Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover

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"Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"
Sophiebhawkins-damniwish1.jpg
Single by Sophie B. Hawkins
from the album Tongues and Tails
B-side
  • "Don't Stop Swaying"
  • "Listen"
ReleasedMarch 31, 1992
Recorded1991
Length
  • 5:23 (album version)
  • 4:08 (radio/video edit)
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Sophie B. Hawkins
Producer(s)
Sophie B. Hawkins singles chronology
"Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"
(1992)
"California Here I Come"
(1992)
Music video
"Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" on YouTube

"Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" is a song written, composed, and recorded by American singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins. Released in 1992 from her debut album Tongues and Tails, the song achieved success in many countries worldwide; in the United States, it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached the top 10 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway. In the United Kingdom, the single peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Hawkins' second-most successful song on that chart after "Right Beside You", which reached number 13 in 1994.[1]

Song information[edit]

The song's lyrics are written from the perspective of a woman who is observing another woman in an abusive relationship. Her partner has her "chained up" in a "twisted cage" and the narrator is having a difficult time seeing her "black and blue". The narrator dreams of rescuing this abused woman and making her happy, taking away her pain, and being physically intimate with her ("If I was your girl believe me / I'd turn on the Rolling Stones / We could groove along and feel much better / Let me in / I could do it forever and ever and ever and ever / Give me an hour to kiss you / Walk through heaven's door I'm sure") ("I lay by the ocean making love to her with visions clear").[2]

Hawkins has explicitly stated that she is what she terms "omnisexual", which means that a lover's gender does not matter to her.[3] The song encourages people to be open-minded about this as well, with the line "Free your mind and you won't feel ashamed", which is meant to combat homophobia and queerphobia. The homoerotic nature of the song was rare at the time, as not many songs dealt with the erotic or romantic love between two women, but it was not picked up on by a large group of listeners, and it is still glossed over in many articles discussing lesbian representation in love songs.[4][5]

Hawkins performed the songs "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" and "As I Lay Me Down" in the season 4 episode 9 "Herstory of Dance" of the television show Community. In the episode, Britta organizes a "Sophie B. Hawkins" dance in protest to Greendale's “Sadie Hawkins” dance.

Critical reception[edit]

Roch Parisien from AllMusic described the song as "hook-filled mainstream pop".[6] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Hawkins proves to be a star-in-the-making, delivering a charming vocal over a hypnotic, rock/hip-hop beat. Contagious, sing-along chorus renders tune an unlikely anthem, but one that deserves every bit of airplay it gets."[7] Cashbox noted, "The singer/songwriter has a sexy, breathy and slightly vulnerable sound".[8] Stephanie Zacharek from Entertainment Weekly commented that "in the killer single "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover", Hawkins says those words as insouciantly as if she’d just broken a nail. But she still lets you know they mean a hell of a lot more to her than that."[9] Dave Sholin from Gavin Report stated, "When 1992 is done and gone, we'll likely remember the debut of this singer/songwriter from New York's Upper West Side as one of the year's musical highlights." He added, "It's not often when programmer consensus is this strong on a new song by an unknown artist, but in this case, it's totally justified. It's one of those that is instantly obvious seconds after it starts."[10]

Music & Media said, "Listen to the extremely strong chorus to this pop song, and you'll understand why."[11] Alan Jones from Music Week commented, "Brooklyn babe's self-penned multi-textured and multi-format debut is a compelling confection. Soulfully shuffling and coyly chiming, it's armed with a killer hook, and knows it. A curious early fade threatens, before Sophie builds it up again."[12] People Magazine noted, "When a record opens with a song called "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover", you realize immediately you're not dealing with some delicate flower. Hawkins knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it."[13] Pop Rescue stated that "this is a wonderfully breathy song which builds well in the chorus and adds more instruments into the second verse."[14]

Music video[edit]

The original music video for the song featured Hawkins lying on her back in a flowing, light-fabric outfit while singing the song, interspersed with scenes of dancers and of Hawkins kneeling down while wearing a combination of a tube top and essentially a diaper. At the time, television network MTV banned the original version for its erotic content;[15] moreover, Sony Music Entertainment (SME) was still repeatedly banning it from YouTube "on copyright grounds" as of late June 2017. A new video was shot, after the MTV ban, that showed Hawkins in a more conservative outfit of jeans and a flannel shirt, performing the song on a stage together with a band. While the new video was shot entirely in black and white, a significant portion of the original video was in colour (though there were scenes in black and white as well, with some artificial colouring used to artistically enhance the material). A portion of this original video is featured in the documentary The Cream Will Rise.[16] Both video versions used the shorter radio version.

