Their First Time

The couple is sitting on the couch, all alone, lights dim, trying to decide whether to walk the six steps down the hall to the bedroom for what will be their First Time. They know they want to, but they’re different from most other teenage couples: They need to have a reason, and it can’t be just hormones. So they’re searching for a way to close the deal, not with one another, but with the universe.

Since this is 1969, their parents have been telling them that they’re too young to really be in love. (Do parents still say that to their adolescent children in 2007?) But they have been telling themselves that they aren’t young, not really, because times have changed since their parents’ day.

Nowadays ya kinda grow up fast
We’re old enough to be in love at last
I’m only happy when I’m with you
I couldn’t wait another year or two

Then, they turn toward one another. He takes both of her hands in his, they look deeply into one another’s eyes, and he sings the refrain to her one more time. This time, when he breaks off singing to speak the words “trust in me,” they realize they’ve found their reason. And because this is 1969, we fade the scene to black as they take that first step down the hall.

This is merely a bubblegum record we’re talking about, and a bubblegum album track at that, never even released as the B-side of a single, just taking up space on an album that was churned out in a hurry to capitalize on a hit single. But here’s the thing about the best bubblegum—and the Jeff Berry/Andy Kim/Ron Dante/Toni Wine variety is as good as it got—the stuff is too well-made to be as disposable as it was supposed to be.

If you don’t hear it the way I do, I won’t be surprised. I’ve been warning for three years that sometimes, I’ll be the only person reading this blog who gets it. But this record has been in my head since I heard it on Friday, and it’s taken me all weekend and today to figure out what to say about it. So yeah, I hope you get it. In the annals of bubblegum, if not in the complete annals of rock and roll, precious few other records vibrate with such shimmering, quivering teenage passion.

“Seventeen Ain’t Young”/The Archies (buy their best stuff here)

2 thoughts on “Their First Time

  1. Never heard it before, but I like it, a lot. (I like Tracy and a few other things by Ron Dante’s Cuff Links, too.) It’s kind of the flip side, a generation later, of Goffin & King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” It does kind of get inside, doesn’t it?

  2. Wow, I never thought I’d read a post about a forgotten album track by The Archies! I downloaded a copy of “Seventeen Ain’t Young” a few years ago. It’s too bad that most people think of The Archies as a one-hit wonder. I may have to pull out my CD mixes that contain “Who’s Your Baby” and “Jingle, Jangle”.

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