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Keep in Touch -- Writer's Poke #110

For Writers:

Over the past twenty years, songs about touching have been quite popular. Samantha Fox's 1986 hit "Touch Me" began the trend. This was the song that every 13 year old boy had been waiting for. England's Page 3 Girl turned pop singing sensation was just "begging for you" to touch her. And all was right with the world.

A few years later, Cathy Dennis decided the time was right for a less slutty "Touch Me" tune. But even though Cathy had a more innocent -- almost Debbie Gibson-like -- approach, she still suggested that it would be alright for you to touch her, "all night long." This was a message that resonated with 17 year old boys, making the song, which was otherwise quite gay-sounding, perfectly acceptable to listen to.

1991 was something of a breakthrough year, as The Divinyls decided to put their own twist on the touching idea, suggesting that the listener didn't need to be a participant. Lead singer Christina Amphlett was quite capable of touching herself, thank you very much. And as far as I know, this is the first mainstream pop song that explicitly uses the topic of female masturbation as a theme for its lyrics. Even without giving the listener an invitation to do the touching, the song made up for it by allowing the listener to be an observer, which is basically all of the fun and none of the work.

The idea of touching was then killed by Nirvana, a group that killed everything in music in the early 1990s, including its own lead singer. But as time is wont to do, all good things come full circle. Leave it to good old Mariah Carey to resurrect the lyrical idea of touching with her 2008 "Touch My Body." Her video even pokes fun at the 13 year old boy (now in his mid-30s) that likes songs with such lyrics.

Think about popular music. What is your favorite song with the worst song lyrics? Do you ever listen to music with your eyes? That is, is what the singer looks like important to how well you like the song?

"As a songwriter, if you can touch people and make them feel a little less alone in the world, then you've done your job." --Tom Cochrane

Samantha Fox's 1986 "Touch Me"

Cathy Dennis' 1990 "Touch Me (All Night Long)"

The Divinyls' 1991 "I Touch Myself"

Angel City's 2004 "Touch Me" (dance cover of Cathy Dennis' "Touch Me (All Night Long)"

Mariah Carey's 2008 "Touch My Body"


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