Top Ten Songs About High Heels
I did a guest post for Jessika’s Top Ten Songs lists (which appear inside Facebook, and some of them here), so I thought I’d cross post it here.
Top Ten Songs About High Heels – A Guest List by Anthony Hoffmann, who knows a thing or two about women’s footwear.
Hi, everyone. I’m taking the reins from Jessika for the week. Here is my list, which is titled, “Top Ten Songs about High Heels.” Truth be told, basically none of these songs are ABOUT high heels in the way that, say, Next’s “Too Close” is about boners. No, it’s more like songs that reference the often crippling, always sexy style of footwear popular among the ladies and the ladyboys alike. Anyway, let’s get on with it!
I’m going sneak my honorable mentions in first, because they represent the classic canon of high heel references—so classic it seemed inappropriate to compare them to the songs in the actual list. (Also, I’m taking two HM’s here because that makes 12 songs total and 12 is my favorite number. Did you know that about me? You probably did not.)
Shotgun – Junior Walker and the All-Stars (of Motown and Jock Rock fame)
Hi-Heel Sneakers – Tommy Tucker (also: covered by every single artist-in-history-who-ever-took-a-shine-to-12-bar-blues-ever period)
Now the real actual list! Get. Excited.
10. You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift, from the 2008 album “Fearless” (which has a surprisingly exhaustive Wikipedia entry).
No better way to start the list than with collective eye-rolling and scoffing. So, why Miss Swift? 1) I wanted to pay homage to at least one mainstream Nashville girl (since they all seem to sing about heels at some point, and honestly I like this song better than Kellie Pickler’s “Red High Heels” which is just a PG-13 take on the far, far, far superior “Kerosene” by Miranda Lambert) and 2) I accidently saw Taylor Swift in concert once and she was both entertaining and totally f*cking adorable, so screw you. Also: she was pretty good on SNL! Don’t even pretend that the whole headgear, bad-parent-drivers sketch wasn’t funny (cuz it was totally funny).
9. Down Home Girl – The Rolling Stones, from the 1965 album “The Rolling Stones No. 2.”
A pretty solid Stones song from the early era of Stones songs, though not solid enough to climb higher on this list. Regardless, they win for “best adjective used in a high heels reference” with “citified.” (“Dance Little Sister” was also in the running, but I ultimately chose this over that for the ninth slot – though it is infinitely more danceable, “Dance Little Sister” is also far less interesting.)
8. Gold for Bread – Blitzen Trapper, from the 2008 album “Furr.”
This only made it as far as eight due to its only containing one reference to heels. However, it is arguably the sexiest reference, with its potent combination of lyric/melody/guitar/energy. (“Blowing dusty through the kitchen / While you’re standing in your high heels in your hall” – you know you want it.) Also: one of the best shows in Milwaukee last year, but no one saw it because the rest of the city was at Sonic Youth. Sadface.
7. The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson, from the 1987 album “Bad.”
I thought about explaining this entry. Then I thought about the kind of person I would have to explain this entry to and mostly I just wanted to punch them in throat.
6. High Heeled Woman – Heather Masse, from the 2009 album, “Bird Song.”
The least well-known entry on the list, Heather Masse is usually a little Gillian and a little Allison, but she managed to pull off this infectious track that sounds more like what Emmylou would have sounded like if she got to have a more fun with The Band in “The Last Waltz” then she actually did. (I imagine Paul Butterfield would have sat in here as well. These are the sorts of concerts going on inside my head.) Find it on YouTube, give it a whirl: you’ll tap your feet and get a little crush all at the same time.
5. Happy Alone – Kings of Leon, from the 2003 album, “Youth and Young Manhood.”
Before Kings of Leon turned into Chicken Fried Jonas Brothers Chicken, they wrote delightfully weird lyrics and composed songs like “Happy Alone.” Case in point: “I’m gonna tangle my face hair, it’s gonna tickle your daughter / 3 o’clock and the moaning, they all cry to me / I’ll be prancin’ around in my high heels, and your cherry red lipstick / Look out your window I’m on your street.”
4. Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – Traffic, from the 1971 album of the same name.
Just Traffic being, well…Traffic. Also, one of their best known songs. I much prefer short, tight pop songs to long, weirdo ones, so it was hard for me to put this as high on the list as I did, but it is sorta good and I suppose someone somewhere could make the case for why it should be placed higher. But, you know, I hate jazz rock, plus this is my least favorite kind of rock saxophone AND Widespread Panic has covered it so, really, I’m surprised I let it sneak up as high as I did. (Plus, doesn’t it at times sort of sound like what you remember the “Night Court” theme song sounded like? Not what the “Night Court” theme song actually sounded like, but what you REMEMBER it sounding like? Yes. Yes, it does.)
3. High Heels – Neil Young, unreleased.
A rarity not included on any official recordings, you can find this track (live from Santa Cruz in 1987) on the “Archives Be Damned” bootleg collection. It’s got that great major chord progression that reminds you of the Sesame Street theme song (just like how Wilco’s “Outta Mind (Outta Site)” on the second disc of “Being There” does), plus his full-blown horn section from that era, so you’re pretty much smiling the whole time you’re listening to it. Also: for what it is worth, it is the only song on the list that acknowledges just how uncomfortable heels can be. (Not that I’m complaining! I’m not a complainer!)
2. Stiletto – Billy Joel, from the 1978 album, “52nd Street.”
It’s a song like “Stiletto” that reminds you why Billy got paired with Elton on so many soul-sucking tours later on in life. It’s definitely a Billy Joel track, but you’ll get confused—especially during the chorus. Anyways…great song, and great reference to the Gold Standard of high-heeled footwear. (Sidenote: In 1982, Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” was the first album to be made commercially available on Compact Disc. Yay, facts!)
1. Free Your Mind – En Vogue, from the 1992 album, “Funky Divas.”