“I’m only seventeen,
I’ll show you love,
Like you’ve never seen.”
She’s only seventeen,
Daddy says she’s too young,
But she’s old enough for me.
— Winger – “Seventeen”
I’ve heard a lot of music in my 40+ years. Some of it good, some of it bad. Some of it that can bring you to tears, some of it that makes you feel like you could charge head first into a brick wall and blow right through it without a scratch. I’ve heard lyrics that are funny and sad, poignant and stupid, classy and gross and juvenile. I’ve heard songs that are flat out disgusting and even a few that are downright offensive.
But god damn man, Winger’s “Seventeen” takes the cake for the creepiest lyrics of all time.
Now look, I bought a copy of Winger’s self-titled debut when it came out in 1988. And frankly I don’t apologize for it – while “Seventeen” may be beyond creepy, it’s a catchy tune that was all over the radio, and I was awfully close to being 17 years old myself at the time. Kip Winger, however, was something like 27 when that song blew up and made his band a household name. And a 27-year-old dude singing about naughty 17-year-old girls… that’s a bit much. Daddy says she’s too young / But she’s old enough for me. C’mon bro, that’s just creepy as hell.
Now to be fair to poor Kip, who will never live down that his biggest hit was about statutory rape, KISS actually beat him to the punch about 11 years earlier with absurd “Christine Sixteen,” a song that is about EXACTLY what you think it is. BUT. In the KISS song it’s basically a guy who is a perv talking about a 16-year-old girl he’s desperate for – I’ve got to have her / Can’t live without her. It’s creepy, but not next-level creepy. In the Winger song, though, the girl is aware of the whole age thing and playing on it, and even though the dude in the song knows she’s 17 and that that’s too young, he’s going to do what he’s going to do anyway (or at least try to).
A buddy of mine dropped off a big box of old tapes and singles the other day, and this 7″ was part of that material. We actually laughed about the absurdity of this song, since we both had the album back in the day and “Seventeen” is the only Winger song each of us could even remember. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to play this as part of my Crosley series.
The B side is a song called “Poison Angel” that, shockingly, is also about a chick. Fortunately this time we’re spared any mention of the woman’s age.
I just wish the song wasn’t so damn catchy…