High School Confidential (Rough Trade song)


High School Confidential (Rough Trade song)

Infobox Single
Name =High School Confidential


Cover size =
Border =
Caption =
Artist =Rough Trade
Album =Avoid Freud
B-side ="Grade B Movie"
Released =1980
Format =7", 45rpm
Recorded =
Genre =
Length =3:26
Label =True North TN4-159
Writer =Carole Pope, Kevan Staples
Producer =Gene Martynec
Audio sample? =
Certification =
Last single ="What's the Furor about the Führer?"
(1980)
This single ="High School Confidential"
(1980)
Next single ="All Touch"
(1981)
Misc =
"High School Confidential" is a song by Canadian new wave band Rough Trade, from their 1980 album "Avoid Freud" [http://www.laventure.net/tourist/rt_disc.htm Rough Trade discography] . The band's breakthrough Top 40 hit in Canada, it remains their most famous song.

The song's producer was Gene Martynec, who won the Juno Award for Producer of the Year for his work on "High School Confidential" and Bruce Cockburn's "Tokyo". It was written by the band's main songwriting team, Carole Pope and Kevan Staples. (Some references incorrectly credit Jerry Lee Lewis and Ron Hargrave as the songwriters, but the Rough Trade song is "not" a cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis song of the same name.)

Although the song uses the title of the 1958 film "High School Confidential", as well as references which suggest that the song is set in a similar time frame, the lyrics do not strongly resemble the film's drug-related plot.

Instead, the song's narrator is a student observing a sexy female classmate, a "cool blonde scheming bitch" whose activities suggest that she may be having sexual relations with adult men, including the high school principal. The narrator compares the classmate to sex symbols of the era, including Mamie Van Doren, Anita Ekberg and Dagmar, and reveals their own unrequited lust for her: in one of the most famous lyrics from the song, Pope sings "It makes me cream my jeans when she comes my way".

The lyrics never explicitly state the narrator's own gender, so they may be read either as Pope speaking from a male perspective, or as a reference to lesbianism. In a 2000 interview with "Eye Weekly", Pope confirmed that while she intended the lyric from her own perspective as a lesbian, the ambiguity was intentional: "The general public didn't get that I was gay — if you were gay you did — and when I wrote love songs, I wanted them to be interpreted however. The thing is, I really, really love men — straight men are very sexy as long as, you know, they don't try — and I think that comes across in my songs. Rock 'n' roll is about desire and passion, and I'm singing to both sexes." [ [http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_11.23.00/music/pope.html] "Rough Trade confidential", "Eye Weekly", November 23, 2000.]

Popular impact

At the time of its release, it was one of the most sexually explicit songs ever to reach the Canadian pop charts, and despite the gender ambiguity, the first with such strong lesbian overtones.

Although controversial, the song was a Top 10 hit, peaking at #8 on the CHUM Chart [ [http://www.1050chum.com/index_chumcharts.aspx?chart=1272] CHUM Chart, May 30, 1981] . However, some radio stations refused to play the song, and others played a censored version with some of the most controversial lyrics removed. (The band's subsequent hit "Crimes of Passion", which included an explicit verse about a gay male couple, also faced similar controversy.)

Merrill Nisker (now known by her stage name "Peaches") covered the song on her 1995 album "Fancypants Hoodlum".

In 2004, the band Lesbians on Ecstasy released "The Pleasure Principal", a response song in which the high school's principal calls Pope to the office to discuss Pope's obsession with her classmate.

In 2005, "High School Confidential" was named the 38th greatest Canadian song of all time on the CBC Radio One series "".

"Queer as Folk"

In 2000, Pope recorded a new version of "High School Confidential" for the television series "Queer as Folk", with the lyrics altered to reflect a gay male perspective: "He's a cool blond scheming trick...He's a combination Tom Cruise-Zack O'Toole". (Zack O'Toole was a fictional porn star in "QAF", played by Matthew G. Taylor.)

This version appears on the show's first season soundtrack album.

References


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