The Beatles. The Stones. The Who. And now, Color Me BADD.
On my way to work this morning, I passed a vintage clothing shop, Metropolis, on Third Avenue near NYU. In the window, among the usual cowboy vests, Mod ’60s dresses and ’80s New Wave pirate boots, was a black concert T-shirt. On it were the words Color Me BADD in neon pink and green letters.
You may remember Color Me BADD from their chart topping 1992 hit I Wanna Sex You Up (which inspired such catcalls as, “Ooh, baby, lemme sex you up,” and slurs like, “Hmm, someone needs to be sexed up,” indicating excessive uptightitude.) There was also All 4 Love, which cemented the band’s eventual spot in the Two-Hit Wonder Hall of Fame.
Or, more likely, you don’t remember them at all. If you’re even two years older than I am (I’m 42), you likely missed CMB’s brief peak altogether. And you were none the worse for having missed it.
Am I wrong in thinking that Color Me BADD’s success was too fleeting to rate a role in the recent early ’90s ironic revival, as typified by the new 90210 and Melrose Place? What’s more, 1992 is simply not that long ago, I don’t think, for there to be a big resurgence. I happen to remember CMB because I can’t help but to absorb such things, often against my will. (Sometimes, it’s a bit of a curse.)
But really, I’d wager no one has heard that band’s name since 1992. I didn’t know a single actual human being at the time who would have called herself a fan of Color Me BADD. Color me BADD belongs back in the VH-1 vault along with with Boys II Men and Toni! Tony! Tone!, if only because their names and their sounds were so inorganic and transparently packaged for the times.
Think back to where you were in 1992. I was three years out of college, living in Park Slope (11215, which was then the type of neighborhood in which people fresh out of college could afford to live), and working as an assistant at aÂ magazine. I had a standing weekly date with a few good girlfriends to watch both 90210 and Melrose. It was the very brief era of tights with shorts, baggy, high-waisted jeans with leotard-like tight tops, chokers, and dark burgundy lipstick. At least for me. Not anyone’s best look, but there you have it.
What do you think? Was Color Me BADD’s impact was significant enough to merit a ticket on any kind of meaningful nostalgia trip? Just because this particular pop cultural moment endured long enough for there to be T-shirts printed up, and meant enough to someone that he saved the T-shirt for a good 15 years, is it worthy of dredging up again? I’m not sure who will buy that shirt, but some wise ass kid, who was likely in kindergarten in 1992, will. The sole purpose of wearing a vintage Color Me BADD t-shirt is to display just how much useless pop cultural currency one is fluent in. (Which I know I just did, but I am not proud of remembering Color Me BADD. OK, maybe a little.)
I’m just saying. I’ve got nothing against young folks wearing vintage concert t-shirts (and I confess to a little thrill when I recently saw a college kid with a Tattoo You shirt, because I was at a show on that tour). But I think Color Me BADD should rest in peace, already.