I wrote about hair metal.
Ander Monson's annual tournament of literary essays on music is on, and this year the theme is '80s hair metal: March Shredness. I didn't choose my team, but I went in hard on Bulletboys' 1988 hit "Smooth Up in Ya." Below is an excerpt:
“Putrid yet pleasant is the epitome of Shredness, which succeeds when it teases new heights of moronic, phallo-centric farce. “Smooth Up In Ya” is the platonic ideal of anti-intellectual, anti-human cock rock. It’s cock-a-doodle-douchebaggery! What more is there to think about?
Yet I did think harder. Listen deeper. And what I found up in “Smooth Up In Ya”—with its excess of style and dearth of critical thought and shirts—was a more expansive, even feminist, performance of desire and sexual negotiation.
“Smooth Up In Ya” squealed and thumped onto the airwaves in 1988. Back then, my family lived in a Missouri development of split-level homes, all middle-class linoleum and fake wood-grain. The backyards were tessellated chainlink. All the other moms on the block looked like they were auditioning for an off-brand Whitesnake video."
In rejection news, I didn't get the Aspen Summer Words scholarship or a James Merrill residency or a Stegner, and Creative Nonfiction wasn't interested in the essay I sent. This one's for them. \m/ \m/