Monday, November 17, 2008


Listen to SHE'S MY GIRL by The Turtles.

Today's song is by The Turtles, so this is the second appearance by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (i.e., Flo & Eddie) on the blog in a week.

When I first started thinking about what to write for this song a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I was very interested in the "girl" in the song. One thing that's evolved in pop music since the sixties, I'm willing to argue, is fewer of these possessory types of songs, where the man claims the woman as property. I just don't think boys think of girls in quite the same way they might have 40 years ago. How well do you think that one holds up?

Anyway, it's taking me away from the point I was starting to make. I was interested in the girl in the song because I think her fate is a lot worse than you might think just casually listening to the song. Is he saying he killed the girl? "She's my girl / I took her away last night." That was really what I thought when I was listening to it. And I'm not the only one to make a "murder ballad" connection:

My favorite thing about pop music is the means by which some artists attempt -- either consciously or unintentionally -- to subvert its sugary idealogical [sic] simplicity. "She's My Girl" by the Turtles is a great example of such a subversive song. It hints at being a murder ballad in the vein of antique Americana, while maintaining the pretense of contemporary pop fluff.

I do think there is some of that here, though a pop song is sometimes (usually) just a pop song. Before we leave it for now, have a look at the promo video, which just doesn't get any more 1967.

Photo: Neighborhood bracing (1).



Katie said...

When I read the post earlier, I thought, okay, I could see murder ballad from the lyric you cited--listening to it just now, TOTALLY murder ballad.

Corbett said...

Thank you for posting this song. I think I may have first heard this on "Oldies Radio"--Is that even possible? Could such a wonderfully bizarre song ever have been played on such a format?

bill said...

It is very bizarre, even leaving aside what happens to the girl, the way the chorus swells out of the verse, the way it slides between different tempos and meters. If only it didn't have the occasional cheap vocal phasing effects and that chintzy sounding keyboard at the 1:40 mark, it would be a top, top song

Corbett said...

Yeah, it doesn't really need phasing to sound pretty far out.

john said...

I think murder ballad is too much, especially for 1967 lovepop. To me it's more of a Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds riff: "off in the sky..." "getting so high..". Just drugs. Turn on, tune in, drop out and 40 years later ramble on and on about "changing the world" while wondering why the Saugerties condo flip isn't selling.

Corbett said...

Cynic. There are condos in Saugerties?