I first discovered pop at a high point of bubblegum music. Kazenetz and Katz were cranking out hit after hit with their stable of artists on Buddah Records. Although the same studio musicians played on most of the records, somehow the various “bands” still seemed to have distinct images and sounds. My favorite was Ohio Express, who added just a bit of garage snarl to the vocals of such otherwise frothy confections as “Chewy Chewy”:
At the time, I was totally oblivious to the sexual connotations of my aural fixation.
If it weren’t for the 40 year gap, Slumber Party Girls‘ 2006 song might be an answer record to “Chewy Chewy,” with a girl singing about a boy who has her “choking on my bubblegum”:
While she does mention “blowing bubbles,” Annie employs the “Chewing Gum” metaphor in a different way, referring to boys as something to spit out “when all the flavor has gone”:
Marina and the Diamonds also promises to “chew you up and . . . spit you out” after she “pops your bubblegum heart”:
Not entirely sure what the message of HyunA‘s “Bubble Pop” is — though her pushing the guy with the wandering eye into the pool implies she won’t take any guff — but it remains my favorite K-pop song:
But there are still men attracted to the Lolita image of a girl blowing bubbles . . .
. . . like Justin Timberlake . . .
. . . and Jason Derulo:
This is a far cry from the innocence of Spike Jones‘s “Blowing Bubble Gum” . . .
. . . or Lonnie Donegan‘s “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (on the Bedpost Overnight)?”:
But in answer to Donegan’s question, no, bubblegum music never seems to lose its flavor for me.
To me, it seems paradoxical that Ohio Express labelmates 1910 Fruitgum Company would admonish a girl for refusing to outgrow the “Bubblegum World”:
I guess only boys are allowed to remain Peter Pan forever, while Wendy must be mature and take care of Lost Boys: “I’ll Never Grow Up, Never Grow Up, Not Me!”