When I was 10, I asked my mom to take me to Budget Tapes and CDs to buy me the new Color Me Badd album, C.M.B. As this was 1991, and Tipper Gore was still fresh in every parent’s mind espousing the horrible sexual and violent content of today’s music artists, I stood in horror as my mom grilled the poor teenage sales clerk about the content of Color Me Badd’s debut offering.
In particular, she probed deeply into the first track, “I Wanna Sex You Up.” It was positively mortifying, and as a weirdly prude little kid, I assured my mom I didn’t even care about that song and just wanted to hear their other hit “All 4 Love” and “can we please go now?” I asked flushed with embarrassment. After standing there for approximately 60 hours, my mom got some sort of satisfactory explanation from the clerk, and off we went.
My mom then demanded that we listen to this album on the car ride home, starting with that scandalous first cut. I sweated through the entire song, and blessedly got through it without much incident. After that, I was much savvier in the way I procured my music and just went around her.
After hearing “I Wanna Sex You Up” again recently, I think if I were my mom, I’d not be frightened about any luridness contained in this goofy song, but rather, fearful that my son got a wildly inaccurate picture of how sexual intercourse actually works. Put another way: “I Wanna Sex You Up” is a frighteningly stupid, and therefore delightful, pop song.
“Come inside take off your coat, I’ll make you feel at home.
“Now let’s pour a glass of wine, ‘cause now we’re all alone.
“I’ve been waiting all night long, so just let me hold you close to me.
“‘Cause I’ve been dying for you girl to make love to me.”
Second line in, and already I think this song is written either by aliens trying to assimilate the proper steps to lovemaking based on nothing but episodes of Red Shoe Diaries, or 14 year-olds who can only drink alcohol when they’re all alone. “Hey, before we have this sex, I snuck some wine out of my parents’ liquor cabinet which we can totally drink because we’re all alone now!” Now come close. What’s happening to my peepee?
“Girl you make me feel real good.
“We can do it ’til we both wake up.
“Girl, you know I’m hooked on you,
“And this is what I’ll do…”
We can do it til we both wake up?!? I think someone has gotten confused about the term “sleeping with someone” being a colloquialism for sharing a bed together (where sleep normally happens), and not indicative of actual sleep. Let’s sleep together! We’ll sleep together until we both wake up! Man, sex is awesome! I am 9 years old!
“I wanna sex you up.
“You make me feel real good.
“I wanna rub you down.
“I wanna sex you up.”
Before we go any further, there’s no way that’s a real black guy in this group. If it were, he’d write some real sexified lyrics like R. Kelly. I don’t see nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind. Shit yeah, R. Kelly. That’s a dude who’s had actual sex and understands the mechanics of said act. Bumping and grinding are reasonable descriptions of what the act of sexual intercourse entails. None of this “I wanna rub you down, I wanna sex you up” horseshit. What the fuck does that even mean? If forced to draw a picture of what sexual intercourse actually entailed, I suspect the members of this group would draw two stick figures slow dancing, a glass of wine on a nearby table, and bed with a question mark above it.
When I tweeted about listening to this song, my esteemed writing partner Jason replied, “in their original notebook they had it written as ‘I wanna sex you… up?’ with a note next to it, ‘Bryan, this sounds right.’”
“Let me take off all your clothes.
“Disconnect the phone so nobody knows.
“Let me light a candle,
“So that we can make it better.
“Makin’ love until we drown.”
Well, points for trying here, I guess. Taking off of the clothes – good. You’re recognizing there’s nakedness involved. Disconnecting the phone so nobody knows? Again, are we juveniles here? Adults can fuck, and people are allowed to know about it. In fact, that’s frequently one of the goals of having sex… so you can brag about it later. Also, in a slightly different context, disconnecting the phone comes off as a little rapey. Hey there, good looking, let me pour you a glass of wine. Now I’ll just disconnect the phone, and, y’know what? Does this rag smell like chloroform?
Furthermore, you know what women consistently rate as desirable traits of sexual partners? 1) Functioning penis, 2) Working knowledge of female anatomy, 3) Ability to combine traits 1 & 2 into meaningful effort… 1,000) Ability to light a candle. And of course, when using fire imagery, what should follow but the totally cogent and correct metaphorical picture “Makin’ love until we drown.” Light a candle -> drowning. Natch.
“Girl, you know it feels real good.
“We can do it ’til we both wake up.
“Girl you know I’m hooked on you.
“And this is what I’ll do.”
At this point in the song, our picture of sex from Color Me Badd is decidedly grim. Sleep, drowning (which he reiterates at the end of this chorus again), and now addiction. Clearly, Color Me Badd is merely a cipher for the Christian right to discourage adolescents from ever engaging in premarital sex lest they fall asleep, drown, and then wake up crippled by chemical dependence. Very clever, crazy Christian zealots. Very clever.
“Make sweet lovin’ all night long…
“(I wanna sex you up)
“Feels so right it can’t be wrong…
“Don’t be shy girl rescue me…
“(I wanna sex you up)
“Open up your heart and I’ll set you free…”
Yes, it feels so right it can’t be wrong is less a declaration of joy, and more a sad pep talk to a poor man who clearly has not done this before and has no idea what the fuck comes next or how he’s doing at it. You see? The next line is “Don’t be shy, girl, rescue me…” Yes, rescue this poor man before he lights more candles and somehow ends up drowning in them. This next line is my absolute favorite, which really says something, partially because he exclaims it so bizarrely, and partially because of the actual words…
“Oh, oh, ohhhhhh, I….aaaaayyyyyyyyyy-ay… WANNA TOUCH YOU IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, BABY!”
Granted, he has no idea what any of those places are, but rest assured, once he finds them, he’ll touch you in them. So look forward to that, ladies! And probably expect giggling.
At this point, it behooves me to mention that on an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” from this season, Sheldon brags to fellow physicist Barry Kripke that he and Amy Farrah-Fowler “rubbed their bathing suit areas together.” It is my firm belief that Sheldon Cooper, a character who is clearly on the autism spectrum and has no interest in sexual intercourse whatsoever (he’s lying to Barry about “rubbing bathing suit areas” together with Amy), has a better functional understanding of sexual intercourse than Color Me Badd does. I also assert that his description of the act is far more of a turn-on than anything from this song. I’d wager 100 out of 100 ladies would assert the same.
Of course, I did write this across from Kristin while she did stuff for work, and just by hearing it while I made fun of it on my blog, she was overtaken with desire, crawled across the table and mounted me right then and there. We disconnected the phone so that nobody knew, and did it ‘til we both woke up.
Nah, I’m just kidding. This song is moronic. No one can have sex to this song. Which is why it’s the perfect sex song for 11 year-olds. And that’s definitely the weirdest thing I’ve ever written.