For Unlawful Carnal Composition: The Starting Line- “Bedroom Talk”

TSL_Based_on_a_True_Story

When a young Kenny Vasoli, bassist and lead singer of Pennsylvania pop-punk mainstays The Starting Line sang the words “I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married,” parents of the band’s teen and tween fans were sent into a seething rage. Granted, those lyrics, which led the chorus of “Bedroom Talk,” came from more than a bit out of left field when compared to the band’s previous writing. Vasoli snapped back, addressing a scathing letter to those self-righteous parents, asserting that it was more than perfectly reasonable for a 20-year old dude to have finally had sex, and then decided to sing about it in his rock band. I was a huge fan of The Starting Line throughout my college years, so I was privy to their lyrics about broken relationships, falling in love, and the general angst that becomes your companion as you grow up.

I got the talk when I was younger
And understood as I recall,
they hadn’t mentioned this at all.
My heart was racing like a sprinter
That tripped and fell
In love with a girl just for tonight and that’s all

“Bedroom Talk,” a demo version of which first appeared on a joint Drive-Thru/Rushmore Records sampler in 2005, is about “the talk,” which all parents at some point presumably give to their hormone-crazed teenagers. The lyrics relate the confusion that enshrouds your first full-blown sexual encounter – what you’re supposed to do, how it’s supposed to feel based on what you’ve heard from others or seen in the movies, and how to tell if it was even good.

I’ve got big, big plans
And they’ve got to mean something more
than just once
I just don’t know what I want

Vasoli, in his unique rasp, sings about his plans that are to follow this first romp in the sack, as well as about his desire for it to not be a one-hit wonder. A very relatable thought, indeed, as I would imagine most people want their first time to special, and for it to be with someone they love.

I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married
And you’re all mine now
Tonight is the night we’ve been waiting for all our lives
Or maybe for just tonight

The chorus, above, starts off with that shocking line, reminiscent of a snarling dog being let off a leash. From there it goes on to toe the line between forever and one-night stand, and it could go either way.

I got the call when I was older
Yeah and I understood
If it happens then it happens and that’s all
My arms the hose and you’re the fire
Out of control and I’ve got put you out
Before there’s nothing left at all

The next verse delves into the pressure that we place upon ourselves when it comes to popping the proverbial cherry, but Kenny Vasoli puts it into perspective after he gets that fateful call, singing “if it happens then it happens and that’s all,” with a sweet backing harmony behind him on that line (which is disappointingly left of the album version of the song that was released on the band’s 2005 album Based On A True Story). From there it gets steamy, primitive and rather descriptive, as sex is likened to fighting a fire that’s burning out of control.

I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married
And you’re all mine now
Tonight is the night we’ve been waiting for all our lives
Or maybe for just mine
So get your ass up cause you’re in no hurry
like I am now
I’m getting older and older all of the time
or maybe for just tonight

That perspective mentioned above seems to have been lost, at least for the moment, when Vasoli sings “so get your ass up ’cause you’re in no hurry like I am now, I’m getting older and older all of the time.” It’s here that the script flips and he clearly just wants to get the deed done, forgetting the shrugging he did in the last verse.

And the next part is the hardest
To admit and explain but I’ve got to get it right
She said
“I’ll chew you up and spit you out like all them.
I’m gonna put you right back in my mouth, you’re gonna stay like that for now
I will always love you”

In the verse above, Vasoli reveals in no uncertain terms just who he’s dealing with – a girl whose first rodeo this was most certainly not. Experienced, even aggressive, as her line relates, she takes the situation in an intimidating direction.

All in all, the song nails, for lack of a better word, the conflicting, tumultuous emotions that are involved in sex, especially leading up to and during the first time. The music video for the song is posted below. This wraps up the third installment of “For Unlawful Carnal Composition” here at The No Seatbelt Blog. The series will return in two weeks with another analysis of a song about the most basic of human inclinations. Stay tuned!

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