Their First Time

Here’s another post from the past, which first appeared on August 20, 2007 and has been slightly updated. If I were to pick my 10 favorite posts of the 1,500-and-some that have appeared here in eight years, this would probably be among them.

The couple is sitting on the couch, all alone, lights dim, trying to decide whether this should be the night for 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?) 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.

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—the stuff is too well-made to be as disposable as it was supposed to be. And that of the Archies, created by masters of the form including Jeff Berry, Andy Kim, Ron Dante, and Toni Wine, is as good as it got.

If you don’t hear this song the way I do, I won’t be surprised. I’ve been warning for years that sometimes, I’ll be the only person reading this blog who gets it. But I do hope you get this one. In the annals of bubblegum, if not in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll itself, precious few other records vibrate with such shimmering teenage passion.

2 thoughts on “Their First Time

  1. porky

    as a bubblegum fan, great post! The best bubblegum DESTROYS lots of so-called rock and roll of the time, the grab-an-acoustic guitar-and-sing-about-going-back-to-the- garden stuff that clogs the halls of that building in Cleveland.

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