Conor Maynard’s Can’t Say No is one of the year’s most startling hits. Over a thunderous, buzzing bassline, Conor sings that whenever he sees a girl, and he makes it clear that it happens every time – at parties, in the street, anywhere – they get his engines turning and send his ‘rocket to the sky’. It’s getting him into trouble, he says. I’m sure it is.
Now priapism is a serious medical condition, so it made for an interesting song. But when I saw the tracklisting for Conor’s debut album Contrast, out this week, I was quite alarmed. Following on from this first rocket-themed hit was not only a song called Lift Off but also one called Take Off. Is the whole thing a concept album about the metaphorical adventures of his wayward penis-rocket?
Yes it is.
In the opening track Animal, Conor immediately sings about losing his self control when a girl touches him. ‘Grab me by the neck and don’t you ever let go / Mess me up so good until I’m begging for more,’ he pleads. That’s one handjob down before we’re even at the second verse.
The space travel theme first rears its head in Turn Around, in which he and Ne-Yo find themselves floating high above the ground. ‘Our home is the sky now!’ they tell us, and yes, I’ve already established that whenever two stars duet they’re singing to each other and not to some imaginary third party. ‘Turn around,’ Conor implores a full twenty times while they’re bobbing around in the ether, compared to a mere two from Ne-Yo – in the battle for who’s going to be top it seems Ne-Yo’s quite literally a pushover.
The penis-powered aerial propulsion continues in Lift Off in which Conor boasts ‘I wonder why they say, the limit is the sky… Who says we need a plane?’ This track also provides an opportunity to imagine the outpouring of his special fluid as he muses ‘My wine would be sweet if you were my grape!’ If you would enjoy picturing Conor bashing away at his lady-friend’s grape to make wine, bear in mind he doesn’t specify whether he’ll be using the natural method, in which the yeast already present in the grape starts off the fermentation, or the sterile method, in which he’d use a sulphite to kill off any moulds or bacteria on her fruit but would need to add his own yeast. Just remember to pull off the stalk Conor!
The poor lad’s exhausted by the time we get to Mary Go Round, and probably getting quite sore too – he wants to get off Mary’s ride but she keeps on rotating away and, apparently, turning him upside down. Still, re-invigorated for Take Off, he reveals that his penis is now a roller-coaster (!) which goes so hard that it takes off (!!) and puts his latest conquest firstly in the mile-high club (!!!) and then above the atmosphere itself (!!!!)
After all these mechanical and jet-powered penises it’s a relief when the final phallic reference, in Another One, has the elegant simplicity of ‘She said she wanna peel my banana’. Conor and his friend go off to a cabana for the unsheathing and at last that’s an end of it. It’s been a long and gruelling adventure for his extraordinary organ and I think we’d all agree it’s time for a good night’s sleep.