Tell me who would you be?
Would you be me?
The woman in me?
Would you like to be under my skin?
I will let you in, yeah yeah yeah
Hello, internet! Do you want to know what I just found out about Billie Myers? Have a guess. No, go on. Not about the fact that she’s bisexual; I knew that already. Or that she used to be a nurse. Or that she criticised Obama for failing to mention marriage equality in a speech. Or that she has a remix album. Or that she’s from Coventry. No. None of them.
What I just found out is that she sang Kiss The Rain.
I genuinely didn’t know this. I remember the song being on NOW That’s What I Call Music! 38, but I don’t remember ever being into it. What I was into was her 1998 follow-up Tell Me, which reached number 28 in the charts and was also probably responsible for my entire sexual awakening.
I shall explain.
I was 13 in 1998. Having tried to convince myself for the past two years that I wasn’t actually interested in sex had proved to be a fruitless endeavour. I was now getting more interested in my body and what made it tick, and certain words or phrases (or ideas) did so. Making love was certainly one of them, as opposed to the shorter, four-letter words that the rowdy boys in my year used as punctuation. I was also aroused by various odd ideas like being encased in a sex machine or staying at school overnight to have sex with the girl I sat next to in French.
And Tell Me by Billie Myers.
For those of you that don’t know, Tell Me is a song about sex. More specifically, it’s a song in which Billie envisions as herself as the person with whom she is having sex, while having sex with them. In it she entreats the person (who doesn’t have a specific gender) to tell her
Oh, how does it feel
Making love to me like you do?
and even freely admits that
Naked, oh, I like you naked
And when I fake it, you like me more
To a thirteen-year-old, this was nothing short of a revelation. A song about having sex, by a woman who’s probably at some point had sex, who clearly enjoys sex, and is comfortable enough to admit so. What is she, some sort of goddess?
And then we have the music video.
I’ve been watching porn for a long time now and I still don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite as sexually charged. The video is – there is no other word for it – HOT. There is a kind of plot, I suppose, but the majority of it is disconnected shots of moderately sexual activity happening in various places (centred around a strip club, which is where the video’s prologue starts). Throughout its 4:50 runtime, we get:
– people getting frisky, both with Billie Myers, and each other
– people getting frisky, both in pairs and in threes, and occasionally in groups
– occasional shots of an Indian goddess doing a belly dance
– The Matrix-like spacey black outfits
– Max Headroom-ish kaleidoscopic backgrounds
– women wearing nothing but a bra
– strippers wearing very little on their lower half
– everyone being really sultry and nobody actually giving a fuck
– a couple towards the end possibly actually having sex on the bar
Billie spends the entire video in various states of undress, possibly doing a striptease herself (or is it a sort of “exposing my vulnerability” thing? Whatever it is, I’m grateful for it), and in fact the final shot is of her, slightly abashed, putting her clothes back on and fading out.
It’s all very clever, very tantalising, incredibly sexy, and it’s underscored by the song itself, which is great in its own right. Add the lyrics to the excellent music and there’s very little doubt as to why this was my gateway drug back in 1998.
“I wonder what this song is called?” said my dad, jocularly, as Billie sang “tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me…” while gyrating on Top of the Pops.
“Hnnnnnnnnnnnngh,” I said unhelpfully, before realising he’d made a joke.
“Anyway, I’m going to make dinner. Do you want to help?”
“Would I have to stand up?”
“…I expect so…”
“I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”