The History of Wooing Men: a cdza video music experiment

From Joe Sabia and the CDZA project, yet another fantastic weekly video experiment: A chronology of songs sung by women who are trying to capture the hearts of guys. "It all went downhill after 1996. Or uphill... depending on how you look at it," Joe says. This one features Dylan C. Moore. See the men's perspective in History of Wooing Women in their previous episode, here.


      1. Well, I think in this case he was wooing men, but he has broken some hearts, I believe, so I’m sure he has woe’d men in the past. (Yes, I verbed that noun, but to be fair, you did it first,)

  1. I’m not normally a fan of selectively choosing songs that suggest decreased censorship in mainstream media is really a decrease in talent, but I have to admit, I laughed. 

    1. On the one hand, it describes a lamentable decline in lyrical sophistication, on the other hand the work itself is funny, clever, original, well executed by people with a lot of talent, and supremely contemporary.

      We might be in decline, but the meta-commentary on the decline is awesome!

      1. Bullshit. Great wooing songs are still out there. They’re just not headlining any more. The decrease is in the sophistication of the youth audience that drives sales figures.

        Also, teenyboppers are newly horny and lack the control of maturity, so it’s no surprise that, as kids younger and younger are bolder about exploring sex, they more openly listen to lewd lyrics.

        Also, the puritanical backlash against the free-love generation finally succumbed to the internet and cable-TV age, but left no memory of romance for star-crossed kids to learn from, so all they have is cheap sex-comedy, porn, and Flavor of Love to teach them the amorous arts. I wouldn’t worry about it though. To quote Dogbert, when virtual reality becomes cheaper than dating, mankind is doomed. This is just the Bacchanalian third act.

        Also, Time After Time is a song about friendship, not romantic love.


        1. Hey Gulliver, thanks for calling bullshit on my claim there are no great wooing songs anymore! I didn’t say that but fuck it, knock yourself out.

          Nice ‘Dogbert’ reference.

          1. Well, you said it describes a lamentable decline in lyrical sophistication and I was calling bullshit on that statement which I took at face value, and arguing that it was tastes, not talent that had declined. Apologies for Internet Sin # 11: sounding more belligerent than I meant to.

          2. Perhaps a little compact, but clear. If I say ‘the Harry Potter Books describe a school of wizardry’ I’m not suggesting there is such a school.

            Anyway, no worries. I got to hang shit on you for a Dilbert reference, and then went on to make a Harry Potter reference, so I think we’re even.

  2. Well, to be fair, for example, the 1979 disco song “Ring My Bell” might not contain four-letter words but it can be interpreted in an… interesting way. The love song genre has always contained a few risque hits but how veiled the language is will vary by time and place. See the 18th century bawdy tune “My Thing is My Own”.

  3. What happened to Portishead “Glory box” , i thought it would have been a good fit, but being that the mid 90’s and up to present songs were full of expletives and vulgar language, perhaps it’s better that classic wasn’t sullied by association. Sigh music is going down hill. I remember when females were women, not men with vaginas like they are today.

  4. I don’t think cdza are actually saying “Look how love songs all used to be sweet and now they’re all sexually explicit and crude”; I think they’re saying something more like “Here’s an awesome medley, with an element of social/artistic commentary”…

    But if anyone does think this is indicative of a general decline in songwriting standards I’d like to disagree.  People have been writing filthy songs since people have been writing songs – in Stephen Fry’s ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ he quotes a few ballads from the 1700s which are too sick for me to type out here.  In ’64, the year of My Guy and Baby Love, John Lennon would regularly replace the chorus of ‘I wanna hold your hand’ with the lyrics ‘I wanna fuck your c**t’, though obviously this little ‘joke’ never left the practice room.  There’s a bootleg of the Doors singing a little ditty called ‘Fuck Her in the Ass’ in the late sixties – it was given general release in the 90s on a ‘best of’ compilation.  So there’s one thing – the writers of hits of the 60s were quite capable of being explicit, but censorship meant the smut went unreleased.

    Another thing is that there is a long tradition of songs which are explicit but metaphorical – Led Zeppelin stole the line ‘squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my leg’ from a song that was at least 30 years old at the time.  You can certainly argue that there is a step from that to ‘lick my pussy and my crack’; but I don’t think it’s a real huge step – it’s just jumping from metaphorical to literal.

    So I think it would be totally valid to argue that songs with explicit lyrics used to be kept private and are now more widely released; or that sexually explicit material used to be more metaphorically delivered and is now more often literal, but it seems a bit much to say ‘O woe is us, everything is all stupid and porny now’ – and I think cdza are too smart a bunch of people to be saying such a thing.

    I also kind of wonder if there’s an element of sexism to this – “women used to be all sweet and sing about their Baby Loves and now they’re [gasp] speaking frankly about their sexual preferences, how gross!”  Which may be an oversimplification, but seems to be at least slightly present in some of the comments here…

  5. I sorta thought when you said it went downhill after 1996, the transition would be gentle. Wasn’t really ready to have it slapped in my face, or put in my mouth, or whatever.

Comments are closed.