Friday, March 26, 2010

CANT GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD: You Shook Me All Night Long

The Song: "You Shook Me All Night Long"
The Singers: AC/DC
The Songwriters: Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Malcolm Young

Satellite radio has much to recommend it. No commercials, an incredibly wide range of genres, and virtually no hosts (save for the presence of all four surviving MTV VJs on "80s on 8"). But once you get past that, there really aren't a lot of surprises. All the hits gets dragged out for another run. And that includes songs like this.

She was a fast machine
She kept her motor clean
She was the best damn woman that I ever seen

Let's just stop right there, because right off the bat, this is one of the funniest, most epic failures in the history of rock lyrics. We kick off with this ham-handed car metaphor, but then, only two lines in, the guy just gives up. It's like, after he came up with machine and motor, he couldn't think of another entendre to save his life. So he just gave up. "That's it, mates. I'm tapped out." BUT HE KEPT GOING WITH THE SONG! What happened? Did he come up with it in a freestyling throwdown? Did they accidentally record his first draft? I mean, at least TRY to be suggestive.

She had the sightless eyes
Tellin' me no lies
Knockin' me out with those American thighs

Oh, I'm sorry. So the girl is blind. I feel terrible now.

Wait. What?

Takin' more than her share
Had me fighting for air
She told me to come but I was already there

Oh...oh, wait a minute. Hang on just one cotton pickin' minute.

Is this song about sex?

'Cause the walls start shaking
The earth was quakin'
My mind was achin'
And we were makin' it and you -

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

Look, I realize that 98% of rock songs are about sex. But there's something so basic, so blunt about these lyrics that if you think about them for more than two seconds, you won't be able to stop laughing. It's like the guys from AC/DC just got out of their first day of "Introduction to Metaphor" class, and were so excited that they just couldn't wait to try out their new-found skills.

Workin' double time
On the seduction line
She was one of a kind, she's just mine all mine
Wanted no applause
Just another course
Made a meal out of me, and come back for more

These aren't even actual sentences anymore.

This is normally the point at which I say something about the band. Not gonna happen. I don't give a whit about AC/DC. They specialize in a brand of music that I've sometimes heard called "hard rock" and other times called "metal" but which I know best as "music Shane doesn't particularly care for". Some songs, however, transcend their genre to become truly ubiquitous. And then I hear those songs on satellite radio, and they attach to my brain like remoras, and I have to write about them to get them out. And here we are.

Had to cool me down
To take another round
Now I'm back in the ring to take another swing

And now it's about boxing. Let's see if the folks at Songfacts can help me out.
Johnson came up with the line "She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean" when he realized that cars and women were very much alike - they go fast, let you down, but then make you happy again when you see the new model. AC/DC has never been known for deep, meaningful lyrics.
Thank you, Songfacts. Thank you so much.

'Cause the walls was shaking
The earth was quakin'
My mind was achin'
And we were makin' it and you -

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

I wonder what would happen if you didn't try to be coy about it (and I'm being REAL generous describing AC/DC as "coy" here) and just sang what you were actually talking about.


Knocked me out and then you
Shook me all night long
Then you were shakin' and you
Shook me all night loooong
Yeah you shook me
Well, you took me

(guitar solo)

Speaking of guitar solos, I checked, and this song is available on Rock Band. But here's the thing: aside from the solo, it's a really repetitive song. It must be really tedious to play. And yet AC/DC has to play it at every single show. They can't avoid it. That must drive them nuts. It's like a hard-rockin', chick-bangin' Groundhog Day.

You really took me and you
Shook me all night long
Oaaaaaahhhhhh you shook me all night long
Yeah yeah you
Shook me all... night... long
Ya really took me and you
Shook me all night long

Is that it? Is that everything?

Yeah you shook me, yeah you shook me
All night loooong!

Okay, then.

Fun Fact: This is an actual thing. So is this. Makes you wonder how hard rock fans can live with themselves.