Certain Songs #1230: Naughty Sweeties – “Alice”

Album: Chinatown
Year: 1979

Speaking of being down with O.P.P. The Naughty Sweeties — a “new wave” band hailing from Los Angeles — only had one song that anybody ever heard, but it’s a corker: “Alice” is a weirdly hilarious ditty about getting cheated on.

Written by Naughty Sweeties lead singer Ian Jack, “Alice” takes much of the same viewpoint of Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do:” dude is in love with a woman is really interested in monogamy. Or at least monogamy with him.

I mean seriously: both songs refer to the lady in question as “my girl” or “my little girl” despite the fact that she spends the entire song proving the exact opposite. Perhaps these men are delusional, or at least too possessive, as the opening verse of “Alice” lays out in spades:

Pink panties on your rear-view mirror
Beer cans in the back
I see you’ve been going out with Alice
Won’t you give my girlfriend back?

Maybe she’s not your girlfriend, dude. Anyways, as song over quietly chiming guitars, the first verse of “Alice” is sung almost in shock until the last line, which is delivered in a desperate wail, which — after the whole band slams together like a James Brown bridge for six beats — is continued on the over-the-top chorus.

Oh, Alice has a hard time being true
She’s just hot-blooded
There’s nothing she can do
But you took advantage
(BIG MEAN ADVANTAGE!)
You took advantage
(BIG MEAN ADVANTAGE!)
Why you want to make her
When you know that she’s my girl?

The backing vocals of “BIG MEAN ADVANTAGE” totally undercut the otherwise desperate lead vocals, adding just the right amount of self-knowledge so that we know that Jack knows that he’s being kind of ridiculous about the whole thing. Which kinda goes along with his ultimate solution for getting Alice back.

Hot-wired to your car ignition
Two sticks of dynamite
I see that you’re not gonna listen
Don’t you know that isn’t nice?

Well, that’s one solution. And it’s certainly more proactive than Robert Plant’s solution, which was basically to shrug his shoulders — it’s right there in the title of the song — and move somewhere else. That said, it’s hard to see how that’s fully going to win Alice back, either, especially if she got into the car with other guy.

In any event, the not-quite-power-pop and not-quite-new-wave vibe of “Alice” apparently made it a huge Rodney on the ROQ song back when that was really a thing, and hell, the Naughty Sweeties even made it up to Fresno for a show as well.

It was March of 1981, and they played the CSUF College Union — the one above the Pit — in a show that was my first ever KFSR-oriented event. Tim & I had just been recruited by Tom Hall, and while it was still a year-and-half before the station actually went on the air, 18-year-old Jim was still pretty excited about the whole possibility of being a DJ and playing songs like “Alice” on the radio for whomever might be listening.

“Alice”

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