“I’m Too Sexy”
Right Said Fred
1992

“I’m Too Sexy” was the last 45 rpm I ever bought. I don’t mean bought on eBay or at a yard sale, I mean the last 45 I ever bought that had just been released. This was at the Queen Anne Tower Records in Seattle. I returned a couple of weeks later and just like that, the 45s section had disappeared. Eventually even Tower Records disappeared.

(I know they have 7” vinyl records today, but they play at 33-1/3 and they’re called “sevens.” Disqualified.)

“I’m Too Sexy” was a global hit for the shaved-head body-building brothers Richard and Fred Fairbrass, who also performed in the video. The video is a showcase of ’90s hairstyles and timeless male insecurities. A song about male models featuring two shaved-head body-building guys with their shirts off? What if the record-buying public thought the Fairbrasses were gay? No one would buy the record because then they would be gay! The record company had to figure out how to keep people from panicking. Their simple solution was to surround the two shaved-head body-building guys with women photographers dressed in bikinis (just like real photographers), because everyone knows that authentic male homosexuals would never appear in a video with women in bikinis. This is a bedrock principle of Western democracy.

While this logic may appear faulty, or even Republican, it obviously worked, because this thing sold like crazy. And while I can do without the video (the choreography is so inept, it’s adorable) (almost), I can’t do without this song. “I’m Too Sexy” is danceable, fun, too simple to forget, and there’s even a brief guitar homage to Jimi Hendrix just past the 1-minute mark. (Either it’s a homage or they couldn’t think up something on their own.)

“I’m Too Sexy” is a coed favorite at any dance, unlike ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” or Bananarama’s “Venus,” both of which have been coopted by women, or Men Without Ideas’ “Safety Dance,” which speaks only to nerds. “I’m too sexy for [fill in the blank]” is a useful catchphrase, particularly at the office. The readers of Rolling Stone voted “I’m Too Sexy” onto the list of the 10 Worst Songs of the ’90s (it finished 9th); this just adds to the song’s luster.

In the U.S. we think of Right Said Fred as a one-hit wonder. I was surprised to learn that they’d had other hits in their native England and on the Continent. It’s unfair to judge an artist in any discipline on one work – except in pop, where your judgment is most often right. Thanks to the miracle of downloadable music, I listened to all of Up, RSF’s debut album. “Don’t Talk Just Kiss” has a good title, but I have shirts that are sexier. I’m too sexy for the rest of these tracks, and I’ve already said so in My Little Turn on the Catwalk: The Journal of Right Said Fred Studies.

I don’t care what gender the Fairbrass brothers want to mate with. Thank you for writing that song before Tower pulled all of its singles. Whatever you boys are doing today, I’m confident that you’re still too sexy, whether you’re in Milan, New York, or Japan.

Random ’90s Pick of the Day: Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters (1995)
Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer. Not only is he a great drummer, he also wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on the Foo Fighters’ debut. The Foo Fighters make big arena rock and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Random ’90s Pan of the Day: Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters (1995)
Sounds like all the other arena rock of the ’90s.

Tomorrow on ’90s Week: What I know about women won’t even fill a blog post!

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