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A musical history of wooing women

CDZA (short for Collective Cadenza) is a group of mostly Juilliard-trained music geeks (and we use that term in the most loving and respectful way) that “creates musical video experiments” — in other words, fun viral vids that play upon all sorts of musical themes and genres (think “Evolution of Dance” but with live musicians and no dancing). Ten months ago they created their inaugural “History of Lyrics That Aren’t Lyrics” (i.e. Sha na na na, doobie doobie doo, etc). Then a few months ago they started producing these videos regularly, one every other Tuesday. Some recent examples: “Mark Zuckerberg: The Musical” (“This is the dawning of the page that you share with us”) and ”Aces of Basses” (a literal tribute to the Swedish pop sensation using five acoustic upright basses).

Now there’s “History of Wooing Women.” It begins innocently enough with the 1955 classic “Only You” by the Platters and quickly runs through the next few decades with Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does,” and so on. But suddenly, around the mid-’90s, things take a turn for the obscene:

“I want to fuck you like an animal.” (Nine Inch Nails, 1994)

“You’re a fine mother fucker, why don’t you back that ass up.” (Juvenile, 1999)

“Wait till you see my dick, hey bitch, wait till you see my dick.” (Ying Yang Twins, 2005)

etc.

Pretty funny. Of course, they’re self-selecting the songs for the sake of the video. It’s not like there aren’t sweet romantic ballads anymore (Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Coldplay), and raunchy songs have been around forever (check out Lucille Bogan from 1935). But we can’t help thinking that the mainstream appeal of the potty-mouthed songs of late must have something to do with the mainstreaming of porn: the male fantasy of women being sexy sex-crazed sex slaves becoming an acceptable staple of pop culture.

Sure, women artists can be just as dirty — but they usually cast themselves as the sexy sex-crazed sex goddess, which is admittedly a lot better than slave but still seems to be more about self-objectification than self-empowerment. Even the seemingly sex-positive Ke$ha sells out her entire gender with the song “Grow a Pear” (as editors — and old people — that spelling kills us!), which defines communication, the desire for a relationship and whining as exclusively female traits (“I just can’t date a dude with a vadge”). Again, pretty funny… but not if you think about it for too long.

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Photo credit: CDZA’s “History of Wooing Women”