Monday, February 3, 2020

Musical Monday - I've Never Been to Me by Charlene

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of June 26, 1982.

If you think this song sounds like a soft-rock ballad from the 1970s, there is a reason for that: It is. I've Never Been to Me was originally released by Charlene in 1977, at which point it more or less flopped, barely breaking into the top 100 on the charts. The song was later rereleased in 1984, whereupon it hit number three in the U.S. and topped the charts in a couple other countries, including the U.K. This song became the first truly successful Motown single by a white female artist.

To a certain extent, this song is kind of insulting. The song posits a conversation between two women. One is a desperate wife and mother who wants to trade her life for the high-flying rock star life of the singer of the song. The singer then relates several of her life experiences and concludes that she has never been able to find self-fulfillment, concluding 'I've never been to me". The implication of the lyrics is that the housewife is somehow better off than the wealthy singer who has traveled the world and lived what can only be described as a fantasy life. This is the kind of condescending thing that rock stars sometimes do - bemoaning their difficult lives of wealth and privilege while pining for an "ordinary" life that is supposedly more fulfilling. Nothing actually keeps them from choosing the sort of "ordinary" life that they claim to yearn for, but they will still moan and whine about how good it would be if they had it.

I mean, everyone knows that their whining about wanting a "regular" life is just bullshit, but pop singers keep hypocritically trotting it out. The melody is nice though.

Previous Musical Monday: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant
Subsequent Musical Monday: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Charlene     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment