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Dangerous: A deeper analysis

Spanky

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Black Thorn
Spawned from that other thread, this is for a deeper dive for the song Dangerous written by Ghost of the Robot's James Marsters about his Buffy co-star Michelle Trachtenberg.
Below are the lyrics and here is the video

I don't think you know my name
I think you'd leave me standing in the rain
You're a pretty little girl, got a thing for me
But you cut me open and let me bleed

Chorus:
But I'll be looking at you
With your long brown hair
Pretty little face
Sparkling everywhere
Looks so good
When you come my way
But I have to look down
When you talk to me
'Cause you're dangerous
You're dangerous, dangerous
And you don't even know it

One baby, two, maybe three more years
You'll be a full grown baby, havin' all your curves
And here's a little taste of irony
You'll be a town hot lady, too good for me

Chorus

So little girl you'd better stay set
You play with fire when you get too wet
So set me down and leave me be
You find a devil and you unchain me

Some could argue the song is the prototypical pop song about the femme fatale such as Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana, AC/DC's Whole Lotta Rosie or Clapton's Layla just to name a few. So is Dangerous "worse" (apart from it being musically worse of course lol) because it's about a person we "know"?

Are the songs where women objectify men "better" because they tend to be more lighthearted, such as Candypants Dishy, The Donnas 40 Boys 40 Nights, or Katy Perry's Peacock?

Or is Dangerous bad because we are the select few that happen to know the person is underage? But then isn't also the "jailbait" part somewhat a rock'n'roll staple? with songs like I Saw Her Standing There by the Beatles, Ted Nugent's Jailbait or Stray Cat Blues by the Stones, which was about the bands, or more specifically Mick Jagger's penchant for underage girls.

So is Marsters doing something dangerous (see what I did there?) in the song, or is he just mimicking what so many others have done before him? Lastly, if he were not an actor, simply a musician, would the song even matter?
 
Puppet
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Yeah, I agree, that's why I put controversial in '' :)

Dora

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All the others are about fictional people , Masters is about a child he knew completely different thing
 
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Spanky

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All the others are about fictional people , Masters is about a child he knew completely different thing
That's incorrect. Just because you don't know who the songs were about means they were fictional. Layla, for example was not fictionional, though the name was, but Dangerous doesn't mention a person's name.
 

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I've never had or seen any issue with the lyrics to this song - it's just a song. Maybe it's because music has always been so big in my life and I'm used to 'controversial' lyrics, but I don't see the problem. James never did anything, never acted on anything, and the fact that he wrote this also doesn't necessarily prove that this is exactly how he felt; maybe he overplayed things in the lyrics to make them feel more powerful? Then again, maybe he didn't. Truth is, Michelle was a very attractive girl when she was on the show and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging this.

Now, if it ever comes out that Michelle felt uncomfortable with the song, then that'll be sad. But it won't keep me from enjoying it; it's actually my favorite song of his.
 
S
Spanky
I wouldn't even call the lyrics controversial based on so many other songs that are much worse. It's a very vanilla song.

Priceless

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This might also be controversial, but from what I gather Michelle had a crush on James and this was written to let her down gently. If I were a 16 year old and a guy said he was too old for me, but wrote me this song, I'd fall even harder 🤣 But seriously, I have no problem with this. He's saying she's too young, but when she's grown she'll be beautiful and then out of his league.

I'd also say these two people were friends and colleagues, we don't know the sort of chemistry and banter they had, if there were insider jokes or little nods to things that we will never know about, that James used in the lyrics. These things may mean one thing to us, but something different to Michelle and James.
 

thetopher

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I see two separate problems with the song;
Firstly its a writer objectifying a young girl he knows in a sexual manner. Now there are plenty of songs about unpleasant subjects (Megadeath's 'Family Tree' is about child abuse) or told from a specific pov but usually they're distanced from their...'muse'.
In my view the circumstances add an extra layer of 'ick'.

Secondly I don't think the song is any good. It has no real artistic merit, its imagery is cliche. Other songs about controversial topics/themes or whatever could be considered to have been well-written and composed.
The problem here compounds the first. You've written something that could easily be seen as creepy and it isn't even very creative.

However the song could just be seen as an experiment in artistic expression and people should probably take it as such, unless/until the subject (MT) reveals that the song upsets her or whatever.
 

r2dh2

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This might also be controversial, but from what I gather Michelle had a crush on James and this was written to let her down gently. If I were a 16 year old and a guy said he was too old for me, but wrote me this song, I'd fall even harder 🤣 But seriously, I have no problem with this. He's saying she's too young, but when she's grown she'll be beautiful and then out of his league.

