Back in my day, we just sang about doin' it.
When it comes to music, it's as if I have a boomer's soul.
Despite falling neatly in the middle of the millennial generation, I was raised on Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, and the Everly Brothers–which is to say, I understand nothing. Why is Billie EIlish so sad? What does Lizzo dream about? Who said Ed Sheeran was allowed to have a career? What's "DaBaby?" And then there's Harry Styles.
Oh, Harry Styles: a beacon of (maybe) bisexual boy band energy and tutu-wearing gender fluidity. I can dig it. But then he released "Watermelon Sugar." Rolling Stone greeted its arrival by saying "Harry Styles Yearns for Taste of 'Watermelon Sugar.'" They wrote that the "track has the singer nostalgic for 'that summer feeling,' yearning for berries and the taste of watermelon sugar." Aw, so wholesome, so sweet.
And then Buzzfeed ruined it–ruined me, temporarily. Curating Twitter's best Harry Styles decoders, they revealed the truth: "Watermelon Sugar" is about oral sex. What is "watermelon sugar," exactly, in this context? According to Urban Dictionary, it's a "term used for male prec-m while giving oral sex."
Can it be true? Let's look at the second verse and the bridge: "Strawberries on a summer evenin' / Baby, you're the end of June / I want your belly and that summer feelin' / Getting washed away in you."
I...want...your...belly? Then the pre-chorus and chorus go: "Breathe me in / Breathe me out / I don't know if I could ever go without…Watermelon sugar high / watermelon sugar high / WATERMELON SUGAR HIGH" and oh-my-god, this song is absolutely about oral sex!
In fact, you know what? I'm into it. Good, go ahead, Harry Styles, you aspiring millennial Beatle. After all, the fab four poured their hearts out about feeling "your finger on my trigger" in "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," a "fish and finger pie in summer" in "Penny Lane," and, frankly, a ton of lyrics also about oral sex (what did you think "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" was about?").
Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar (Official Video) www.youtube.com
And you know what other songs win innuendo bingo? A lot of modern pop hits you wouldn't expect from their bopping, innocent melodies. I feel deceived. Actually, I feel old. In my day, if you wanted to sing about sex, you would just do as Paul McCartney did in "Hi, Hi, Hi" and belt out, "Yes, I go like a rabbit, gonna grab it / Gonna do it 'til the night is done."
Ariana Grande - "Side to Side"
Ariana Grande looks like a trendy eighth grader I'd be too afraid to pass on the sidewalk after school, but apparently "Side to Side" is about having so much sex that you can't walk properly. "That whole song is about riding leading to soreness," she confirmed at the MTV VMAs. "'Ride d*ck bicycle' is the lyric, indeed." Kids grow up so fast these days.
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