22 March 2013

The Sweater

This brings back memories of student days, and is a reminder that so few pop songs are actually allowed to be funny. Canadian singer Meryn Cadell's jaunty spoken-word teenage heartbreak-themed 'The Sweater' from 1991's Angel Food For Thought perfectly encapsulates the parabolic curve of adolescent infatuation and the lightning-fast gossip transmission system that serves every high school in existence. It also sports a delightful punchline. Wikipedia reckons the backing music is sampled (vari-speeded) from Syd Dale's gently sassy 'Walk & Talk'. I picked up my copy of Cadell's CD (the first of three albums, actually) in the now-defunct Marbecks shop in Queen's Arcade in Auckland in 1991 or 1992, and still have it somewhere in storage. Seeing this video again makes me want to listen to its intriguing mix of songs and performance art again. Interestingly, Cadell later transitioned from female to male and lectured in creative writing at the University of British Columbia (although apparently not any more) and still contributes to a steering group for a critical studies in sexuality course, amongst his other work.

Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it, or is a funny colour like yellow – I'm sorry you can't get away with a sweater like that. Look for brown or grey or blue. Anything other than that and you know you're dealing with someone who's different. And different is not what you're looking for. 
- Meryn Cadell, 'The Sweater', 1991

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