I wanna be where the boys are but I'm not allowed...
This is the opening line of the song Boy by my favourite band Book of Love whose music is described as synth-pop and new wave.
Struggling with my sexuality in the 80s, I found refuge in Book of Love's songs that most people would say was "gay-oriented". I used to toy with the Boy's chorus: I'm not a Boy... which was fun knowing that people around me would just remember me singing the chorus of a song that was popular at that time. What's even more funny was most of them just thought it was a woman's song about wanting to go to a boy's bar but she can't. Back then, deep inside me I knew it was referring to a woman's frustrations of falling in love with a gay boy without any hope of reciprocation. Perhaps the funniest conclusion the song has is that the woman accepts the fact that she can't be loved by a gay guy as reflected in the last stanza of the song: "... now it's alright without those boys, I stay at home at night and I play with my toys..." Poor girl!!!
Their song Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls heralds the age of awareness, society's (both heterosexual and homosexual) acceptance that AIDS/HIV is something serious and awareness is the first weapon we have against it. Book of love performed in a big celebration for AIDS charity in New York and this was part of their repertoire.
One of their songs in the same album called Witchcraft contains the ingredients for a love potion. I wrote the words on the board once and got a scolding from my Theology teacher in UST. I can still hear her: Do you practice witchcraft? The devil works in deceiving ways, you should pray! That would be one of my funniest and most memorable experiences in college. Hahaha!
In their last album Love Bubble (1993) you can use your wildest imagination why this title was chosen and what most of the songs are about. They even have a song called Boy Pop with the chorus: On the bottom or the top when we go we go pop!
But book of love is not all about sex and sexuality. They do have a lot of songs dealing with love, ambiguity of feelings and generally sunny songs. I still listen to them and, after all these years, they still rock!