Sexualized Pop and Language
So imagine how awkward it would have been for my parents to listen to me singing along to Jordan Knight’s Give it to You back then as a 13-year-old with some very basic junior English classes. “You say it’s been too long since you had some / You say I turn you on like a fire that’s burning inside,” followed by that line, “Anyone can make you sweat, but I can keep you wet.” THANK GOD my parents don’t speak English. Not because my dad would have given me a good one for listening to and singing such things, but I would have probably lost my unsupervised media consumption perks.
Of course, everything that was pop back then sounds dirty to me now… be it “getting down and moving it all around” or “getting down and wanting it now, baby” or being “a genie in a bottle and having to rub me the right way.” Back then it seemed the sexuality was hidden under all those layers of pre-packaged almost asexual idols and language! Except for Britney, I don’t think my parents ever appreciated me being a fan of her with her schoolgirl outfit. LOL
The tale was a little different in Spanish, though. For instance, my parents never let me have the radio on when Argentinean duo Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas were on with their songs Abarajame (I don’t even understand what that means now, LOL) or Coolo — which I could translate as “azz”. Or when Molotov were on heavy rotation with most of their hits like El Carnal de las Estrellas (Flesh of the Stars), in which they sang about the superficiality and crude sexual reality of fame, or Puto (Male whore). But most of these weren’t exactly what we know as pop, right?
The closest thing to pop in Spanish that comes to mind is Pedro Suarez Vertiz’ Globos del Cielo (Balloons of the Sky), a blunt ode to beautiful breasts and getting laid, in which Vertiz sees a foreign visitor with a beautiful rack saying “que bellos, que bellos son tus senos / los miro y me enveneno” [such beauty, your breasts are such beauty / I look at them and I poison myself]. But the foreign beauty (most likely Russian in the music video) doesn’t speak Spanish so she goes POHPOH-POH-POH POH-POHPOH-POH-POH!
But nope, my parents had no issues with me singing along to that… maybe because it was fun and catchy! Perhaps my parents developed the ability to block out understanding lyrics like I have done for the past five years. Maybe they just didn’t see Pedro Suarez Vertiz as a threatening individual because despite talking about sex in his music — his album was called Pontelo en la Lengua, translated to “stick it in your mouth” — he never exuded a sexualized image even when talking about sexuality.