Well hello there, my lovelies! How is your fall going? Got your locker combo down pat yet? Do you still need to cover schoolbooks with paper bags to diminish damage? Personally, I kind of loved doing that — the process itself was annoying, but it always made for a great new canvas to doodle on during class. Some of my best work was probably on my 7th-grade Spanish book, Voces Y Vistas.
Now that we’re in full nostalgia mode, let’s talk about mixtapes. They always had B-Sides. B-Sides could make or break a compilation. Even on records, B-Sides sometimes were more successful than the original song that was primed to be a hit (“I Am the Walrus,” anyone? ) So with that in mind, I’ve put together a solid B-side, full of certified bi bops to add to my first volume. We all need something to get through those harrowing first weeks back in class, right? Here’s what I can do to help.
Please note that in order to do these reviews, I will need to employ SPOILERS. However, the good news is I have left links to all the entries in question, so you can watch/listen for yourself before reading my take on it. And if you need a refresher on what the whole Unicorn Scale is about, feel free to click here and give it a quick read.
Ready? Faboo. The deejay is about done with his intro, so have your fingers ready to hit play/record at the same time... Now!
1. Pete Gardner, “Gettin’ Bi,” Crazy Ex Girlfriend
You don’t need to watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to know the full context (though, hey, why not? It’s stellar on bi representation), but this song comes as a result of the main character’s goofy, benevolent boss realizing he is bi. Not only does he burst into a Huey Lewis-inspired ditty about it, but he takes down most of the major bi stereotypes as he goes. And it’s got all the #BiLighting it can shove into the frame. Plus, it slaps. What more can you want in a bi anthem?
2. Saturday Night Live (Lonely Island/Justin Timberlake), “3-Way (The Golden Rule)”
OK, wait. So. We see these two dinguses immediately after the events of “Motherlover,” so we know they’re into ladies. And then they go straight for the next number in the little black book, discover they’re after the same girl, but are terrified of being labeled as gay in the threesome? Even though at the end they’re the only ones left in bed together? Look, I write comedy. There are so many things that are funny about this video with a catchy Color Me Band throwback feel. But this is not only homophobic, but contains all kinds of bi erasure. Extra painful since bi goddess Lady Gaga is the woman in the threesome sammich.
3. Melissa Etheridge, “I Wanna Come Over”
Here we have what sounds like Melissa seducing a baby bi to leave her apartment and relieve her burning for her. The subject’s lover is gone, and she talked to her friend and put ideas of sin in her brain. This one is more of an interpretation, but I think either 1) the subject is in another relationship and the friend is warning her of adultery, or 2) the subject is newly queer, and the friend is warning her against Biblical law. Considering Etheridge is a lesbian, it seems more likely that the latter was the intended meaning.
However, this isn’t the best bi representation out there. Unless she and her lover were in an open relationship (and there is no mention of that), in her “confusion” the subject is having at the very least an emotional affair, since she’s in love with the singer. But at the same time, Etheridge (or the character who is singing the song) is not without fault; she is actively seducing someone she knows is committed to someone else.
Catchy and relatable as far as primal feelings of first love? Sure. Good example of bi-ness? Not so much.
4. Miike Snow, “Genghis Khan” music video
Bi Bond villain? Yes, please! Sure, he has an emotional affair with the 007 stand-in. Yes, he does end up running away with him and abandoning his wife (not the kids, though.) However. It’s all so damn over-the-top and silly, it just gets to me. Especially since I’ve spoken to multiple bi people in poly relationships who jokingly refer to this song when dealing with jealousy issues. It’s all in good fun. And it’s just so damn catchy.
5. Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
So first and foremost, Whitney was #Bi2 and #OneOfUs. This has been brought up in multiple sources and documentaries, even if Bobby and her family weren’t down with her same-sex attractions. So how does a bi musician express themselves while starting off a career in the homophobic 80s? They hide in plain sight. Yeah, okay, sure, deeper into the verses Whitney claims it’s a man whose arms she wants to hold her, but that’s not what the chorus is about. That arrangement is deliberate. “Somebody who loves me” is gender-neutral and I will not accept counterarguments.
6. David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, “Under Pressure”
Starting off with perhaps the most famous bass line of all time, this monster track co-written by bi superstars Bowie and Mercury stands the test of time. Sure, it may not be about bisexuality directly, but the lyrics touch on all different forms of societal pressure — divorce, homelessness, day-to-day pressure, and possibly the stress of cocaine usage. But it’s still the dream duet of a bi karaoke night, written by two of the biggest bi legends of modern pop.
Now that’s a killer way to finish off a playlist.
That’s all for now, my bi bbs! Did you not see one you were hoping for in this volume or the first one? Have some ideas for another volume? Feel free to @ me on Twitter. Let’s keep the good unicorn times rolling — in mini form.