Friday, November 1, 2013

Matthew Sweet -- "Girlfriend" (1991)

Honey, believe me
I'd sure love to call you my girlfriend

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen spoke of "that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself."  

Jane would have agreed that Friday is the best day of the week.  Why?  Because the anticipation of a pleasurable weekend away from the office is nearly always more enjoyable than the weekend itself.

Why am I making this point?  Be patient -- it will all be explained in good time.

How many of you remembered that today marks the four-year anniversary of 2 or 3 lines?  Can you believe it?  (I can't.)

Who'd a-thunk it back on November 1, 2009 (when 2 or 3 lines debuted with a post about The Last's "She Don't Know Why I'm Here") that four years later we'd be looking at 598 posts and (as of 12:01 am today) 408,135 page views.

(As the old saying goes, "Tall oaks from little acorns grow."  Or in the case of 2 or 3 lines,  "A huge pile of bullish*t from little blogposts grows.")

I write about popular music -- at least that's what I write about when I'm not writing about myself (which is rarely).

I realized today that if I had to reduce pop music to one word that word would be "girlfriend."  Here's why.

I want a lifetime subscription
Although there have been many talented female pop musicians, the vast majority of memorable pop songs were written and performed by men.  And what are men interested in above all else?  Women, of course.

And what is the best thing in the world for a woman to be?  

A wife?  Ha!  (I'm not being anti-wife here, but remember what I said at the beginning of this post: anticipation is usually more pleasurable than realization.)  

A lover?  Ha again!  (A lover may be easier to walk away from than a wife when things turn sour, but that's not something that seems like an advantage when things are going swimmingly.)

A girlfriend?  Bingo! -- as Strother Martin's character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid said when he successfully spit tobacco juice without fouling his beard in the process.

A girlfriend is the greatest thing a guy can have.  When you have a girlfriend, either you are young or you feel young -- which is almost as good.

(Not really -- who am I kidding?  But humor me, please.)

Please note -- I said "girlfriend," not "overly attached girlfriend."  An "overly attached girlfriend" -- see examples below -- is not the greatest thing a guy can have.

Avoid the overly attached girlfriend
A girlfriend is all about the future.  A girlfriend has a high upside and very little downside.  A girlfriend is anticipated happiness -- the "sanguine expectation of happiness" -- not remembered happiness.  (She's like a delicious meal after the first couple of bites -- you know it's delicious, and you have so much of the meal left to enjoy that you're not worrying about how depressing it will be when you take that last bite!)  

There's nothing wrong with happy memories, of course.  As the novelist Julian Barnes has written, "Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory."

That's assuming that you have happy memories.  If you don't, it sucks to be you.

But even if your life sucks today, it's relatively easy to persuade yourself that the future is going to be better.

It's a lot harder to persuade yourself that your miserable past didn't suck because it's already over and you know good and well that it did (suck).  And the last time I checked, Best Buy wasn't selling time machines.

Please note: I did not say "girl friend."  A "girl friend" is a very different thing than a "girlfriend."  

Although, of course, a "girl friend" may always turn into a "girlfriend" at some point in the future.  And we were speaking earlier about the anticipation of future pleasure -- correct?

Yes, we are.  But anticipating something is very different than fantasizing about something.  In most cases, having a "girl friend" turn into a "girlfriend" is a fantasy that will never be realized.  And fantasizing about something that will likely never be realized is nowhere near as good as anticipating something that will be realized.  

Matthew Sweet understands this.  He didn't title this song (or the 1991 album of the same name that it appeared on) "Girl Friend," after all -- he titled it "Girlfriend."  That's why guys write catchy little pop songs, after all -- so they can get girlfriends.  (Surely you don't think we started the Rogues out of our love for music?)

Matthew Sweet has a "girl friend" who would make an absolutely spectacular "girlfriend": Susanna Hoffs.    

Susanna Hoffs was a member of the great all-girl group from the 1980s, the Bangles.  She is cute with a capital "C" -- and let's throw in capital "U," "T," and "E" as well.

And while we're at it, we might as well italicize those letters and put them in bold font and add "super" and some exclamation points:  Susanna Hoffs is SUPER CUTE!!! (And she's a ROCK STAR, for cryin' out loud!  How cool is THAT?)

Here she is singing "Hazy Shade of Winter" in a little black dress at SXSW in 2011:

OMG, she is cute, CUTER, CUTEST!  Am I right, or am I right?  (BTW, the best thing a girlfriend can be is CUTE -- not "pretty" or "beautiful" or "sexy," although there's nothing wrong with being any of those things . . . but "CUTE" pones all of them when  you're talking about a girlfriend.)

Unfortunately, Sweet is not someone who would be described as "cute" by many women.  (Maybe by  women who are legally blind.)

And not only is Susanna out of his league in terms of looks, but she's married -- and married to the guy who directed the Austin Powers movies as well as Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, 50 First Dates, and Borat.  

I know, those are all pretty lame movies -- but they made a boatload of money, and money is a very powerful aphrodisiac.

Hoffs and Sweet teamed up to record the three Under the Covers albums, which feature covers of great songs from the sixties, seventies, and eighties, respectively.  (I am always on the lookout for opportunities to use "respectively" in this fashion.)  

Sweet is a very talented musician, and Hoffs probably couldn't have found a better collaborator.  But he's got about as much shot as making her his girlfriend as I do.

(And yes . . . it is very painful for me to admit that.)

Here's "Girlfriend."  Happy birthday to 2 or 3 lines!

Click below if you'd like to buy "Girlfriend" from Amazon:

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