audience.
But “Get Some,” as much as it is a propulsive drum-based tune that wouldn’t be totally out of place on Youth Novels, is also just as much a song about having the teeth to state exactly what is on our dirty, sexy little minds.
“Get Some” is an uninhibited, mature pop song that has something to say about the way we view sex in the public and private spheres.
Katy Perry didn’t really kiss a girl, and Usher most likely wouldn’t make love to you in this club if you propositioned him for it. What Perry, Usher and countless other pop stars who hit the top 10 are preying on is the mind of precocious youngsters who have no idea what sex is other than what pop culture has taught them. By marketing fake sex to those who have only been raised on fake sex, the Top 40 propagates a distorted version of sexuality that is more akin to the fairy tale than to bedroom clothes-offery.
Consequently, those who pay attention to the Top 40 exclusively have an interesting perspective on how sexual relationships are supposed to function—other than a few outside examples, pop music is profoundly fucking with the sexual identities of America’s youth, which, after all, is who the Top 40 is geared toward. There are countless people to be blamed for this atrocity, but in the end it goes back to our the generation of parents that detested Elvis and his hip swaying ways. So, after many years of trying to ban such blatant sexuality from the media, music executives took a page out of the Don Draper handbook—if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.
“Get Some” is different. It’s carnal. It’s not on the verge of being about sex. It contains repeated overt references to oral sex and ejaculation with nary a mention of making love or out of place affection. “Get Some” is a conscious effort by the indie creaters in charge to try and steer the sexual Top 40 conversation back toward the side of uninhibited truth—that sex is a dirty and communicative sharing of commands that finally ends as swiftly as a shotgun blast.
Lykke Li’s “honey loving arms” aren’t asking for your love. They’re asking for your sex. The most startling line, “I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some” will be misinterpreted by many. It’s not an admission of whimpering acceptance, it’s an assertion of dominance. What Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna and Lady Gaga all dance around, Lykke Li confronts dead on. Her sexuality is a powerful weapon. She wants her sex her way, which is evident in lyrics such as,“don’t pull your pants before I go down/ don’t turn away, this is my time/ don’t make demands, I don’t take none.”
With a snakey guitar line and pulsing drums begging for dance and contact, “Get Some” is what “I’m a Slave 4 U” should have sounded like. It’s unafraid of offense, because the truth will come out in the end. This is how Lykke Li wants her sex. It’s the way countless pop stars want to sound, but can’t. There is fake sex on tracks by many a Top 40 artist. Then, there’s Lykke Li, who wants you the way she wants you, and there’s nothing sexier than that.
Listen to “Get Some” in our MP3 section.