I can’t get Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” out of my head today.
I hated it when it came out in 1986—the same year that trendy people started leaving an effluvium of Obsession everywhere they went. That retarded song and that sticky-sweet smell will forever be linked in my mind.
I hated that “Nasty” was mass-produced pablum that nonetheless entered the cultural zeitgeist. I hated that it tried to force a ridiculous catchphrase on malleable consumers. I hated that the lyrics were so friggin’ stupid. I hated that it had a shitty tempo for a dancing, but everybody tried to dance to it anyway.
I hated that other people liked it.
And now, 20 years later, it’s stomping around in my brain again, conjuring up long-forgotten images of overtanned men in neon shirts and pegged jeans and espadrilles dancing under a sad little disco ball in an Iowa gay bar. (And for those of you paying extremely close attention and doing the requisite math … yes, I had to borrow my roommate’s ID to get those images in my brain in the first place.)
Ms. Jackson—or Janet Privacy Control if you’re nasty—I’ve seen your boob. I’ve endured your songs. I’ve had enough.
So put your nasty fruit in your nasty car and please go jam to your nasty groove somewhere else. My nasty thoughts can’t take it anymore.