Sisqó – “Thong Song”

Released: 1.11.00

Peak: #3

“Thong” is a ridiculous word for a ridiculous item of clothing, and as a new decade, century, and (dang the experts) millennium dawned, only one man had the clarity of vision, the spastic determination, and the platinum hair to render the glimpsing of such a sartorial absurdity sublime. And I mean truly sublime, in the aesthetic sense — an apogee of beauty that extracts rapt contemplation from the observer. After all, if the high art objectification of women into brush strokes and marble curvature is an aesthetic process, should we not then accord the same dignity to lowbrows alchemizing lust into an dumbstruck gape?

Then again, lust is too active a verb to describe Sisqó’s response. If dude ever does get some alone time with that thong-th-thong-thong-thong and the fanny it frames, it’s hard to imagine him doing anything more aggressive than leaping up and down, screeching and pointing wildly. All the more reason why Sisqó (“not to be confused,” Wikipedia sternly warns, “with Sisko, Cisco, or Sysco,” and he most certainly is not) was ideal for this special mission. His histrionic monotony was an irritation when pumping up his sexual prowess in de rigeur post-Jodeci fashion with Dru Hill, or wailing over his theoretical loneliness on the equally successful (yet wholly forgotten) follow-up “Incomplete.” But it made him just the clown to fixate on a spandex strip.

“Thong Song” itself (not to be confused with the Kyuss tune of the same name) is a masterpiece of concision. Pinioned between a genteel string motif and a beat that can’t keep it in its drawers is, essentially, a single verse, repeated in ever more fervent pants, flattened out to a coolly subdued rap, then exploding in a climax of overexcited drool. With a single interpolated nod to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” Sisqó one-ups Ricky Martin, as if to show his fellow florid gay-possible hunk (we’ll set aside for now Sisqó’s conviction that “what guys talk about” is women’s clothing) just how hypermasculine cartoonishness can avoid tumbling over into self-conscious camp. And “dumps like a truck, truck, truck” brings to mind Judge Woolsey’s ruling that Ulysses couldn’t be obscene because its effect is more emetic than aphrodisiac.

Hard to believe that less than a decade earlier, “Baby Got Back” had to make a case for the booty; by 2000, pop was full-on immersed in ass-induced awe (though it might never have got there without J-Lo serving as a beige bridge for our interracial desires.) Sadly, the official “Thong Song” video, for all the fresh gal-flesh it peddles, is notably lacking in thongs–those were reserved for the “uncensored” remix, with Foxy Brown offering a less than trenchant female perspective. (Bitch doesn’t even breach the discomfort issue–anyway, Trina’s “Pull Over” makes clear just whose crack that thong belongs in.) But there would be time enough for the strip-club chants of Lil Jon’s boyz to make good on those elements of the pornographic imagination only hinted at here. For four minutes and twelve seconds, Sisqó unleashed all the slavering frenzy of a Mystikal jam, with none of the implied rectal damage.

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