Top 40 single reviews

Cherry Lips (Go, Baby, Go!)
Album: beautifulgarbage
Year: 2001


After reading JT LeRoy's autobiographical novel, Sarah, Shirley Manson was inspired to write a song about it. In the novel, the narrator recalls growing up with his mother named "Sarah" who was lot lizard (truck stop whore). At 12 years old, she dressed him in a blonde wig and high heels, servicing the local men came to the truck stop. However, he aims to be as well-known and legendary as his mother. He changes him to Sarah and heads for other truck stops.

Shirley Manson encourages Sarah to find his own version of home and family in the sharp, chic pop of "Cherry Lips (Go, Baby, Go!)"

A tempting guitar accompanies Manson as she fondly describes an encounter Sarah recently had. She's twenty-one now and loyal to the men she services. However, to her men she appears to be inexperienced and naive. But once problems occur, she knows when to leave the section of town she's in. She had grown up, wanting to be the typical person who works. But she grew to love her role as Sarah and the hedonistic lifestyle. ("she gave you everything she had/but she was young and dumb/she'd just turned twenty one/she didn't care to hang around/
so when the shit came down/why she was nowhere to be found/this life can turn a good girl bad/she was the sweetest thing/that you had ever seen.")

The drums clap and pound in the chorus, creating a tawdry atmosphere. Manson nurtures Sarah, telling her that she's a fragile person in her wild world. Eventually, she will need someone to be there for her once she is fully consumed in the world she lives. ("you're so such a delicate boy/in the hysterical realm/of an emotional landslide/in physical terms.")

She wears cherry red lipstick and a blonde curly wig. Her good looks charm and allure men. Her usual outfits are hot pants and high heels. The men's jaws drop at her beauty, believing her to be the most beautiful girl they'd ever seen. All she would have to do is simply glance their way and smile. She cheers men up with her only her presence. ("with your cherry lips and golden curls/you could make grown men gasp/when you'd go walking past them/in your hot pants and high heels/they could not believe that such a body was for real/it seemed like rainbows would appear/whenever you came near the clouds would disappear/because you looked just like a girl/your baby blues would flash/and suddenly a spell was cast.")

In the bridge, church bells toll as she explains that Sarah is vulnearable and saintly. People love her. Her bubbly personality has helped her out of another scrape. Garbage touches upon the religious imagery in the novel during the bridge. It's an intelligent and subtle choice. ("you hold a candle in your heart/you shine the light on hidden parts/you make the whole world wanna dance/you bought yourself a second chance.")

Sarah now has a group of followers, including Manson who are enarmored by her. ("go baby go go/we're right behind you/go baby go go/yeah, we're looking at you/go baby go go
oh ,we're right behind you/go baby go baby/yeah, we're right behind you/go baby go baby
oh, we're right behind you/go baby go baby/yeah, we're looking at you/go baby go baby
oh, we're right behind you/go baby go baby/yeah, we're looking at you.")

The bridge is repeated but "go baby go go" is now sung every other lyric. It's sung as though it were the chorus. The instrumentation is the same. Then, the chorus' lyrics follow. ("you hold a candle in your heart/go baby go go/you shine the light on hidden parts/go baby go go/
you make the whole world wanna dance/go baby go go/you bought yourself a second chance/
go baby go baby go/delicate boy/go baby go baby go/in the hysterical realm/go baby go baby go/of an emotional landslide/go baby go baby go/in physical terms
go baby go go/go.")

At the end, Manson says Sarah has everyone's attention and waiting for her next action. ("yeah, we're looking at you/go baby go go/oh, we're right behind you.")

Manson's loving "Cherry Lips" fuels curiousity about LeRoy's novel. She characterizes Sarah as a young woman who has been damaged by the world. However, she can still be rescued. Manson's admiration for the novel shines through. Manson fell in love with the character of Sarah and through the single, made her human.

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