Girl All The Bad Guys Want (2002)
Bowling For Soup
“Girl All The Bad Guys Want” is unadulterated Rock-N-Roll fun, a look back at how silly, goofy, satirical, pained and exuberant the form can be, how it ought to be. In the case of this song, though, Bowling For Soup turns its beady, Neo-Punk eyes on its own era and lampoons just about anything that moves, whether its wearing a short skirt and fishnets, performers standing on a concert stage, or slackers plastered with a dopey pill-popper’s stoned out look.
It’s a blast. And it rocks the way any classic should. Rough, cranky lead guitar lines; grindingly metallic rhythm guitar; a hounding bass line, and heavy-sounding drums that seem to have been produced in a dungeon, all batter out a catchy, memorable vibe.
Trying to get the girl…
The vocals, lead and back-ups, also have a stiletto sharp satirical glint. Occasionally the special effects are thrown on to the vocals (“Mo-ped, mo-ped, mo-ped”) to hilarious effect.
“Girl” also has a laughably large catalog of hooks.
Co-writer Butch Walker also produced “Girls All The Bad Guys Want.” His recording and add-on skills lend it a crisp, technically perfect sound. It’s meant to be cranked up loud and proud, say at a backyard party on a warm spring night, especially if your backyard is a mile away from anyone else’s.
The delectable Lindy Christopher is “The Girl” in the video that catapulted the number into fame and, as Reddick said, it saved the band’s career, which had been foundering for a few years after their hot beginnings in the mid/late-’90s.
The lyrics stand up to the battering music without blinking. Their strength lies in the details of a specific time in America, bringing into full focus the music of the late-’80s into the early aughts, and the period’s exurban fashion with mustaches, mullets, and Trans Ams. There is a funny nod to the revival of whacked out wrestling shows, and an accurate portrayal of the general feeling for the times. This detail extends to “The Girl’s” name, a poke at the never-ending quest for so-called creativity in naming children of the Millennial generation.
8 o’clock, Monday night and I’m waitin’
To finally talk to a girl a little cooler than me
Her name is Nona, she’s a rocker with a nose ring
She wears a two way, but
I’m not quite sure what that means
But, but, but…”Girl All The Bad Guys Want” is also an ode to lusty infatuation, and a narration of a boy’s quest for the unattainable:
And when she walks
All the wind blows
and the angels sing
She doesn’t notice me
As romantic and aw-shucks as the refrain sounds, the listener is never entirely certain if a colossal goof is being pulled.
It’s like a bad movie
She is lookin’ through me
If you were me, then you’d be
Screamin’ “Someone shoot me!”
As I fail miserably
Tryin’ to get the girl all the bad guys want
She’s the girl all the bad guys want!
The last line is repeated multiple times in a nice Beatlesque harmony soar, and for just a minute you think the Fabs have come back to life in every sense. The song is booking, really moving, and is as polished a product as Rock ever turned out.
There follows a wrenching tempo change, which both pays homage and satirizes “London Calling” by The Clash, one of the pioneering groups of Punk and New Wave. Bowling For Soup seems to be saying, “Look, Ma, no hands, anyone can execute the timeless Clash riffing.”
The differences between “The Girl” and the singer of the song are played to the hilt using their choices in music.
She likes the Godsmack
and I like Agent Orange
Her CD changer’s full of singers
that are mad at their dad
As the song ends – before we are treated to the rousing chorus once again – the truth comes out, the core adolescent truth, with several head jerks: to the Indie anthem, “There She Goes Again,” or possibly The Velvet Underground’s song of the same title; Madonna-inspired couture; white Rastas and the national mania for pills.
There she goes again
With fishnets on, and dreadlocks in her hair
She broke my heart, I wanna be sedated
All I wanted was to see her naked!
Maybe Rock-N-Roll’s star shines with a diminished luster, but “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” kicks some serious butt, calls on the form’s collective past – from roots music to the golden age to sparse Punk arrangements. If you’ve got a sense of humor to go along with your sense of rhythm, “Girl” shouldn’t be missed.
- The next stop on this express train is Butch Walker’s authoritative Neo-Punk/T-Rex send-up rocker, “Hot Girls In Good Moods.” (See third video, above left.)
- Reddick is a very funny guy with a keen eye for detail. He tells this story: “The one I get asked about the most about is a song called ‘Running From Your Dad,’ and that is a real story, but it didn’t actually happen to me. I was there, and I did see a guy get chased away by a girl’s father with a shovel.”