I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes. I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale. Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not. In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey — I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site. With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment.
Let me start out by saying that I think Lita Ford is great. She started out with The Runaways and eventually became one of the leading ladies of hard rock. In the late 80s, when women with big guitars and big hair were a thing, she stood out among the Hearts and Vixens that were already on the scene. MTV wasn’t allowed in our house, but I managed to sneak in enough peeks to know what all the fuss was about. I first saw the “Kiss Me Deadly” video there, and it was awesome. Now, I trailed far behind in the realm of “cool,” so I didn’t have any band shirts or anything identifying marks of a hard rock/(hair) metal fan. But that didn’t matter. I liked the music and Lita Ford rocked.
Fast forward to 2010. I’m far removed from my radio days and looking to create a playlist that brought back those over-stimulated, AquaNet days of loud guitars and occasional musicality. “Kiss Me Deadly” was a must have, though it had been years since I actually listened to it. I bought it, completed the playlist, and started listening.
From YouTube user officiallitaford.
And…holy crap… I couldn’t help but laugh when “Kiss Me Deadly” started up. And I felt terrible and silly. The song was much brighter, much poppier than I remembered. And there’s a…keytar?? Oy. Lita could play like a badass, but her slithering up and on an unsuspecting guitar is, well, kinda hilarious. She sounds great, is a tad off key, but is still cool and raspy. As for the lyrics…oh…they just — well…hmm. Listen for yourself, but here are the first few lines:
Went to a party last Saturday night,
I didn’t get laid, I got in a fight, uh-huh.
It ain’t no big thing.
Late for my job and the traffic was bad,
Had to borrow 10 bucks from my old man, uh-huh.
It ain’t no big thing.
She goes on to talk about dancing, how much she likes dancing with you, asking to be kissed (deadly), drinking beer, getting high, and something about looking in the mirror. And then she’s back to dancing and kissing. Is she serious? Maybe. In the video, there are moments when it looks like she’s almost making fun of herself, of her “role” as a “woman rock star,” and perhaps she was. But there’s a funny look in her eyes saying she’ll never tell.
I’m no songwriter, and this song made Lita rich and famous; but every time I hear this song now, I still can’t help but laugh just a little. I see myself as that horribly awkward teenager, listening intently and loving each word that emanated from her mouth. As an adult I think, oh man really? But during a time when hair/pop metal was surging, yes really. When flash and bang meant more than thought-provoking words, yes really. There wasn’t much need to dispel wisdom and discuss the meaning of life when a good party (or maybe not so good in Ford’s case) was right around the corner. And I still love this song. Sure, it’s ridiculous, but it’s fun, and it’s grounding, and it’s a bonafide radio tune through and through.