George Michael – Father Figure

First Hit #1: February 27, 1988

George Michael was never really good at seduction. He had the voice for it, certainly, and when he does his smooth whisper-singing – as in Father Figure – he does sound like he could be a genuine sex symbol. But his lyrics often go a little bit weird, and while he has all the tools necessary he doesn’t quite know what actually is sexy, or goes into a direction that’s a little more confusing and concerning than erotic.

Father Figure is a pretty good example of this. He’s got the sexy voice cranked up to 11, he includes some acoustic guitar in there, the most erotic of instruments. There’s a gospel choir, which is kind of weird, but it could probably work. But then we have the line “I will be your father figure.” He even says something about being your daddy. And then the sexy time gets turned off, and anyone sane will be a bit concerned about the left turn this song just took.

Yes, there are people in this world with daddy issues, there are people in this world who like older men, but there’s some serious weirdness when you bring dads into the bedroom. Let’s ignore the whole incesty part, while that’s the creepiest part father figures aren’t necessarily related to the person, it’s a more general term for a man that is a bit of a guide into adulthood. It’s still really weird, because a father figure is someone in a position of authority and admiration, and there’s kind of this whole creepy power dynamic there that Michael might not have even realized when he wrote the song. He was more concerned with the whole eternal love thing, maybe throwing in something about being a guide in the bedroom if you’re looking in that direction, and that’s fine, but he’s still creating a highly screwed up relationship, and one that should have any sane person putting their pants back on and kicking Michael out the door. It’s a sexy presentation, but he has managed to take things from erotic to extremely uncomfortable.

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3 Responses to George Michael – Father Figure

  1. RBerman says:

    Soul seduction in the school of Al Green, but too breathily performed, with tons of vocal echo. The opening keyboard sound reminds me of the pad from “Broken Wings,” with a surprising and cool modal riff at the end of the song. The inclusion of a gospel choir probably nods to the lyrics, “Something sacred” and “I will be your preacher, teacher.” But the lyrics… ew. They certainly don’t portray a relationship of equals. One of the participants is smaller (“Put your tiny hand in mine”) and apparently much younger (“Sometimes love can be mistaken for a crime” and “Greet me with the eyes of a child”). I guess it’s supposed to evoke innocence in a playful “Like a Virgin” way, but instead it comes across as a NAMBLA anthem. This song serves as prime evidence that people don’t really pay attention to the lyrics of songs, or the “ick” factor would have kept this off the radio (and even out of the studio) altogether.

  2. Pingback: George Michael – One More Try | We Are Number Ones

  3. Matt Kocot says:

    The meaning is innocuous; fact-based. It has nothing to do with pedophealia but it sure may be controversial if one is unwilling to face the music about certain things.

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