Girls & Boys

Sonja: Sex without love is an empty experience!
Boris: Yes, but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.  
(from Woody Allen’s Love and Death)

While this probably has more to do with both being influenced by Chic, the first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear “Girls & Boys” is how much this sounds like an early Duran Duran. The leaping bassline is pure John Taylor, while the guitars (probably less intentionally so) sound like they were flown in straight out of “Friends Of Mine”. Add to that a firm discobeat, and we’re ready to party like it’s 1981.

Except by 1994 everybody, and not just middle class boys in funny suits with silly haircuts, could save up their money and go on a sex and drugs and rock n roll (ok, eurodisco) holiday in Ibiza or on Mykonos. Sex in particular is high on the menu, and it doesn’t matter who or what you do, girls, boys, or anything in between. What makes “Girls & Boys” so great lyrically, though, is that it’s full of ambiguities. Is Damon taking the piss out of the herd or does he show admiration? If there’s no work available, there’s no need to avoid it, is there? Is he implying they’re all a lazy bunch of girls who are boys who like boys to be girls? The line about everything being reproduced followed by something about getting nasty blisters, in the meantime, seems to point towards the holiday crowd needing to visit their doctors and gyneacologists as soon as they get back since with mass distribution of bodyfluids come conditions Morrissey could only dream of on “Frankly Mr Shankly”. And what’s up with these mentions of love? Are you kidding me, Albarn, or are the holiday crowd trying to fool everyone, including themselves and eachother?

Suede had been there a year before, but “Girls & Boys” breaking into the singles charts’ Top 10 is probably the moment Britpop hit the mainstream for the first time. Coupled with a tiny handful of excellent b-sides and a cheap but iconic video, it was nothing if not a classic single. With the possible exception of “Song 2”, it’s also the band’s song that even people who think they’ve never heard a Blursong have heard.

There have been a few good cover versions, including a hilarious take by Idlewild recorded for Radio 1, and one by the Pet Shop Boys that, not surprisingly, stuck close to the Boys’ remix of “Girls & Boys”. If that’s not enough madness I can also recommend the version on Live At The Budokan, which has some very interesting guest vocals by selected audience members.

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Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 11:42 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The Pet Shop Boys did two remixes – the 7″ and 12″ versions are different enough (if my memory serves me correctly!) to count as two separate songs rather than one just being an extended version of the other. It has been a while though.

    Have you heard the “Damon blocks PSB use of Girls and Boys remix” news items doing the rounds at the moment? Neil Tennant has apparently dimissed them as rubbish. One site stated the Pet Shop Boys had remixed Parklife!

  2. LOL I did hear about those rumours, and I read Neil’s dismissal, saying that they didn’t even ask if they could get G&B on there…

    To be honest with you, I haven’t heard the PSB remixes forever, and for some reason I only have the 12″ on my iPod, so I must like that one better… but I’ll have the original every day (and Great Escape era live versions… I love the squeeking noises Graham makes during the early verses, like he wants to sabotage the whole thing)


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