7
Jan 03

The 6ths-Heaven in A Black Leather Jacket

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Wasps Nest by the 6ths- Stephin Merritts other band- is a dress rehearsal for the 69 love songs. It doesn’t move through genres and literary devices with his opuses whirl wind speed or ease- sticking to the campy, faggy indie pop, it does have the same themes though and shows a heart breaking romanticism-because what is cynicism but a scab over a broken heart ?
In, Heaven in A Black Leather Jacket, a wife leaves on Sunday (by a train) and the husband looks for tricks by the docks-but it’s sung with the p.o.v of a trick- and what the boy desires is not to be fucked but to ‘be kissed in the Hollywood rain’- this song is the ultimate Stephin Meritt love song-it has a sense of ambiguity, a desire to be kissed which has more intimacy then fucking, a love of place (this time Hollywood)- and the finding that special someone.
Also by comparing those kisses to being ‘hit by a hurricane’ and by describing his paramour as wearing a black leather jacket he alludes to the bdsm of teen pop queens like the Shirelles and The Shangri Las.
Finally there is the rhyming of train and rain-which seems banal but ties textually the desire of the wife with the desires of the husband, and allows a sense of sexual ambiguity-he loves his wife and rumpy pumpys with boys on the dock, and its ok-he will take what he can get.
In three minutes he has made a love song, talked about gender poltics, made Hollywood seem romantic again, and given the listener a history of pop music, remarkable really.

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