Single Review: Cyndi Lauper “She Bop”

She Bop
Album: She’s So Unusual
Year: 1984

For the longest time, I thought “She Bop” was about going to a sock hop dance. According to Cyndi Lauper’s official site, I was supposed to think that. From the site: “she wanted little kids to think it was about dancing, and to understand the real meaning as they got older.”

And I was fooled until a couple years ago. When I read online that it was actually about masturbation, I thought the poster was making it up. But then I listened to it and makes a lot more sense.

Guarded guitars and a sly whistle open the single. It leads to the classic, prowling drum and synthesizer beat. Lauper is flipping through a Blue Boy magazine (a real magazine, by the way and issues from the 80s can be bought online for almost $80.) Blue Boy is like Maxim but for women. She salivates over the pictures of the tanned, muscled men pouting and begins to get to turned on. (“We-hell-I see them every night in tight blue jeans/In the pages of a blue boy magazine/Hey I’ve been thinking of a new sensation/I’m picking up good vibration/Oop she bop.”)

As she masturbates, she wonders if she wants to have a hearty orgasm and scream her lungs out. After she says “lion’s roar,” the sound effect of a lion roaring can be heard. She continues to get there faster. She references the myth that it can cause her to go blind. Lauper winks at the myth and rebels against her religion’s stance on it. (“Do I wanna go out with a lion’s roar/Huh, yea, I wanna go south ‘n get me some more/Hey, they say that a stitch in time saves nine/They say I better stop–or I’ll go blind/Oop she bop, she bop.”)

In the chorus she defends her position, saying every guy and girl does it, including friends and family. She’s not ashamed but wishes that God will see her point of view. (“She bop–he bop–a–we bop/I bop–you bop–a–they bop/Be bop–be bop–a–lu–she bop/I hope He will understand/She bop–he bop–a–we bop/I bop–you bop–a–they bop/Be bop–be bop–a–lu–she bop/Oo–oo–she–do–she bop–she bop.”)

The sly whistle returns again before the second verse.

Her parents have found out about her frequent masturbating and now are threatening to make sure she’s not alone. She doesn’t care, though. She’s not doing anything that will get arrested. (“Hey, hey–they say I better get a chaperone/Because I can’t stop messin’ with the danger zone/No, I won’t worry, and I won’t fret/Ain’t no law against it yet/Oop–she bop–she bop.”)

The chorus is sung twice and then a hairspray can is clicked to end the single.

A fear of sexuality permeates throughout the clever single. Lauper’s parents have taught her those feelings are wrong and should be repressed. Her budding sexual desires cause her to question her beliefs and develop her own opinons. As she discovers her sexuality, she realizes it’s nothing to be afraid of nor is it rephrensible. By the end, she is a bolder person and has started to break away from her religion and parents’ rules.

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