Look, it’s a messy job, but somebody has to do it. And if nobody else is going to do it, well I’ll just do it myself then shall I?
I’m talking, of course, about listing every gay innuendo in the lyrics of Joe McElderry’s debut album Wide Awake. Because even the most casual listen to it reveals astonishing, gratifying levels of poofy filth.
Looking at my 2010 calendar (hello JB!), Syco had some time to consider the options, between Joe’s closet being chopped down around him by a big hacky axe (“bravely coming out”) in July and the album release in late October. What would they do, would they gay things up, would they make things a bit more abstract?
Well it sounds like they did both. Just as Joe himself exists, publicly, in a non-threatening sexless borderland (“Ooh naw I’ve only ever kissed one boy, nothing dirty!”, etc etc), so does the album teeter between getting on with the hardcore bumming and drawing a discreet veil over it. The very conditions, my friends, in which innuendo flourishes. And oh boy is there a lot of innuendo on this album. Let’s get on with it:
“If it’s me that was going to take it, then I know that it wouldn’t be straight”
And this in his big launch single too.
“I’m more than a bird”
I’ll bet you are.
“Fall upon my knees, find a way to lie”
One physical or moral position at a time, Joe!
“Men weren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees”
“Looking for special things inside of me”
“Oh my God, if I was somebody you’d be kissing my ass right now, but I’m so polite – I do it all of the time.”
All of the time?
“Day by day I wonder, if I will be torn asunder.”
So elegant. So graphic. My favourite from this list.
Until The Stars Run Out:
“I am great at being in love, not so great at being out.”
Feel The Fire:
“Down in the basement, there’s a light that shines.”
I hope it’s a low-energy, long-life bulb you’ve got down there Joe.
“Something’s got me burning up inside.”
“I can feel it deep inside of me, something primal.”
“The urge for the surge, of the power of inside”
“Somehow you come along, just like a flower poking through the sidewalk crack.”
Flowers, cracks, poking. I rest my case. As Joe should do too, he must be exhausted after all that.
If you weren’t keeping count, that’s a massive 14 innuendos over the course of an 11-track album. 1.27 innuendos per song. Amazing.