The biggest difference between this year’s November blogging and last year’s November blogging is that last year, I had a lot of the songs preselected. This year, except for the ones selected by readers and a handful that I picked in October, I really haven’t had anything set to go. On one hand, it’s made writing every day just that much more stressful – what song to pick? – but on the other hand, it’s made for some rather spontaneous choices.
Tonight I decided to look through my We’re Gonna Need A Special Locker For The Hat playlist on Spotify for inspiration. I didn’t have to look far because the second song on the playlist was one that really tickled my fancy at just that moment. And that song was Sinead O’Connor’s “I Want Your (Hands On Me)” which, if it isn’t the most unnecessary use of parenthetical notation I’ve ever seen, it’s at least the most awkward. I don’t want to go all hipster on everyone, but the only Sinead O’Connor album I own is her debut, The Lion & The Cobra, not the follow-up I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. The latter contained the monster hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” and introduced O’Connor to the masses. My friend Kelly was the one that got me to check out Sinead O’Connor. As I’ve said before, she was the MTV 120 Minutes to my American Top 40. We had a healthy respect for each other’s musical taste and navigated high school as close friends. She did not specifically tell me to go buy The Lion & The Cobra, but it was her influence and the influence of the bands she did listen to, that prompted me to step outside my pop music box.
It didn’t hurt that “I Want Your (Hands On Me)” was in fairly heavy rotation on MTV in the summer of 1988. It had an infectious beat that drew me in – it’s probably the poppiest sounding song on the record, although “Mandinka” also came pretty close to being pop as well.
I gotta say that the album version of “I Want Your (Hands On Me)” works better for me than the version in the video with the now very dated rap inserted painfully into the center of the song.
But perhaps my favorite memory of the song is it use in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. I remember virtually nothing else about that film except for the scene in which the jock girl is lifting weights to “I Want Your (Hands On Me).” I remember being a bit proud of myself that I recognized the song. I actually found the clip on YouTube, but I’ll warn you, it is not for the faint of heart. Even though by this point in the series, Freddy had lost his scary punch and was mostly a caricature of himself, it’s still pretty gross.
Watching that clip naturally makes me want to watch all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
O’Connor’s future was bright in 1988 – she had “Nothing Compares 2 U” ahead of her and she hadn’t yet ripped up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live. I never really connected to any album of hers beyond the debut, although there have been songs here and there. But as the first song I ever heard of hers, “I Want Your (Hands On Me)” will most likely always be my favorite.