Impact and legacy[edit]

Slant Magazine listed "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" at number 100 in their ranking of "The 100 Best Singles of the 1990s" in 2011, writing, "Sophie B. Hawkins’s debut single starts off discreetly enough, with the sound of New York’s underground, the soft shuffle of a drum loop, and an opening line worthy of Prince: “That old dog has chained you up all right” Prince, in fact, could have written the song himself, except Hawkins took the sentiment of songs like the Purple One’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” to grittier, even ballsier territory. One part Led Zeppelin, one part Rolling Stones, and a whole lot of female fortitude, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” was the most tenacious unrequited-love song of the decade—or maybe ever."[17]

Track listings[edit]

US CD single[18]

  1. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" – 5:21
  2. "Don't Stop Swaying" – 5:32

UK and European 7-inch single[19]

A. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (radio edit) – 4:08
B. "Don't Stop Swaying" – 5:32

UK 12-inch single[20]

A1. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (long version) – 5:22
B1. "Listen" – 3:31
B2. "Don't Stop Swaying" – 5:32

European maxi-single[21]

  1. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (radio edit) – 4:08
  2. "Don't Stop Swaying" – 5:32
  3. "Listen" – 3:32

Personnel[edit]

  • Mixed by David Leonard and Steve Churchyard
  • Produced by Ralph Schuckett and Rick Chertoff

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sophie B Hawkins: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  2. ^ "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" lyrics
  3. ^ "An Interview With Sophie B. Hawkins". GO Magazine. July 10, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Songs About Lesbian Sex"
  5. ^ "30 Lesbian Love Songs: Women Singing About Women"
  6. ^ Parisien, Roch. "Sophie B. Hawkins – Tongues and Tails". AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Flick, Larry (April 4, 1992). "Single Reviews: New & Noteworthy" (PDF). Billboard. p. 67. Retrieved October 24, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Music Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Cashbox. April 11, 1992. p. 5. Retrieved November 1, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (May 1, 1992). "Tongues and Tails". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Sholin, Dave (March 27, 1992). "Personal Picks: Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. p. 48. Retrieved October 17, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. May 23, 1992. p. 12. Retrieved October 22, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Mainstream: Singles - Pick of the Week" (PDF). Music Week. June 20, 1992. p. 8. Retrieved October 2, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Tongues and Tails". People. June 22, 1992. Retrieved November 13, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "REVIEW: "TONGUES AND TAILS" BY SOPHIE B. HAWKINS (CD, 1992)". Pop Rescue. November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Fitzharris, Dustin (July 10, 2008). "An Interview With Sophie B. Hawkins". GO Magazine. Retrieved July 14, 2012. ...she burst onto the scene with her debut album Tongues and Tails 15 years ago and released “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” with an erotically charged music video that was banned by MTV... CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Creme de la Creme by Todd Martinez-Padilla Simmons [1] (Retrieved March 6, 2008)
  17. ^ "The 100 Best Singles of the 1990s". Slant Magazine. January 9, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (UK CD single liner notes). Sophie B. Hawkins. Columbia Records. 1992. 38K 74164.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  19. ^ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (UK & European 7-inch single sleeve). Sophie B. Hawkins. Columbia Records. 1992. 658107 7.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. ^ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (UK 12-inch single sleeve). Sophie B. Hawkins. Columbia Records. 1992. 658107 6.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  21. ^ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (European maxi-single liner notes). Sophie B. Hawkins. Columbia Records. 1992. COL 657735 5.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  22. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2172." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 1959." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  25. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 40. October 3, 1992. p. 26. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  26. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 33. August 15, 1992. p. 19. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  28. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 27. July 4, 1992. p. 24. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 28, 1992" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  33. ^ "Charts.nz – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". VG-lista. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  35. ^ "Notowanie nr549" (in Polish). LP3. August 28, 1992. Retrieved March 19, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  37. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  38. ^ "Sophie B Hawkins Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  39. ^ "Sophie B Hawkins Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  40. ^ a b "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1992". ARIA. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  41. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1992" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 56 no. 25. December 19, 1992. p. 8. Retrieved March 23, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. ^ "1992 Year-End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 51/52. December 19, 1992. p. 17. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1992" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved June 9, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 31, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1992". Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ CD Baby Online Music Store "http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mattpalmer2"

External links[edit]