Not sure if anyone here is familiar with The Good Lovelies, but they are a three piece ensemble out of Port Hope, Ontario who are generally categorized as “roots” music – they have a real throw-back, Andrews Sisters three-part harmony type feel. Sunday drives and picnics type stuff.
A friend got me their first CD for my birthday a few years back and it’s great. I took my girls to see one of their shows and they put on the kind of performance that makes you wish they were your best girl friends. I was listening to it in the car not long ago and it occurred to me that nestled in this collection of guitars and ukuleles and banjos were nestled a number of feminist themes. “Sleepwalking'” describes having been sold out by the promise of domesticity. “Down, Down, Down” talked of disillusionment with the church and acceptance of mortality. I should add, these are my personal interpretations only.
The song that surprised me most was “Cheek to Cheek”. Admittedly, it was one of the tracks that took me longer to get used to. After really taking a listen to the lyrics I discovered that behind what could be considered a pretty innocuous, love song, was a song about sexual agency, where the woman narrating is truly a subject, rather than an object of desire.
Put your cheek next to mine
While our fingers intertwine
Step with one foot at a time
My hips have it, my feet fall in line
Our strolls turn into miles
Guided by the pale moonlight
I want to lean in, but it’s been a while
So I wait just a little longer
Oh, I would do
Anything with you
Under the moon
You wait by the riverside
Lips together, eyes shut tight
We sway like it’s our first time
Gently pull you down to the ground.
It’s subtle, but not. I like how there’s a sense of hesitancy in the second verse, but it’s based on the narrators own readiness. There’s no pretense of not wanting to come across as too forward or too bold. Just the thought of “Hmm.. Is this what I want?” and then “Yes, yes it is,” during the bridge.
The narrator here is the one acting, rather than being acted upon, right up to the last line.
I’ll also add that, vocals aside, there is no indication of gender. This could be a song about a man and a woman, two women, two trans men, two people of any given gender or sexuality.
Long story short, this reading of the lyrics increased my enjoyment of this song in particular. Does anyone have a different reading? Do you find the lyrics problematic in anyway? Is this just my way of promoting local(ish) talent?
*Lyrics are reprinted with permission (*gigglesquee!*)