It’s cliche to say so, but sometimes when life really stomps all over you, it’s important to remember the good things that you do have. For me, I have my health, a great family, a loving wife who isn’t afraid to call me out when I’m being bull-headed and not taking care of myself. I’m still gainfully employed and enjoy what I do while being particularly good at it as well. All those things are important, but it’s also important not to overlook the little things that color your life and make it your own. This is hopefully the first in a series of blog posts highlighting some of those things, although my track record on blogging has not been the greatest lately.
I was listening to Dolly Parton’s The Grass Is Blue yesterday while I was doing the dishes yesterday and realized that when we look back at Dolly’s nearly 50 years in the business, The Grass Is Blue will probably stand as one of her finest albums. It’s a perfectly crafted album that started a turn of the century renaissance for Dolly after a series of several subpar albums in the late 90s. But for as good as The Grass Is Blue is, my favorite Dolly song is and will always be the 1983 cheese-fest that is “Potential New Boyfriend.” I’ve written about it before several times over the years, but in my estimation, enough can’t be said about it. Its mere existence makes my life just that much better.
Where to even start with “Potential New Boyfriend”? It probably represents the pinnacle of Dolly’s pop crossover attempts of the early 80s and for that reason, it’s easy to deride it for being calculated and cynical. It was one of Dolly’s first music videos, and I remember it being in pretty heavy rotation on HBO’s Video Jukebox. The video is just as cheesy as the song itself which just adds to its charms.
A few more thoughts on “Potential New Boyfriend”:
- How can anyone resist that chorus? “Better keep your hands off my-y…better keep your hands off my-y…better keep your hands of my potential new boyfriend!”
- Whoever the potential new boyfriend is, he’s got Dolly all worked up. “He’s twistin’ my ignition key, turned my motor on.”
- I love the contrast between school-marm Dolly at the beginning of the video and slick leather pantsuit with no waist Dolly from the mid point of the video to the end.
- The key change. Dear Lord, I love a song with a good key change.
- The bridge – “Leave us alone tonight/But if it don’t work out right/He’s all yours!/But till then…”
Sadly, Dolly doesn’t seem to remember “Potential New Boyfriend.” She’s never played it live (to my knowledge) and it’s mostly forgotten. But not by me. It’s as much a part of my musical DNA as Madonna, and that’s saying something, right? Say what you will about bad career choices in the 80s, but in my mind, this was not one of them. It’s cheesy, that’s for sure, but it’s certainly not the cheesiest thing that Dolly’s ever done. For my money, the cheesiest thing she’s ever done is “Dump The Dude.” (even though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like that song too.)
I’ve often said that when Dolly gets around to releasing the much-rumored all dance album that she wants to do, she’d be wise to include a redone version of “Potential New Boyfriend.” This song is a completely untapped gay anthem and would sound so good brought up to date. But until that point, I’ll be listening to “Potential New Boyfriend” like it’s 1983 all over again.