Thursday, March 12, 2009

One Hit Wonder Or One Hit Blunder

Today's Subject: "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses

A slice of pure pop perfection complete with an awesome bass line, psuedo funk guitar, saxaphone and, most importantly, a woman teasing you and telling you that she knows what boys like without really giving anything way.

The song never really moved past the 80's nor did the band and sounds very dated. Granted, there have been covers of it from time to time, it occasionally shows up on radio (the reason I chose this song is because I heard it on XRT yesterday evening) and it may show up in a film from time to time. It is pop gem that has also shown up on countless 80's specials, one hit wonder specials and plenty of karaoke nights. Importantly, the legacy lives in the message: girls know what boys like.

They see us staring and wanting them. All of the teasing and frustration. They're definitely right to call us suckers. This band knew that and put it over one of the catchiest hooks of the 80's. Pure genius. Every girl at the time could sing that song with glee. Hell, I'm a heterosexual man and I find myself singing whenever I hear it. The song is just that infectious.

Outside of "I Know What Boys Like", The Waitresses didn't achieve much success. They had a Christmas song ("Christmas Wrapping") that's become a bit of a standard and has been covered by a number of artists and they appeared on and wrote a great theme song to the cancelled, cult classic TV series, Square Pegs, but they'll forever be known for the song that allowed the late Patty Donahue to taunt and tease men of all ages and, in a way, empowering girls everywhere by letting everyone know that she, in fact, knew what boys like...boys like...boys like me.

Catchy hook.
Fun instrumentation.
Saxaphone solo.
Sexual taunting by a member of the opposite sex through song.
The song has become a karaoke classic.
Despite it's only real lifespan being in the early 80's, the song is occasionally covered (most recent appearance as an updated, almost Hip Hop song performed in The House Bunny) and sometimes shows up on the radio (thanks XRT. ThXRT).

Lyrics can be a bit repetitive.
The song has become a karaoke classic...for women...possibly drunk.

There is no blunder here, this song deserved to be a hit and I think we'll still hear it 10 years from now. The House Bunny was filmed 20+ years after the song was a hit and most of the women singing on that version of the song hadn't been born when it was a hit. That's a true testament to an great pop song. Who knows what's next for this hit. Perhaps, it'll appear on Rock Band. One can only hope.

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