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A Perfect Wikipedia Discovery
Thanks to a classic 90s song about boners.
Wikipedia is both a reference book and a lottery. Its primary use is to discover factual information; the more fun use is when, in the course of looking up Andrew Jackson’s birthday or whatever, you happen upon something salacious or absurd.
Most Wikipedia entries are fairly dry. But every once in awhile, you hit the jackpot.
Which brings me to the song “Too Close” by the R&B Next. Do you remember this song? It was released in 1998 and it is most notable for being about the sensation of getting a boner while you are on the dance floor.
For whatever reason, this song popped into my head (PUN NOT INTENDED) and I became curious how Next went about conceiving, writing, and producing a song that is about a dance-floor erection.
Because song doesn’t just mention a dancefloor boner. The entire thing is about dancefloor boners. The chorus is about dancefloor boners, the verses are all about dancefloor boners; there is a guest female vocal about being on the receiving end of a dancefloor boner (“feel a little poke coming through…”).
There is even, perhaps most puzzlingly, a spoken-word intro that is the inner monologue of a man who has a boner on the dance floor:
So I looked up “Too Close” on Wikipedia, as one does. I was hoping for a funny anecdote or, perhaps, a real-life incident in which one of the members of Next found himself fully engorged at a nightclub and decided to memorialize that moment in song.
Wikipedia did not contain any information about the conception of “Too Close.” But what I found was so, so much better.
“Too Close” was a number one hit for Next in 1998. The song was apparently covered in 2001, Wikipedia tells me, by a British boy band named Blue. So far, so normal.
Is it weird to cover a song that is about getting about a boner on the dance floor? Maybe a little. Is this really such a universal sensation that it requires multiple interpretations? Will every generation get a cover of the dancefloor boner song, like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”?
I digress. The British boy band Blue has a number one hit with “Too Close” by Next. Good for them, right? Okay, here’s the next paragraph on Wikipedia.
It is one thing to dismiss 9/11 by complaining that it is taking away attention from “the whales.”
But then consider that the band was in New York City and witnessed 9/11 happening. Here they were, all gussied up for their dance-floor music video, and a plane hits the World Trade Center.
And then, having seen this world-remaking horror firsthand, your reaction is “Yeah but whales have it pretty bad too, I mean come on.”
I was curious about the context. Sometimes Wikipedia destroys it! So I looked up the interview with this boy band, which took place with British tabloid The Sun.
It reads like a transcript from Zoolander:
“It’s the biggest day of terrorism in history” was already funny enough. He sounds like he’s talking about the Indy 500.
And then Lee chimes in. “WHAT ABOUT WHALES?” I wish I could have seen everyone’s faces. The band members, the journalist. The band’s MANAGER! The blood rushing from his face, the realization that this stream of income is dead. Shut up Lee, indeed.
Also, the archive I found this on has internet comments from 2001. Guess what? Things haven’t changed online too much.
Anyway, I didn’t figure out what inspired the R&B band Next to write a nearly 5-minute song about being so horny at the club that you get an erection.
But what I did discover I will value so, so much more. And now, to play us out… “Too Close” by 9/11 minimizing boy band Blue.
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