“Mickey” by Toni Basil

This was one of the big MTV-driven New Wave hits of the early Eighties, but it generally gets less respect than most of its peers. This may be partly because it draws some influence from Sixties Bubblegum Pop (it was adapted from an obscure album cut by the Pop band Racy), but it has a much more sophisticated feel than any of the actual period Bubblegum acts even approached, and is actually rather interesting in an Elvis Costello Pop-Punkish New Wave kind of way. The lyrics are also more interesting than they seem at first glance. The original song was a fairly standard lament of a guy who can’t get his girl to put out, but gender-flipping it makes it almost progressive by Eighties standards…while few people really noticed it underneath the catchy tune and splashy video, you didn’t really get a lot of songs back then where the girl openly asks her guy to cut the crap and sleep with her already, at least not in this extremely direct manner, and the bluntness of its sexual agency is actually quite refreshing if you pay attention to it (essentially, Toni Basil was the closest thing to a Kesha we had back in those days). Of course, this song’s real raison d’être is the video that accompanied it, which, for something with such a simple premise (it’s basically a straightforward cheerleading routine on video) is actually quite stylish and extremely well choreographed (apart from this song, Basil won most of her fame as a choreographer, and it definitely shows here). This song has a reputation for being annoying, but the only really unpleasant part of it is the obnoxious cheerleading chant at the beginning of it, and if you can get past that, the rest of the song is a fairly respectable piece of slightly Punk-flavored Pop.

Verdict: The chanting at the beginning is still thoroughly obnoxious, but there’s enough good about the song and the video that the verdict as a whole has to be positive. Good song, lose the chant.

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