J. Geils Band – Centerfold

First Hit #1: February 6, 1982

The saddest pop songs are often uptempo ones. For example, Centerfold, which is an upbeat sounding track complete with some nanas, lots of handclaps, and a particularly goofy and wonderful keyboard riff. The song itself is about the death of innocence, as we hear the tale of a charming girl in high school who eventually shows up in some pornographic literature, and the psychological scars this is leaving on the singer. It’s dark, a story where there are entire lifetimes bubbling over the surface which aren’t quite revealed. And then we get a sing-along stretch of nanas which kind of ignore how dark the actual content is. It’s a fun singalong with an undercurrent of misery, and it’s a common motif that runs through pop songs.

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One Response to J. Geils Band – Centerfold

  1. Robert Berman says:

    As you say, the song is quite blase about its topic. So much so that the second verse, detailing the writer’s response to the situation is not so much, “That poor girl!” as it is, “Stupid me, I didn’t realize back then what an easy mark she must be.” The closing whistle turns the musical hook into a catcall.

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