Lyrical Dissection

"Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys: Reading Between the Lines

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Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 3:15 AM
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As we've already written, "baby music" sucks, and should be avoided, but that doesn't mean you can play your kid just anything.

After hearing that our friend's 4-year-old got suspended for dropping an f-bomb, we decided to rethink our tyke's Young Jeezy records.

So the Beach Boys were a compromise; Junior loves the timeless ditties, and Daddy digs them too.

But after hearing "Fun Fun Fun" for the hundredth time I began to wonder: What the hell is that song all about?

Well she got her daddy's car

And she cruised through the hamburger stand now

Seems she forgot all about the library

Like she told her old man now

This track comes from another era, when things like "hamburger stands" and "libraries" still existed, and children were inclined to politely ignore their parents' instructions, rather than telling them to shove it up your ass because you're not the boss of me.

And with the radio blasting

Goes cruising just as fast as she can now

I've never been to a hamburger stand before, but cruising through one at breakneck speeds seems both unsafe and a poor way to acquire hamburgers.

And she'll have fun, fun, fun

'Til her daddy takes the T-Bird away

A T-Bird, one presumes, was a V-16 American car circa the 1950s and 1960s, one city block long, with fins as big as actual dolphins.

Well the girls can't stand her

'Cause she walks, looks, and drives like an ace now

Then as now, women are disinclined to root for a person of their own sex with stunning looks, an enviable gait and ferocious driving abilities. Danica Patrick, for example, is rarely invited to bachelorette parties.

She makes the Indy 500 look like the Roman chariot race now

Not familiar with either of these references.

A lotta guys try to catch her

But she leads them on a wild goose chase now

Back in the mid-20th century, middle-class families commonly dined on "goose," a popular poultry delicacy. Those who could afford it preferred free-range or even "wild" goose, but, as the farmers knew, catching one wasn't easy.

Well you knew all along

That your dad was gettin' wise to you now

Leading men on; imitating wild fowl; piloting a 10-ton killing machine through outdoor eateries crammed with underfed youth; these are all things that fathers eventually find out about.

And since he took your set of keys

You've been thinking that your fun is all through now

Understandable. That web site where people attribute sensitive, wryly-seductive quotes to Ryan Gosling is decades away.

But you can come along with me

'Cause we gotta a lot of things to do now

And we'll have fun, fun, fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away

Said fun has something to do with necking, that mid-century teen practice involving stashed chewing gum, turned down turtlenecks, smeared lipstick, and subsequent weeks of shame. Every so often, when a truly amoral lady was involved, it produced a baby, although the social services of the early Johnson era were so discreet that even the other girls on the cheerleading team never knew. Fun!

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