Desire and a Word

If the Ramones equate their wanna with sleepytime drugs, then the pre-punk Stooges de-wannafy sex. In "I Wanna Be Your Dog," Iggy mutters "Now I'm ready to close my eyes/Now I'm ready to close my mind." The Sex Pistols' "I Wanna Be Me" is more like it. While the Ramones gripe "Nothin' to do/ Nowhere to go," Johnny Rotten warns sedate bystanders to wake up and watch out. He might be answering the Stooges and the Ramones when he preaches, "Now is the time to realize/To have real eyes."

If the Ramones' lead singer didn't truly capture the spirit of wanting, at least he's inspired it. The best wanna song of the '90s, "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone," was released this year by bang-up trio Sleater-Kinney. When vocalist Corin Tucker (whose every breath, wail, whiff, and moan might qualify as wanna synonyms, if not whole treatises on desire) informs you that she's the queen of rock & roll, you not only believe her, you throw back your head and applaud the hubris it takes for a female nobody from Olympia, Washington to even make the claim. And I wanna know, what could be more rock & roll than that? Because even though pop tells you that you can't always get what you want, it lets you ask this one great
big wonderful question: What if
you could?

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