Getting bugged driving up and down the same old strip

Time for some more lyrics analysis, and there are few songs riper for study than I Get Around, the Beach Boys’ paean to dawdling in a car on a Saturday night and ogling girls. Specifically:

My buddies and me are getting real well known,
Yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone

Lyrics, even those of the Beach Boys, don’t get much more thought provoking than this. The question is: have the boys attained the best of the four available scenarios? Obviously, it is preferable to the bad guys knowing them and not leaving them alone, and indeed the bad guys not knowing them and not leaving them alone. But is it better than the bad guys not knowing them and leaving them alone?

Does the bad guys’ knowledge of the boys suggest that they might interfere with them in future? Were they scared off in the past, and if so will their wounded pride cause them to return, better armed, to settle old scores?

Who are these bad guys, anyway? Are they generic finger-clicking punks in Letterman jackets of the type seen in West Side Story, henchmen in orange boilersuits, or literary antiheroes like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights or Humbert Humbert from Lolita?

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11 Responses to “Getting bugged driving up and down the same old strip”

  1. yarb Says:

    If the bad guys didn’t know the Beach Boys, and left them alone, then there would be possibility of the bad guys becoming acquainted with the Beach Boys in the future, and potentially ceasing to leave them alone. Clearly then, it is better that the bad guys know the Beach Boys, and leave them alone, a state of affairs to my mind more stable than the other possibilities – although whether the Beach Boys, and Brian Wilson in particular, would place as much value on stability as I do is open to debate.

  2. Tom L Says:

    If I were the narator’s buddies, I’d be worried. He’s a capricious friend, who skips town when the fashions change, or the going gets rough:

    “I’m gettin bugged driving up and down the same old strip
    I gotta finda new place where the kids are hip”

    Note how carefully he takes the time to stress that he (“my buddies and me”) is somehow a different and separate entity from his buddies. This leaves him the cut-throat defence against his buddies should too much “getting around” cause the bad guys decide to re-assess their policy of non-engagement towards his buddies. The narrator can claim he’s not with his buddies and plead to the bad guys that the present state of non-engagement should persist with regards to himself only, since he does not share the characteristics of his buddies that brought about the shift in the bad guys’ policy towards them.

  3. rivergirlie Says:

    tcha! ‘me’ is the object pronoun and ‘real’ is not an adverb. mayhap the bad guys are avoiding the gentleman in question, as well as his buddies, because they have become increasingly aware of their lamentable grammar!

  4. pouletnoir Says:

    Yarb: You may be right. With all that driving up and down different strips they’re bound to get noticed by the bad guys sooner rather than later.

    Tom L: Note how the narrator also mentions that “the guys” go steady with their girlfriends while he makes no such avowals about his own relationships. What is to separate him from the “bad guys” anyway?

    Rivergirlie: Ah, so the bad guys are Robert Robinson and Stephen Fry?

  5. Tom L Says:

    Isn’t their “best girl” their car?

  6. pouletnoir Says:

    Brian Wilson is still performing, judging by the amount of publicity the BBC is churning out about his appearance at Abbey Road. Could he not be persuaded to re-record his song thus?

    My buddies and I are getting really well-known
    Yes, the bad guys are aware of who we are and have tacitly indicated that they will not interfere with our well-being

  7. Tom L Says:

    This original vid for Get Around does make you wish the bad guys would get around to messing with them (particularly the one far left, who dances like he’s urging on a stoning):

  8. pouletnoir Says:

    He does seem to be the Bez of the Beach Boys.

  9. Laz Says:

    I think they were referring to Charles Manson and his family…

  10. Erik Says:

    The narrator has a cool head, makes good bread, never strikes out with the girls, and has a car that can’t be beat. All he needs are some hipper kids to hang out with – so he searches, town to town. When bad guys confront him, he probably either bribes them (real good bread) or reasons with them (real cool head) until they agree to leave him alone.

  11. Hyla Picta Says:

    Dont get all hung up on bad guys leaving them alone. Part of the excitement of a different “strip” is the potential threat (or not) of new bad guys. I mean, how can you never miss with the girls you meet, without some “interplay” with their (the girl’s, that is) local bad guys. Be cool with the bad guys, and the girls will be yours. Dig?

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