WARNING: Stay away from this blog, kiddies! I’m in a particularly explicit mood and you’re too young.
A couple of my crew are still teenagers. Young teenagers. They look a bit older than their years though, and it’s not until I’m trapped in conversation with them that I tend to remember just how young they really are. I dropped one of them home tonight, and she chattered incessantly in the car about her love life (imaginary), friends (probably real), and music (bands I’ve only vaguely heard of and care about even less). It’s hard to remember that I was ever so young.
She seems to be very much into Six60 at the moment, which I suppose is nice and cuddly… and hopefully the reggae beat doesn’t instinctively make her want to blaze up, as it does for me. She also insisted that she liked a lot of “older” music… like Nirvana… which made me want to cry because Nirvana are still irritatingly new to me. She also asked me what I used to listen to at her age.
Now, when I was her age I told people that the first album I’d ever bought was Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. It wasn’t. Mostly I just told people that because I thought it made me sound cool. The first album I ever bought was Toto IV. I’m that old.
I was seven, it was 1985, and my dad had just bought a CD player. He took me and my brother to the record store and said that we could buy any CD we liked. I remember that I was very tempted to buy Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, but even then I thought there must be something really wrong with me to like an album that looked like that. I bought Toto IV instead, because I knew my dad liked Toto and had a picture disc of ‘Africa’ amongst his LPs. I used to love to put it on, just so I could watch the whole continent of Africa turning in circles.
My dad was well-pleased with my choice (he still has that CD). My brother, as I recall, bought the soundtrack to Return of the Jedi. He was ten. Obviously puberty still hadn’t really kicked in for him yet, and it didn’t for a while. He used to play that album at ear-melting volume for days at a time.
Looking back, I do think it’s funny the degree to which I’ve grown to appreciate the same sort of music my dad likes. As an adult, I’ve bought Fleetwood Mac albums. I actually do like Toto. I’ve never gone for by Billy Joel or Chicago, but I might… one day.
My parents, of course, only served to be mystified by where my taste in music later wandered. They’ve never really met me halfway on that one, but I guess I don’t mind. It would be weird to take my dad to a Lamb of God concert. What’s even stranger is that my brother was the loud, angry child, and he grew up to like pop music and crap like U2. I was the quiet, polite child. You’ve gotta watch out for the quiet ones.
When I was nine or ten, I discovered an Australian band called Icehouse. I was given a cassette of Man of Colours for Christmas that year. My brother got given a cassette of Bon Jovi’s New Jersey, which I then stole off him and listened to until it practically wore out. It was the summer just before I turned eleven. I saved up my pocket money and bought Def Leppard’s Hysteria, which I listened to for about 20 seconds. I saved up more of my pocket money and bought Appetite for Destruction… so I guess that makes it the THIRD album I ever bought. That can’t be that bad.
Now, Appetite for Destruction DID something to me. At the time, it was really difficult to articulate what that was, but I liked it a whooooole lot. I’d really liked New Jersey too (and I still do), and grooved to it in a way that I’d never grooved to music before… but Appetite came along and stuck its hand up my skirt. I was still only ten, and maybe the hormones were simmering just right – I don’t know – but I suddenly started thinking about men… not “cute boys”: men. Big, hairy, dirty men.
I never looked at boys again.
I’ve actually heard guys bitch and moan that women only ever get into music if they want to nail one of the band members. That’s patently untrue. I’ve never wanted to get boned by any of the guys in Lamb of God or Metallica (sorry Lars), or Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, etc, etc… not even Motley Crue (I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit). And I’ve always argued that the music we go through puberty listening to: that’s the music that will stick with us forever. That’s not accidental. I think that sex and music are also pretty strongly linked in males too. The hormones hit you, and suddenly you understand what the hell Robert Plant is on about. If you get deeply into music at that point in your life, you will never be able to leave it alone. It will change the very fabric of your being.
It’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the musicality of Appetite. It’s an amazingly awesome album (particularly considering that the Gunners were probably all smashed off their heads at the time). It’s one of those perfect nexus albums, where the right people just seemed to be hitting the right creative point at exactly the same time. I’m sure some people will debate me on this, but G’n’R built their entire celebrity on the back of this one great album.
But it’s also grindingly sexual – let’s admit it. It’s not coy. It doesn’t tease. It’s musical porn. It’s DIRRRRRTY… It’s a rough fuck in a filthy toilet stall where you’re trying not to squeak too loud when he’s doing you in the ass, and it feels so good you’re thinking you might piss yourself….
And that, of course, is part of the reason why I like it. It’s part of the reason why anybody likes it. Those were some crazy times. And it plugged straight into a part of my brain that I’d been doing my best to ignore.
I do remember people making a big deal about the number of F-bombs that got dropped in the lyrics, but really? You’re worried about a bit of “fuck” when we have such gems as: “Turn around bitch, I’ve got a use for you. Besides, you ain’t got nothing better to do, and I’m bored.”?
Yeah, Axl was always a charmer.
And, to be honest, that scared the crap out of me when I was ten. After I discovered Poison, I put Appetite for Destruction away for a long, long time. That was probably for the best.
But I can come back to it as a grown-up and remember exactly why I liked it so much in the first place… and be kinda disturbed that I was TEN when I bought this album. While other girls at my school were still listening to New Kids on the Block (and not admitting that they were having EXACTLY the same feelings in their pants as I felt for Steven Adler) (Hey, at least you can’t argue that anyone ever bought a NKOTB album for the music, right?), I was embarking down a very different path with reckless abandon. I’m still really glad that I never liked NKOTB. I don’t live in a world where I need my sexuality to be cuddly and cute and “safe” and wear buttoned-shirts with hi-top sneakers. I would have punched Justin Bieber in the face even back then, although he hadn’t actually been born yet (Christ, I’m old). It’s a totally weird thing that my parents would even have LET me buy a G’n’R album at that age, because I don’t think I’d let my daughter do the same (if I had one).
Yes, I’m a total fucking hypocrite.
My parents probably thought that it would all go straight over my head at that age.
… Stop thinking about ass-fucking! You’re TEN!!!
But it’s still good to come back to in adulthood. It’s good to put on once more, and still get turned on. As I settled down to write tonight, I sought out the video for ‘Paradise City’ (easily one of the least dirty songs on the whole album) just so I could perv on Steven Adler some more… just like I did when I was a little girl.
Oh my God, I am so messed up… but damn it’s fun!