Aug 10, 2018

Gay Symbolism in Chicago

I went to high school in the midst of the disco era, when everyone was carrying around boom boxes, practicing complicated dance moves, and listening to songs about the night life:
I love the night life, I want to boogie on the disco floor.
Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're staying alive
I should be dancing

And the groups we listened to were all flash and glitter, with bare chests and bulges, promising crazy nights of sexual excess, flirting with androgyny, asking us to wonder "Could he be gay?"

Except for Chicago, some guys with guitars and drums, wearing regular  shirts and jeans -- no bare chests, no bulges.

No androgyny, all married to women and following sports.

 Their no-nonsense, hetero manly albums (mostly entitled Chicago) had a subdued beat impossible to dance to and lyrics that you actually had to listen to in order to understand, mostly stories about pain and loss.

And, paradoxically, obviously without their intention, full of gay subtexts.  Girls rarely mentioned.  The lost love could be male or female.

April 1975, just after Dan and I broke up, "Old Days":
Take me back to the world gone away
Seem like yesterda

August 1975, the beginning of my sophomore year at a new high school,  "Brand New Love Affair":
It's no good to be all alone
When you hurt a friend
And you both feel empty
What I'd give to erase the pain
Will we ever make friends

June 1976, just after my date with the King of Sweden, "Another Rainy Day in New York City"

Another rainy day in New York City
Softly sweet, so silently it falls
As crosstown traffic crawls
Memories in my way in New York City,

July 1976, just after my first sexual experience, "If You Leave Me Now"

If you leave me now, you take away the biggest part of me.

September 1977, the beginning of my senior year"Baby, What a Big Surprise"
, Yesterday it seemed to me
My life was nothing more than wasted time
But here today you've softly changed my mind

May 1978, during the angst-filled month before I figured "it" out, "Take Me Back to Chicago"

Take me back to Chicago
Lay my soul to rest
Where my life was free and easy
Remember me at my best

See also: My Date with the King of Sweden; The Best Day of the Best Month of the Best Year Ever.

1 comment:

  1. Chicago started the "bands named after places" craze. Boston, Europe, Kansas, Berlin, Asia...It all started with Chicago.


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