10 SFW '90s pop songs loaded with sexual innuendo

by Mark Teo

April 24, 2013






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When B4-4 admitted that “Get Down” was about blowjobs, the whole world let out a collective “well, duh.”

When B4-4, the boy band led by brothers Ryan and Dan Kowarsky, recently admitted that “Get Down” was about blowjobs, the whole world let out a collective “well, duh.” We didn’t need them to explain that their singles—and heaps of other ‘90s Lou Pearlman-indebted pop songs—were about sex, because “Get Down” and its tween-pop brethren, even if they were marketed toward the young-adult set, were dripping with wet hot innuendo. It was like film-noir style soft censorship, only done a zillion times clumsier: Any half-sentient observer knew that whenever Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart were caught smoking, they’d just bumped uglies. And any time the Kowarskys talked about getting down, they were literally talking about people going down. On their spray-tanned genitals. Of course, they weren’t the only ones—here, ten more instances of hilariously blunt sexual innuendo in song.

Spoiler alert: We understand that we may be destroying your childhood here. If so, um, sorry?


How it was interpreted: It’s a standard Led Zeppelin-meets-Pinball Wizard narrative: A (presumed) boy closes his bedroom door and escapes into a fantasy world. Only this time, the world isn’t inhabited by wizards and orcs; it’s inhabited by once-teen idols like Cindy Crawford, Janet Jackson, Salma Hayek, and more.

What it really meant: OK, before anything, let’s get this out of the way: The band is called O-Town. Yes, they claimed the “O” signified their hometown of Orlando, but let’s be honest—they were referring to Os in the context of O-faces. And if that weren’t embarrassing enough, “Liquid Dreams” drops lines about “morpharotic dreams,” “dominatrix supermodel beauty queens,” and “waterfalls and streams,” in reference to either chronic masturbation—if you’re going to take the line about “my mama thinks I’m lazy” seriously—or, more likely, wet dreams. Which is just about the most humiliating thing adolescent dudes go through. WHY WOULD YOU MAKE US RELIVE THE SHAME, O-TOWN? WHY?


How it was interpreted: The first half of the track is all candlelight and “being for real,” which, for the most deluded of minds, could possibly—possibly—be about romance.

What it really meant: It’s a surprisingly direct, if flowery, way of saying “let’s go to bone zone.” Do we really need to break the metaphor down for you? Okay, fine, here goes—a pee-pee enters a vajay, which the fab five treat as a literal fusion of two bodies. (Note: Pee-pees only enter vajays in this song, as the Spice Girls specify that “boys and girls go good together.” Heteronormative dick move, ladies.)


How it was interpreted: Loosely, “Get Down”’s chorus could be interpreted as, at best, an invitation to get low, in a dancing sense. If taken in this context, though, its verses are complete jibberish non-sequiturs.

What it really meant: Like B4-4’s similarly titled single, Howie and co.’s “Get Down” is about oral sex. Only this time, it’s the band delivering it, not receiving it. And “Get Down” is an instructional song for cunnilingus debutantes: First, get down. We repeat: GET DOWN. Next, move it all around. Then, smack it up. Flip it, perhaps. Move it all around. Rinse, lather, repeat, exeunt. We have to give major props to Backstreet Boys, here: You can call them many things, but they’re certainly not selfish lovers.


How it was interpreted: It’s about doing it right, not doing it period. These Vancouver boys aren’t just looking for sex. They’re looking for love. Right?

What it really meant: Before we go any further, I’ll be honest here: As I mentioned in my post about Canadian boy bands, I love Soul Decision because they sound like all the best parts of Toro y Moi and Hot Chip. “Let’s Do It Right” is no exception. But it’s also absurdly classy, right down to its elegiac Latin guitars: This song is about having sex, but it ain’t crass. Heck, it might even be secretly Christian, in that waiting-for-marriage kind of way: It’s about securing exclusivity—right down to a proposal on one knee—before coital crunch time.


How it was interpreted: “C’est La Vie,” right down to its cheese-errific synths, was a catchy compilation of childhood tropes, meshing references to treehouses, the Three Little Pigs, and “Do Your Ears Hang Low.”

