Retro Reminiscing: The Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”

I got brass in pocket...and I'm going to use it
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The PretendersI had the satellite radio on this morning, and "Brass in Pocket" came on. As with most of the songs I feature here, I was transported back in time. On this occasion it was to 1980. I remember seeing the video on MTV, and that may have been before I had ever heard it on the radio. And while Chrissie Hynde in a waitress uniform was interesting, it was these lines I was most struck by:'Cause I gonna make you see/There's nobody else here/No one like me/I'm special so special/I gotta have some of your attention give it to me

As I recall, it was the first time I had heard a female singer display her sexuality and take on the role of an aggressor through music. Let’s face it, on a whole the number of strong female rock singers are hugely outnumbered by men. And while the women of rock do sing these types of songs as often as the men, the feminine versions are just fewer in number.

I also remember the Pretenders being the first instance of hearing a great song by a band, that led to disappointment when I dug around in their back catalog. Most likely, my thirteen year old palate just wasn’t ready for them. As I aged, my fondness grew. And now they are one of my favorite retro bands,

Later, I would hear women like Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge deliver songs that spoke to those emotions that were being driven by my teenage hormones. Some of those later songs probably hit a little closer to the mark, but there’s something special – almost magical — about the first time a song’s lyrics mimic what you’re feeling inside.

I like to think I wasn’t much different than any other thirteen year old girl. I was discovering the world around me, and understanding that there was more to the boys standing in my line of sight than they had shown a few years before. When you’re stumbling around with emotions so powerful they can short-circuit your young mind, a song like “Brass in Pocket” can become a road map…or sorts.

Not that an adolescent should be using sexual prowess to get the attention of a potential mate, nor do I believe that young teens should be jumping into physical relationships. But there is an awakening – at least there was for me – that we women do possess some secret weapons.Gonna use my arms/Gonna use my legs/Gonna use my style/Gonna use my side-step/Gonna use my fingers/Gonna use my, my, my, imagination.

So, for me, “Brass in Pocket” will always be a song of sexual awakening, a song that reminds me of that sweet, messy time in early adolescence when a child’s eyes begins looking at boys in a new, often scary way.

Do you have a song of sexual awakening?