"Steal My Girl"
I was listening to a pop radio station the other day when the familiar piano strains from Journey's 1983 smash ballad "Faithfully" began to play.
Except … wait!
That's not Journey, I quickly backpedaled, mentally trying to sort out the sounds. Because it also kinda sounded like New Found Glory's "It's Not Your Fault." But, no, it's all coming from One Direction.
"Steal My Girl" is the first single from the boy band's fourth studio album, Four. It's a romantic anthem so utterly drenched in '80s-ness one wonders if Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis have had Journey's Greatest Hits on repeat on their tour bus lately. Or maybe these five guys from Britain and Ireland have decided that winning the hearts of tweens the world over wasn't enough for them. That now they're gunning for nostalgic parents, too.
Lyrical themes aren't too far afield from the ones found in "Faithfully" either. In a nutshell, a guy tells a girl she's so awesome that there's no way in the world he's ever going to let anyone steal her.
"She be my queen," the anthem begins, "Since we were 16/We want the same things/We dream the same dreams." And it seems as if she and her family feel the same way about him: "I got it all/'Cause she is the one/Her mum calls me 'love'/Her dad calls me 'son.'"
It's an enviable situation, to be sure. Which is perhaps why this oh-so-slightly paranoid guy is determined that no one swoop in and seduce his beloved lady away from him. "Everybody wanna steal my girl/Everybody wanna take her heart away/Find another one 'cause she belongs to me."
So far, so sweet.
But the One Direction lads don't stay the course the whole way through here, veering briefly into sultry temptation just to spice things up in the next verse. We hear, "Kisses like cream/Her walk is so mean/And every jaw drop/When she's in those jeans."
It's hardly the kind of stuff that'll get 1D banned from middle school dances. Still, I found myself wishing the guys could have kept their focus on this special girl's virtues instead of taking a leering lyrical look at her curves.
The next verse returns to the kind of cosmically twitterpated hyperbole that's guaranteed to elicit soul-piercing screams 'n' sweaty swoons from frantic fans during the next One Direction tour: "I don't exist/If I don't have her/The sun doesn't shine/The world doesn't turn."
As things "na na na" their way to a close (just like there were lots of "whoa whoas" on "Faithfully"), we get a final statement about this guy's faithful commitment: "She knows, she knows/That I never let her down before." And that's quickly followed by one more alpha dog reminder to any guy stupid enough to make a pass at her: "She knows, she knows/That I'm never gonna let another take her love from me now."
Not at all like 1D took those riffs from "Faithfully," right?