Is this a perverse topic? It is definitely one for which I have a fondness. On screen, in film, and in books, accounts of first time sexual experiences tend to evoke a lot of tenderness, especially when they’re horrifically awkward (for the record, my favorite awkward sex scene ever (which would also make a great list) is in The Wackness). These recountings can also be quite varied despite their fundamental similarity, since they can be wistful, bitter, angry, nostalgic, or simply mushy. They can even be pressuring (for the record More Than Words was NEVER in the running). So here it is, a list of evoked sensations, memories, and life stages that I happen to find charming.
“December 1963 (Oh What A Night!)” by The Four Seasons
Bob Guadio’s 1975 hit is simply ADORABLE. Even an anonymous experience can be rhapsodized about in a sentimental young man’s heart. The melody is giddy, and seems very appropriate to immortalize someone enthusiastically trumpeting about that long-awaited formative milestone. The descriptions he uses are completely bombastic, which really contributes to the sense of innocence here. Also, “as I recall, it ended much too soon” always makes me snort.
“Like A Virgin” by Madonna
An obvious choice to consider for this list, yet also a very debatable one. Mr. Brown from Reservoir Dogs was very convinced that the song was just “a metaphor for big dicks.” I’m more inclined to agree with Mr. Blue though, and say it’s about going through the ringer a few times, and then encountering someone who makes you feel vulnerable, young, and new again. The costumes worn by Brittney and Christina at their infamous performance of said song at the 2003 encapsulated this perfectly, as they pranced around in dresses that were short, sexy, and yet still undeniably white and designed for weddings. I realize I haven’t talked about the song much in this write-up, but it’s so well known that at this point it’s more worthwhile to analyze some of its cultural accoutrements.
“We Looked Like Giants” by Death Cab For Cutie
This is hardly an unfamiliar sound. After the Postal Service exploded into popularity in 2003, for a while it seemed like every aspiring indie pop singer was attempting to emulate Ben Gibbard’s fey and somewhat nasal tones and cadences. However, no matter how saturated the radio gets with imitators, Ben still manages to be sweet and emphatic, and I think he sounds perfect for this song. This sounds like one spectacularly rosy youthful memory. Remember being young and having sex in cars because you didn’t have your own places? Remember cutting classes? Remember being in love in the spring time, and awkward fumbles? That’s the sort of affair that’ll make your heart sing to think about, even after it ends.
“Broom People” by The Mountain Goats
Here’s another song about youthful first time love consummated within a car, but with a vastly darker tone. The people involved are in junior high, and it seems like they are pretty isolated aside from each other. Lacking in close friends to confide in, surrounded by teachers who can’t really connect to their struggle, and saddled with neglectful parents who don’t mind raising their children in a filthy home, it seems like a grim situation. Except for this secret they have, which seems to be the pained young man’s only solace against his list of ‘good reasons to freeze to death’ recorded in a spiral-ring notebook. It’s terribly romantic in a way, but also terrifying to think that the only positive source of emotional fuel in your life coming from a tenuous relationship between 14 year olds.
“Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meat Loaf
If there’s any sort of unifying theme here, I guess it’s sex in cars. Anyway, what’s not to love about this song? Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley make a wonderfully impassioned duo. Even when they’re praying for the end of time, they still manage to be wondrously lively and upbeat. My favorite part is definitely the sports commentary, which is both hilarious and does wonders to escalate the anticipation. There’s a good life lesson in there too, kids: Don’t expect your teenage deflowerer to stick around for life.