Thursday, May 21, 2009

Auto Erotic

Inspired by the title of Lester Bang’s June 1980 truculent review of Grace Jones’s Warm Leatherette album, titled “Grace Jones Beats Off” (included in Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader), I thought I’d write a brief blog on la petite mort, the little death, the supposed loss of consciousness that follows a particularly massive orgasm. Since the title of Lester Bangs’ album review refers rather obviously to, well, beating off, I thought perhaps I’d assemble a playlist devoted to the subject, referred to in the Bible as “Onanism” (named after a rather frequent male practitioner), and, in a song that audaciously merges the sacred and the profane, titled “Icicle,” Tori Amos calls simply, “getting off.” Over the years, many rock and pop songs have been dedicated to the subject of autoeroticism. Perhaps no song has better expressed, poetically speaking, the subject of autoeroticism than Fleetwood Mac, with its song “Rattlesnake Shake,” from the album Then Play On (1969):

Now, I know this guy, his name is Mick
Now, he don’t care when he ain’t got no chick
He do the shake
The rattlesnake shake
Yes, he do the shake
And jerks away the blues

In fact, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac once performed “Rattlesnake Shake” in a rather apt location, the Playboy Mansion, with Hugh Hefner in attendance, as revealed by this video. But if you can’t, anatomically speaking, “do the shake,” do as Cyndi Lauper does, do the “she bop”: “I’ve been thinking of a new sensation/I’m picking up good vibration.” Here are a dozen songs on the subject of autoeroticism. I’ve omitted some of the more common titles, such as Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” and the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” which the band avers isn’t about the autoerotic subject at all. I have titled this playlist after the name of a mythical band of my own creation. I rather like it. After all, early on in its history rock & roll was sometimes referred to as bop.

She Bop And The Rattlesnake Shakes:
Tori Amos - Icicle
Chuck Berry – My-Ding-A-Ling
The Buzzcocks – Orgasm Addict
Devo – Whip It
The DiVinyls – I Touch Myself
The Dresden Dolls – Coin-Operated Boy
Fleetwood Mac – Rattlesnake Shake
Cyndi Lauper – She Bop
Britney Spears – Touch of My Hand
The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
The Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
The Who – Pictures of Lily