Sep 10, 2012

Monday Music Duel #12: Maneater

Vanessa Amorosi was the surprise winner of last week's Monday Music Duel, beating out Collective Soul five votes to two.

This week, I'm a little delirious with a bad headcold, and whacked out on cold & flu medication. So you'll have to forgive me if my adventures in early 80s smooth synth-and-sax and mid-2000s dirty grooves get a little bit off the wall.

Maneater by Hall & Oates

There were these two guys back in the 70s and 80s called Hall & Oates, and apparently they were SUPER famous. Like, bigger than Jesus famous. Only one of them had the righteous Jesus moustache though. I think that was Oates. He doesn't feature as prominently in this song as the blond one, which is think is Hall. Anyway, the point is, Blondie & Righteous Mo had a lot of hit songs for some reason that I don't really understand except for the fact it was 1982 and everyone liked tacky music and mullets.

This song is all about a woman who will "only come out at night/the lean and hungry type". And no, she's not a supermodel, she's a MANEATER. Although I guess there's no reason why she couldn't be a supermodel, I guess. I mean, she'd have to be fairly good-looking to be the subject of such desire from Blondie and The Other One.  It's rare for any man to sing a song about a woman who isn't hot in some way. Sorry, but ugly chicks don't really get the tributes they deserve in pop music. It's unfair, frankly. There's no reason a non-supermodel couldn't be a maneater. Just ask all those trolls on the internet; they hate all women.

Anyway, Blondie is getting all into the groove about this woman, issuing a warning to any blokes foolish enough to go near her that "so many have paid to see/what you think you're getting for free". Then he refers to her as "a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar".  THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. Is she the cat, or is she tamed by a cat? And surely the whole point of a maneater is that she ISN'T tamed? Like, what's the go, Blondie? Did you put that lyric in just so you could have a jaguar in the video clip?

There's a second verse too, something about "beauty is there, but a beast is in the heart", but most of the song is taken up with that earworm of a chorus "Woah here she comes/Watch out boy she'll chew you up/Woah here she comes/She's a maneater". It's interspersed with evocative saxophone music - because sax sells.

This is the kind of song I imagine men in the early 80s would dance to by swaying from side to side, and clumsily clicking their fingers to the beat, while wearing exactly the same kind of high-panted, long-jacketed suit that Blondie is wearing in the video clip. Speaking of the video clip, how's Hairy Face guy's cheesy mugging-to-the-camera on those "Woah here she comes" bits? It's topped only by his little solo "Woooo" note near the end. But who were all those other band members? I thought it was just Blondie and Curly Mullet Dude.

Maneater by Nelly Furtado

Back at the turn of the century, Nelly Furtado was this quirky young Canadian who sang about being like a bird, who only flies away, and doesn't know where her home is. Then she seemed to disappear, only to resurface in 2006 as a sexy pop/hip-hop pouter with the album Loose.

One of her hit singles was Maneater, and Nelly apparently was listening to a lot of Hall & Oates when she penned this electropop number. It explains the synth (albeit a more modern, grungier sound), and is probably about as sophisticated lyrically: "Come on everybody, what you here for?/Move your body around like a nympho". I thought at first Nelly was referring to someone else as the maneater, but having read up on the song and watched the video clip again, I realise she's referring to herself, but an exaggerated maneating version of herself, who becomes said maneater due to attention and self-confidence from dancing in an underground club full of vampires and fire.

It's meta.

I like this song mostly for it's dirty bass line and it's pumping chorus: "Maneater, make you work hard, make you spend hard/Make you want all of her love/ She's a maneater, make you buy cars, make you cut cards/ Make you fall real hard in love". It's not genius, but it's fun and funky, and sure, yeah, I might dance to it and think I'm a bit of a maneater myself, WHAT OF IT.

Verdict: Ummm, Nelly Furtado. No reason. Also: pseudoephedrine does crazy things.


  1. I want to know both how Matthew Lillard managed to travel backwards through time to appear in that Hall and Oates video and also how he managed to grow that goatie beard.

  2. Hall & Oates had a lot of hits back in the day because Bryan Adams hadn't been invented yet. As for tributes to ugly chicks, how about this 1930s ditty:

  3. Nelly by a smidge.
    Tough choice. Down to the video, both good to listen to but prefer the Nelly video. And not just because it has bouncy bits. They are always a bonus but it is more visually interesting.

  4. For someone battling blurry brain cells, your reviews were excellent, and for that reason alone I vote this week. I don't like either song much, but will go with Nelly because I like some of her other stuff. Not the bird stuff, but.