23 August 2005
And then along comes Harry
Fûz wonders if there's a technical term for "gender-changing the lyrics of a love song so the other sex can sing it without suggesting same-sex love."
If there is, I'm not aware of it. On the other hand, not all love songs lend themselves to such treatment. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," for instance, despite a lyric written by a man (Gerry Goffin), is for cultural reasons almost exclusively a feminine point of view:
[A] woman who is not sexually active is pitied, while a man who is not sexually active is mocked and ridiculed. (Which may be one reason why very few men Frankie Valli is one who did ever recorded this song.) "Tell me now, and I won't ask again" turns out to be a variation on a theme by Scarlett O'Hara: "I'll think about that tomorrow."
I suppose a guy could pull this off if he were your basic 40-year-old virgin, but there aren't a lot of those around.
On the other hand, some folks don't seem to care about potential homoerotic subtext. Bryan Ferry (on These Foolish Things) cut a perfectly straight, so to speak, reading of "It's My Party" without any gender changes, though with Ferry it's impossible to tell if he was serious or just going for a dollop of postmodern sexual confusion. And towering above all these examples is "House of the Rising Sun," historically a place that had been the ruin of many a poor girl, which didn't stop Dave Van Ronk (and later, Dylan, and later yet, Eric Burdon) from putting his male self into the protagonist's role. (Van Ronk, according to his memoirs, eventually found out that the house originally described in the song was not a brothel at all, but the women's lockup in Orleans Parish, which detracts not a whit from the impact of the song as sung.)
Maybe there is a descriptive term that applies here. All I know is this: if I'm singing along with a favorite record, I'm not going to edit it on the fly just because my hardware doesn't happen to match that of the singer.Posted at 10:14 AM to Tongue and Groove