As much as I love the subject of last week’s ’90s Music Monday post (Third Eye Blind for those of you just tuning in), I have to admit it pained me not to write about one of the most influential parts of the decade. Yes, I’m talking about the ’90s Boy Band. So, this week I will reflect upon a song that I consider to be one of the best ’90s boy band songs that came out of that magical era. At this point, you might be expecting a song by the pillars of boy-banderdom, *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys. Their time will come, but this week I’ve chosen to spotlight a classic from Lyte Funky Ones, also known as LFO.
To celebrate the fact that this Monday marks the first full week of my summer vacation, today’s ’90s song is none other than “Summer Girls” (1999). It’s no coincidence that the song was released in June and peaked in August – it was a summer anthem and certainly lost some of its spark when students were back in the classrooms and no longer “stopping by for the summer.” But now to talk about why the song was such a hit. Was it the catchy beat? The smooth vocal styling of Rich, Devin, and Brad?
No. It was the lyrics – possibly some of the strangest but most memorable lyrics of the decade. Reading the lines out loud literally sounds like a pop culture influenced poem exercise written by a third grader in English class. And that’s what makes it so great. “Summer Girls” contains some of my favorite song lyrics of all time, so I’m going to break down my top 3.
1. New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick
This is the first line of the chorus, and one of the first of the song. Immediately the listener is thrust into the complex territory of boy band rivalries. New Kids on the Block was without question one of the most well known and influential boy bands of the 1980s and 90s; however, these LFO lyrics express that they had a bunch of hits, but not now. Is LFO insinuating that the New Kids are now old news? Pretty ballsy move by a band that only had three singles make it to the top ten on US charts (compared to the 9 of NKOTB), if you ask me. Furthermore, the next line is about being sick, clearly drawing a comparison between listening to NKOTB and feeling ill. Talk about throwing the gauntlet, Funky Ones.
2. Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets
Just when I thought I was listening to a song about girls wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, you gotta throw in Billy Shakespeare?! Man, this song is deep. Clearly good old Bill and his masterful work had a lot of influence on the boys of LFO, and it’s great to see that he’s finally getting recognition for that “whole bunch of sonnets” he wrote so long ago. If only Billy Boy could come back and hear “Summer Girls” and know just how influential his writing was on ’90s pop singers, I know he’d be proud.
3. When I met you I said my name was Rich / You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
Back to the Abercrombie and Fitch girls, Rich? You were doing so well talking about Kevin Bacon and Paul Revere and macaroni and cheese, but it always has to go back to those Abercrombie girls doesn’t it, Rich? I have to admit, these lyrics have always made me feel a bit excluded because I certainly do not look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch. Does that mean I’m not a summer girl, Rich? Am I worth while or just so so? I want to be a summer girl, Rich!
Oh well. I may never be a summer girl, but I will always sing along to this song. And by the way – I’d take you if I had one wish, reader.
See you next Monday summer girls (and boys),