It's Day 14 of the 30 Day Song Challenge, and I'm guessing that I've revealed enough about my musical tastes by now for there to be several songs that "no one would expect me to love." For those of you who were looking for a complete U-turn from my selections on Day 2 ("least favorite song") and Day 12 ("song from a band you hate"), sorry to disappoint but there's no Toby Keith or The Doors here today.
Today is one of the more interesting categories so far, because it requires me to step outside of myself and try to think about what others think about what I think about music. And, given that others know that I think a lot about music, I fear that this requires me to think about what others think about me, my tastes, my prejudices and biases, even my own image of myself as a music-lover. (Meta-meta post here, for sure.) As it turns out, I think that today's selection goes a long way toward upsetting the picture I've presented of myself so fat in the Challenge. This is a song from a genre of music that I haven't featured, but which I listen to a lot. It's also from an artist who I don't think I've ever mentioned before on this blog, but all of whose albums I own (and listen to a lot).
Let me just go ahead and kill the suspense. Here's one of my favorite songs by 50 Cent (featuring Olivia), "Candyshop," from his 2005 album The Massacre:
I'm guessing that most people who only "know" me through this blog would be surprised to learn that I love 50 Cent. I pretty regularly sing the praises of roots music (country, blues, rock-n-roll), but don't often enough write about the rap and hip-hop artists that I also love. But even if you may have guessed that I like rap and hip-hop, and even if you guessed that I like 50 Cent, I'm still betting you didn't guess that "Candyshop" was something I'd like.
Here's why I think no one would expect me to love this song. First, it could be heard as more than a little sexist. The video doesn't help that much, being set in what looks to be a modern-day brothel and suggesting that the ladies are the "candy" in that "candyshop." In my defense, I'll just say that it's not clear to me that anyone is being objectified more than anyone else in this song. Olivia certainly is meant to be the candy, but 50 pretty much reduces himself to a lollipop. So, I'll call that one a draw.
Second, it's a pretty straightforwardly sexual song. Like, awesomely nasty sexual. I mean, sure, there's the whole extended metaphor of the "candyshop" (and 50's "lollipop"), but when he says "if you be a nympho, I be a nympho"-- well, I think at that point the metaphor has been dropped as fast as 50 and Olivia's pants. ("Soon as I come through the door she get to pulling on my zipper / It's like a race who can get undressed quicker.") Now, there's a lot of R&B music that I love that is equally sexual, but it tends to present its content under a slight cover... with the obvious exception of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" or "Sexual Healing," that is. If you were of the opinion that I don't like these songs, you were just wrong.
Finally, I'm guessing that most people wouldn't expect me to love a song by 50 Cent, who has a reputation for being violent and misogynistic and homophobic. Well, I don't particularly like Toby Keith, either, though I like his music. And my favorite artist of all time, Johnny Cash, was no angel. Hell, I even like a couple of Stanley Kubrick's and Lars von Trier's films... so I know how to separate the art from the artist.
Anyway, I love "Candyshop." Sue me.