What it really meant: Nothing, really. But it was a glorious, completely transparent collection of sexual innuendo that undoubtedly caused zillions of sweatpant boners: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” as B*Witched sing during the first verse, is the standard sexual-social contract. “Let me in,” they sing, “and I’ll huff, puff and blow you away” is literal—except for the part about huffing and puffing. “Do you play with the girls, do you play with the boys” feels remarkably open-minded, but there’s a little sarcastic zing when they drop the next line: “Do you get lonely playing with your toys?” Add in a touch of not-quite-innocence—“say you’ll do what I won’t”—and you have one of the raunchiest songs in existence.


How it was interpreted: Considering its choruses consisted mostly of “Whoaaa ohs,” the Vengas were likely banking on very little analysis of “Boom Boom Boom.”

What it really meant: “Boom boom boom / I want you in my room,” for clarity’s sake, should’ve been “boom boom boom / I want to take you to pound town,” but sadly, that doesn’t rhyme. 


How it was interpreted: It’s an epic, and halfway dark, song about yearning and regret, all told from the perspective of a spurned lover.

What it really meant: “…Baby One More Time” is brilliant, because even once you’ve stripped away the innuendo, it has multiple (or really, two) interpretations. “Hit Me,” quite obviously, is play on late ’90s bro babble, the stuff that Urban Dictionary calls the “slavering of a horny adolescent”—as in, “I’d hit that like a tree on Endor.” But Britney’s hints that there’s legitimate sadomasochistic undertones: Loneliness kills her, but it’s violence, or at least the ball gag, that keeps her alive. (“Give me a sign,” she pleads, “Hit me baby one more time.”) And amidst being blinded, she asks her lover that “there’s nothing I wouldn’t do… Show me how you want it to be.” Translation: Forget the safe word. 


How it was interpreted: At the time of its release, “Genie in a Bottle” was the PVC-clad answer to Britney. Racy as it was, though, its central theme was restraint—it was about confronting temptation.

What it really meant: “Genie in a Bottle” was as subtle as being powerbombed onto a fire hydrant. Yet still, it’s chorus—the only part of the song open to interpretation—was the song at its most open-ended. “I’m a genie in a bottle,” metaphorically speaking, suggests that Aguilera needs coaxing to emerge from her shyness. But what follows—“if you wanna be with me / you gotta rub me the right way”—isn’t metaphorical at all. We talking foreplay, son. And if you don’t do it the “right way,” Aguilera’s confidence-deflating way of saying that Cheetoh dust-fingered nerd virgins needn’t apply, then there’s no way your “wish will come true.” Forget innuendo. This is as literal as it gets.


How it was interpreted: “Pony,” thanks in part to Timbaland’s forward-thinking production, is an R&B song that sounds modern, even if it’s been nearly 20 years since its release. Surprising, then, that there’s been little fuss about Ginuwine’s descriptions of bodily fluids sliding down thighs.

What it really meant: Read the lyrics—this song must’ve destroyed legions of horse-loving fillies. This was straight up nasty stuff: There’s talk of flossing, peeping steelos, ponytail-grabbing, and “lurking all over and through you, baby, until I reach your stream.” The only confusing thing about the song? The Ginuwine’s comparison of his member to a riding horse’s saddle.


How it was interpreted: As yet another smooth R&B track comparing sex to edibles, which is one of the oldest tricks in the game. (See: The Bible’s forbidden fruit, R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory, etc.)

What it really meant: The innuendo starts in pretty standard fashion, with 112 making gestures about getting freaky in their limo, calling their love addiction, and praising the smell of their lover. (“Girl, you know what I’m talking about,” they say.) But somewhere, the peach analogy goes way, way too far: “Won’t stop girl you know I can’t get enough,” 112 croons. “Wanna taste it in the morning when I’m waking up / Like peach cobbler in my stomach when I eat it up.” Did things just get cannibalistic AND necrophiliac? There’s totally gotta be a name for that.

Tags: Music, Cancon, Lists, News, Backstreet Boys, britney spears, BWitched, canrock, sex, Soul Decision, Spice Girls






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