On my way home from work today, the song “Lady Willpower” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap came on the radio. I was jamming along, as you do, when I was struck by duel realizations. 1) Every time I hear that band’s name, I say to myself, “Gary Puckett and the Anion Gap! Haha! Someday I will share my hilarity with the world.” Like, I think it’s pretty funny, but let’s call a spade a spade here: it’s a lab values joke. And I’ve been making it to myself, consistently, for years. 2) The lyrics to “Lady Willpower” are vaguely threatening, and the concept of the song roughly translates to, “You’d better fuck me now, because I’m tired of waiting.” I’ve been singing along to this song for years, since I was just a young girl in the wilds of central Massachusetts, and that sinister undercurrent never occurred to me before. If you watch the aforelinked video, you’ll notice that dude’s eyes are sort of…rapey. They make you want to say, “No, Mr. Puckett, I will not let you give me yours.”
Reflecting upon this, I thought about some of the other hits in Puckett’s catalogue. Obviously there’s “Young Girl”, which is more blatantly pervy but always struck me as okay because, like, he’s turning her down! He’s not going there! But then if you listen a little more closely, you notice that he has actually already hit that, and “now” it hurts to know the truth. Hm. Later in the song he desperately implores his own personal Dolores Haze to leave “before I change my mind”. Woah there, stallion! Are you a gentleman or aren’t you? You aren’t. Maybe this could have been overlooked back in the sixties, in the era of free love and whatnot, but if you watch this video you’ll see that Puckett is still singing this song today, only now he’s all old and has a bouffant and it’s that much more unsettling. Apparently at some point he stopped worrying about how Young the Girl was and penned “This Girl is a Woman Now,” possibly the ickiest ode to taking a chick’s virginity I’ve ever heard. “She cried a single tear?” The hell? There’s not supposed to be any crying in sex, Puckett…unless you’re, you know, doing it with a “baby in disguise.” And let us recall, Gary, that I am someone who recently publicly defended Roman Polanski…and even I think you’re gross.
I could go on, but I’ll leave on this note: “Woman, Woman” is the same goddamn melody as “Young Girl”…but it does appear to be about someone who at least has grass on the field.