Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dirty Little Girl

The roll-and-tumble, stop-and-start rhythm of this track seems to simulate the gait of the title subject, a definitely untidy (in a lot of ways, apparently) young lady and the target of Bernie's scorn.

Lyrically not one of Bernie's finest moments; he sounds alternately mean-spirited and condescending in verses like this:

When I watch the police come by and move you on
Well I sometimes wonder what's beneath the mess you've become
Well you may have been a pioneer in the trade of women's wear
But all you got was a mop up job washing other people's stairs

Unsurprisingly, this tune was often used as an example when sexist accusations were levied against him. He has a nasty, scolding tone throughout, as the chorus makes evident:

I'm gonna tell the world, you're a dirty little girl
Someone grab that bitch by the ears
Rub her down scrub her back
And turn her inside out
'Cause I bet she hasn't had a bath in years

It remains an interesting track mostly because of the musical accompaniment; Johnstone plays a lot of string-bending notes on the low end of the neck, and the bridge leading up to the outro in particular has a wonderful blend of horns, vocal and guitar.

This one's never been a favorite of mine; can't really say why because while I deplore Taupin's tone, I'm not especially offended. One reason could be because of the jacket illustration, a colored-pencil drawing which depicts a slovenly, disheveled young girl, wearing a soiled slip and curlers in her hair, holding a cigarette and licking her lips at the viewer. It's not a bad drawing at all, far from it- in fact, I have a deep love for album package design that features illustrations for individual songs on the lyric sleeve and/or jacket; others that come to mind are Traffic's When the Eagle Flies and Ringo Starr's Ringo- but the image is as unpleasant as the song is supposed to be, and that made a negative impression on impressionable young me.

Also, in my mind, this song is part of a set with Caribou's "Stinker"- they both share a thematic similarity.

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