Dancin' - Olivia Newton-John with The Tubes (mp3)
I have just such a love for the song "Dancin'" from the Gawd-awful movie Xanadu.
My iTunes counter claims I've listened to "Dancin'" some three dozen times. I'd say I listen to it two or three times every month and have for years. Sure, there might have been a month or two in the last few years that I didn't listen to it. But there are other months -- particularly in the summer -- where I listen to it three times in a single day, my own version of how A Christmas Story runs for 24 consecutive hours on TBS.
"Dancin'" is by no means the first song to successfully do this. And I'm sure some listeners would happily argue that "successfully" is debatable. I can't deny a weakness for many of the aspects of the song, either. Olivia? Check! Songs about cheap sex? Check! Hand claps? Check! Harmonic "Ahhhs"? Check! The merging of this sonic melange into an over-produced assault? Abso-fuckin' check-lutely!
Loving the song still doesn't help me explain how it plays any part whatsoever in the movie. Then again, you'd be lucky to find five scenes in the movie that create any sense of cohesion. Xanadu is like Kentucky Fried Movie except with music, roller skates and almost no sense of humor. Which is to say, not good.
This song gets to the heart of the difference in mentality between the sexes when it comes to looking for a one-night stand. Or, well, it's how we think we think when it comes to one-night stands. Circa 1980.
You've got the female view. She's smooth and seductive and looking to ease your worries. Come to my lair because I can make the world disappear for a while... at least until the sun comes up in the morning and my makeup has worn off and I start talking about how much we have in common and yeah I know this started as a drunken sleepover but maybe just maybe we have enough that we should talk relationship and do I talk too much my last boyfriend said I do but he's an asshole not like you.
Crappy lyrics. Cheesy guitar licks. Sometimes True Love cannot be broken down like some J. Evans Pritchard Scale that measures a song's greatness on certain qualities and then determines your affection. Sometimes it makes little to no sense.
So, until then, Olivia, you keep singin' in three-part harmony; and Tubes, you keep rawkin' in 1980s faux synthness; and I'll keep playing it on a regular basis to remind myself of the deeper meaning of love.
And cheap, meaningless sex.