I'd also say these two people were friends and colleagues, we don't know the sort of chemistry and banter they had, if there were insider jokes or little nods to things that we will never know about, that James used in the lyrics. These things may mean one thing to us, but something different to Michelle and James.

It's not controversial to me. I was gonna make the same comment. You beat me to it! I can understand MT having a massive crush on JM, he's a very handsome guy, they were spending a lot of time together in the set and at 15/16 you're all hormones. I read somewhere, probably here, some speculation that there were fewer Dawn/Spike scenes in S6/S7 because of that. Might be true, might not.

But I do understand what @TriBel was saying in the other thread ("the male gaze"). It does sound very disturbing when you put it into context: older guy, young girl. Not sure MT felt uncomfortable if the crush thing is real. But regardless, it does sounds like a double standard. We complain about sexual harassment and such, but we justify the lyrics of this song... I think it's worth thinking about it a bit more.
 
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DeadlyDuo

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This might also be controversial, but from what I gather Michelle had a crush on James and this was written to let her down gently. If I were a 16 year old and a guy said he was too old for me, but wrote me this song, I'd fall even harder 🤣 But seriously, I have no problem with this. He's saying she's too young, but when she's grown she'll be beautiful and then out of his league.

I'd also say these two people were friends and colleagues, we don't know the sort of chemistry and banter they had, if there were insider jokes or little nods to things that we will never know about, that James used in the lyrics. These things may mean one thing to us, but something different to Michelle and James.

In the video o the 20th aniversary reunion when the group shot is being taken, JM and MT give each other a little look.
 
B
Btvs fan
Does that video i linked not work. Its only 2 mins

Faded90

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I suspect it was just badly judged more than anything. I don’t buy the ‘he just wrote it to let her down gently’ though, you want to let down a young girl with a crush down gently you don’t publically release it and tell everyone she has a crush on you. Honestly more than anything as a teenage girl I’d have been mortified
 

Spanky

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I suspect it was just badly judged more than anything. I don’t buy the ‘he just wrote it to let her down gently’ though, you want to let down a young girl with a crush down gently you don’t publically release it and tell everyone she has a crush on you. Honestly more than anything as a teenage girl I’d have been mortified
From my memory it was years after that he finally admitted it was about her. I don't know if that makes it better or worse. I wonder how it affected her with the rest of the cast wondering and speculating if she was indeed the dangerous girl.
 

Priceless

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I suspect it was just badly judged more than anything. I don’t buy the ‘he just wrote it to let her down gently’ though, you want to let down a young girl with a crush down gently you don’t publically release it and tell everyone she has a crush on you. Honestly more than anything as a teenage girl I’d have been mortified
I'd have probably felt the same in all honesty. But it's not like a schoolyard crush on the boy in the year above and you don't want the whole school to find out. Michelle crushed on a man that a million others also crushed on. They worked on a television show together. Do you remember Taylor Swift telling the world about her crush on Justin Timberlake or Britney talking about her crush on Brad Pitt. In a way it's how showbiz people make themselves seem 'normal', 'look we have crushes just like you' and audiences love to hear these things.
 

Faded90

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I'd have probably felt the same in all honesty. But it's not like a schoolyard crush on the boy in the year above and you don't want the whole school to find out. Michelle crushed on a man that a million others also crushed on. They worked on a television show together. Do you remember Taylor Swift telling the world about her crush on Justin Timberlake or Britney talking about her crush on Brad Pitt. In a way it's how showbiz people make themselves seem 'normal', 'look we have crushes just like you' and audiences love to hear these things.
Yes but that’s Taylor telling us about her crush not Justin writing a song telling us about Taylor having a crush. Michelle as far I’m aware has never said she did, in fact she actually has said it was Marc she had a thing for
 

Priceless

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Yes but that’s Taylor telling us about her crush not Justin writing a song telling us about Taylor having a crush. Michelle as far I’m aware has never said she did, in fact she actually has said it was Marc she had a thing for
Marc Blucas? I didn't know that, it's quite surprising. Did she speak about her crush while she was on the show?
 

