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mg

take my ear worm, please

by mg at 11:59 PM on May 24, 2002

For someone born in the latter half of the 1970s, Iíve always had this immense love for music first sung in the years before I could talk. Iíve always considered the Beatles, Van Morrison, Velvet Underground, and Joni Mitchell (and etcÖ) to be as relevant in my life as just about anything released during my teenage years.

Well, for some reason Brand New Key by Melanie has always been one of my favorite 70s pop tunes. But I couldnít name a single other song she sings. On those rare occasions I'd stumble across Brand New Key (which, shockingly, hasn't been turned into a Burger King commercial yet), I rock out hard. And then I immediately forget about it.

Recently I've been learning about this band called Rasputina. They have this all female, all cello, goth/rock thing going. As Iíve mentioned on more than one occasion, I've got a thing for chick bass players. Well, I've got an even bigger thing for female cello players. There is nothing more attractive than a chick playing the cello.

Rasputina, in addition to their own great material, do this phenomenal cover of the Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties. They also do a great version of Brand New Key, which is what has sparked my current obsession with the song.

If you've never heard of Melanie, I cant't blame you. She was a one hit wonder if ever there was one. Still, Melanie's career has spanned more than 20 years (with a strange period in the 80s as a sought after TV theme composer - she was responsible for the theme to Beauty and the Beast).

Brand New Key is a song you've surely heard, if only on the AM radio in your parent's old Chevy. And if you haven't heard it, you should seek it out now. Melanie has got a sweet, powerful voice, with just a tinge of Janis Joplin. ďBrand New Key hit number one on the U.S. charts while on its way to becoming a million seller; thanks to its not-so-subtle sexual undertones, the song became a kind of Ďiní dirty joke in some circles, and was even censored on some radio stations, but it also made Melanie one of the top-selling artists of the year 1971." (via AMG)

Here is the chorus:

Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates You got a brand new key I think that we should get together and try them out you see I been looking around awhile You got something for me Oh! I got a brand new pair of roller skates You got a brand new key

I don't quite see the sexual innuendo, but I can be quite dense that way sometimes. Check out all the lyrics for yourself, and maybe you can explain it to me.

You may remember the song made it's way into Boogie Nights as Roller Girlís theme. If it wasnít sexual before, I think that managed to wrap it up, tighter than Japanese condom on Preakness winner. Damn, with a naked, roller-skated, porn-star Heather Graham involved even a colonoscopy could be sexy.

comments (12)

I have a lot more respect for you now, mg. My fave 70's not-so-subtle sexual undertones song was Maria Muldaur's, "It's Not the Meat, It's the Motion". That was pure Bazima before Bazima's time. Of course, radio stations banned it. They didn't mind playing all kinds of "You Need Lovin'" male-sex-fantasy rock, but we females weren't supposed to understand the innuendoes, I guess--and certainly not to comment artistically on the 'equipment'.

by lavonne at May 25, 2002 10:15 PM


[trying again and hoping your comments work now....]

I have a lot more respect for you now, mg. My fave 70's not-so-subtle sexual undertones song was Maria Muldaur's, "It's Not the Meat, It's the Motion". That was pure Bazima before Bazima's time. Of course, radio stations banned it. They didn't mind playing all kinds of "You Need Lovin'" male-sex-fantasy rock, but we females weren't supposed to understand the innuendoes, I guess--and certainly not to comment artistically on the 'equipment'.

by lavonne at May 26, 2002 3:22 PM


oops.

by lavonne at May 26, 2002 3:22 PM


I'm going to see Rasputina play here in a couple weeks. Yay for nutty goth chicks!

by Shar at May 26, 2002 4:00 PM


The problem with the comments came from my MT upgrade. It did something weird. Fixed now, obviously.

People talk about how much more sexual entertainment has gotten, but I think, for each generation, the stuff the kids are listening too is always more sexual than the things the parents were listening too. And, for music coming out of the 60s-70s, must of that is just as, or raunchier that anything in pop music today, they just weren't quite so obvious about it.

by mg at May 27, 2002 7:06 PM


I feel cool. I heard about Rasputina multiple years ago.

by snaggle at May 28, 2002 12:11 PM


My favorite Melanie song is Lay Down (Candles in the Rain), but you may never have heard it, as it came out in 1970 and doesn't sound like a commercial jingle. I wanted to be a hippie so badly, but I was 9 during the "summer of love", and wasn't getting much action.

by wKen at May 28, 2002 2:06 PM


Aside from the clear sexual indications of a key fitting into a hole, WHILE saying "You've got something for me" THe new rollerskates could be interpreted as an indication of virginity...

Let's see :
"Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

As in she goes all the way....


"I think that we should get together and try them out you see"

One of the cheesiest pickup lines, perhaps better seen in a bar...

"I been looking around awhile"

More support for viginity... She's choosy...

"I'm okay alone, but you've got something I need"

Heh heh, Flying solo sucks compared to having a partner....

by Yer Kidding Right? at July 7, 2002 3:35 PM


hi
i am from venice califorina and i am 15. i have one question about this song. i read somewhere on the internet that janis joplin stole this song from her and then sang it as it was her orignal song. i dicided to downloaded and indeed she does sign this song. being a huge fan of janis this mad me mad and i just wondered do you know anything about this lilttle misunderstanding?
- sara

by sara watson at May 3, 2003 11:41 PM


Sara, and all the other people who reach this page via search referals, Melanie wrote and performed "Brand New Key." Not Janis Joplin. As far as I know, Janis never even performed a version of this song. Actually, I'd say I was 99.99% sure that Janis never performed, much less even heard a "Brand New Key" considering she was already dead by the time this song was released. If you go on Kazaa or whatever and you see a version of this song as sung by Janis, it is not real. It is just a mislabeled version of the Melanie recording.

by mg at May 4, 2003 12:10 AM


Poo

by jimbob at August 6, 2005 10:00 PM


This song was also covered by Deana Carter a few years ago...which was the first time I ever heard it. I thought of it as more of a stalker's theme song.

by Roger at October 1, 2005 7:59 PM



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