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Bad Girls and Killer Queens: Hookers in Pop Music

Freddie Mercury delivering one of his most famous quotes.

Songwriters seem to love sex workers, no matter how little they may actually know about us. And on a superficial level, we seem like pretty good song material. We’re sexual, illegal, naughty, and easy to desire and pity at the same time. You want to protect us from the dirty men who pay us for sex, yet you secretly still kind of want it for yourself (see “Roxanne,” below).

Hookers provide instant layers of emotional complexity. Throw one in your song, and viola: an edgy, sexy hit single, depressing and tantalizing all at once. (If you find the hooker-heroine of your song isn’t pitiful enough, just add drugs and that should balance things out.) Charlotte and I sifted through some sex worker songs and rated them, 1-10 based on how obnoxious or pleasing they are to hear if you’re an actual sex worker.

We’d love to hear from readers too, on what songs make you smile or cringe. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Stripper Music Monday: Lydia

Zappa says that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. What few people realize is that normally I AM dancing about architecture, so I’m going to give the talking about music thing a shot.

Hi. My name is Lydia, and I’m from the Midwest. I’ve been honing my music folder in the same club for eight years and a few weeks. By the end of my first night my manager had nixed all instrumental music from my auditory arsenal forever (goodbye Amon Tobin). By the end of the first week I’d learned the hard way that Iggy’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog” was out too. In fact, anything produced and recorded in a manner that didn’t take up enough sound space was out (I still love you, Violent Femmes). Bass. Drums. In my manager’s words: stuff guys recognize, stuff they can sing along to. I spent some time fighting that, a lot of time dancing to “#1 Crush,” and a lot of time being completely fucking confused about how to bring my idea of music for a perfect strip club and the perfect music for my strip club together in a happy marriage of loving-the-one-you’re-with.

Stripper Music Monday: Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” Is A Girls’ Club

pouritup2Big news this week! Pop superstar extraordinaire Rihanna has changed careers. She’s finally going to pursue her true passion.

Rihanna became a stripper.

Stripper Music Monday: “Gorilla”

This is how it's done, ladies. (Image via the Tear Off Your Shirt Like Hulk Hogan Facebook page)
This is how it’s done, ladies. (Image via the Tear Off Your Shirt Like Hulk Hogan Facebook page)

Another day, another strip club in a music video that’s too good to be true. Then again, unlike Rihanna’s “Pour It Up,”  this one is actually too bad to be true. Today, we bring you Bruno Mars’s video for his new single, “Gorilla.” Apparently Mars and the director, Cameron Duddy, did an “exhaustive amount of research,” and determined that regular strip clubs are just too boring.  Duddy said, on record, that they would visit a club and have “one drink and leave.”

Gee, thanks guys. 

Stripper Music Monday: It’s Initiation Time

Welcome to the club! (image via flickr user dustout)
Welcome to the club! (image via flickr user dustout)

Starting a new club is never easy. You have to contend with the management, the staff, and a whole new crowd of customers. It takes a while, but eventually you adapt to the new atmosphere. So long as you make it through the initiationthe unspoken way a tight group of strippers sometimes try to break the new girl in. Try to not to take it personally. Use the music you dance to as a passive-aggressive tool to protect yourselfand impress everyone in the process. Here’s how I do it.

Once I feel comfortable at my new club, I’ll begin requesting changes to my setlists. The retaliation begins when dancers giggle and request a couple of my freshly incorporated tracks into their stage sets during our shift together, as if it will get a rise out of me the way it riles them up, seeing stacks thrown at another dancer “ruining their song.” You know, “Pussy Liquor.” Their song.

When this situation occurs, I wait for my eyes to return to their proper position post-roll and gather songs from these dancers’ elementary school days, ensuring that they either don’t know them, or would never think to request them because it’s much too difficult to pout at yourself in the mirror as they’re played. The following list contains songs that aren’t necessarily obscure—but if the club DJ still used vinyl or CDs, these tracks’ albums would be the ones covered in dust.