TriBel

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Firstly, it's not a good song. I'm not a huge Clapton fan but it shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath as Layla. Layla was written for Pattie Boyd. Nowhere does Clapton "blame" Boyd...he was the fool who feel in love with her (though there are a couple of digs at Harrison). He doesn't infantalize her - the only term of endearment he uses is "darling". It's about how Clapton feels - he's begging...he's emotionally exposing himself to her and the listener. In fact, if I didn't know this was the Clapton/Harrison/Boyd triangle I'd presume Boyd was an older woman. I have no idea what she looks like. She's not sexualised. In fact, unless I read "worried mind" as a metaphor Clapton's looking for companionship, for intimacy.

I saw her standing there. I can't decide if this is a one off encounter that had a profound effect on both parties or whether the speaker's reminiscing and they're still together. There's nothing to indicate the singer's gender. This is a gaze...not necessarily the male gaze. Tara could sing this to Willow. I checked...McCartney saw her on a dance floor. Her name's Iris. She'd previously dated Harrison (not having much luck is he?). McCartney dated her for two years, which is when he wrote this. They broke up...and McCartney wrote Yesterday because of it! Bloody Hell! If Marster's had written Yesterday I'd have been more forgiving of his awful song. If I was being an arse I'd moan about about the first two lines but I'm not. McCartney was 21 when he wrote it and the age of consent in the UK is 16 so he's just being a bit "wink, wink" laddish.

Dangerous. The speaker is older than her but she's dangerous? In my book that's displacement. It's coming close to the idea that a) man can't control himself and b) women are temptresses. We're back in bloody Eden.

I don't think you know my name
(She doesn't know him as a person? Only as a persona? Is she shallow?
I think you'd leave me standing in the rain
She'd let him down? Exposed to the elements? Outside?
You're a pretty little girl, got a thing for me
Is she really a little girl or is he infantalizing her?
But you cut me open and let me bleed
So...she'd wound him. He'd suffer....

I've already said what I think about the gaze (and these are a different set of lyrics to the ones I've seen). If what was written had been a camera that camera would have slowly trawled the body.

One baby, two, maybe three more years
You'll be a full grown baby, havin' all your curves
Is this the infantalization of female sexuality...or the sexualization of innocence? Is it any wonder women adopt baby talk and "baby doll" nighties were a thing?

So little girl you'd better stay set
You play with fire when you get too wet

I'm saying absolutely nothing about this line. Absolutely nothing. I just don't have the patience to put up with it.

@Spanky - seriously...I'm not that fussed...I'm incredibly broad-minded. It just that people talk about oppression and don't always see the insidiousness of it. I do think it's a creepy song but possibly no creepier than others. More than that...it's a shite song - and I offer no more evidence for that remark other than I say it is.
 
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S
Spanky
I won't ever tell you the lyrics to one of my songs lol
thetopher
thetopher
That bolded line is just...one of the worst I've ever seen in a song. :(

Dora

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That's incorrect. Just because you don't know who the songs were about means they were fictional. Layla, for example was not fictionional, though the name was, but Dangerous doesn't mention a person's name.

What ever , my point is JM was nearly 40 when he wrote about a child , he may not have use Michelle's name in the lyrics but he has said it was about her a couple of times and the description ?
Michelle has said she never even had a crush on JM it was Marcus who played Buffy boyfriend
What was going on ? not allowed to be alone with the boss , Middle aged co workers writing about ... your a hot top ten baby about a 15 year old only consolation was he did not make it public until a couple of years after he had written it
 

Spanky

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he has said it was about her a couple of times
He said it at fan conventions related to the show many years after the show ended. So again, if he were a "normal" rock star it never would have been brought up as it would have been nothing more than a subpar song that people quickly forgot about. The only reason it gets more notoriety and attention is because of who he is and the show he was on. There's a reason why Michael Jackson never said who Diana was in Dirty Diana because he knew it would overshadow the song and be all about that, but he didn't have to deal with fan conventions and people begging to know who it was about everytime he played the song.
 

Btvs fan

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@Btvs fan I'm not in a position to watch it right now so I was just wondering what he said.

He said he got in trouble for it but that it was about an under age girl (he doesn't name names) who wanted a romance with him and it was his way of trying to do a thanks but no thanks its not going to happen. He says in the intervening years he said he got accused of sexualising an underage girl but that's not what he was trying to do. He was simply trying to say your pretty but to young for me. He says its a controversial song that he doesn't sing that song live anymore but he had his heart in the right place when he did it.
 
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
Thanks.
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