I had no idea until the other day that the word snafu began as an acronym in World War II that stood for "situation normal all fucked up." Now I'm wondering if Fubar, the Star Wars character name I was given by my childhood friends, had a double meaning.
But let me tell you about a snafu in terms of Philly soul, the subgenre of music I love so much. I recently heard Teddy Pendergrass's "Turn Off the Lights" for the first time in a very long time. It was written by Philadelphia International Records maestros Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, but it's not one of their better songs. I doubt they consider it one of their crowning achievements, either, but it's hard not to wince at the following lyrics:
Let's take a shower, shower together
I'll wash your body and you'll wash mine, yeah
Rub me down in some hot oils, baby
And I'll do the same thing to you
Just turn off the lights, come to me
Girl, I wanna give you a special treat, you're so sweet
Turn off the lights and let's get cozy
See, you're the only one in the world that I need
You can write better lyrics than those for the Teddy Bear, K-Jee and El-H! (Plus the rhyming of "treat" and "sweet" in this sort of R&B number, followed by Teddy making a kissing noise, is too cute—either you talk dirty or you don't.) What the world needs now—and what it needed even in 1979—was subtlety. "Turn Off the Lights" was made for the Quiet Storm, after all, not the Loud 'n' Tacky, Cologne-on-the-Crotch Storm. Some say that kind of storm could signal the end of days, so let's not push it. Teddy, on the other hand, can push it all he wants after he and his special lady "Close the Door," but I don't need to hear about it—or hear the words to "Turn Off the Lights"—ever again.