'Girls' is awesome, fer sure
By Daniel Winkel
Waukesha Freeman, July 16, 1982
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Funny thing about Valley girls these days. You can't find one anywhere, especially in the Valley. At least they will never admit to being a Valley girl. Everyone else is a Valley girl but not me. All because of "that song."
The song is a hilarious and sometimes biting parody of the lifestyle and linguistics of teenage girls in the San Fernando Valley. And because of it, Valley girls are now an endangered species.
"We're not Valley girls," said 14-year-old Angie Barad of Encino, referring to herself and her friend, Stephanie Bannister. "We do fit her (Moon Zappa's) description of a Valley girl but we don't fit our own."
Valley Girls made its debut on Pasadena radio station KROQ-FM in early May and since then has turned not only an entire city but a large part of the country on its listening ear. "The first week it came out it was the No. 1 requested song," said Denis McNamara, program director of WLIR-FM in Long Island, New York.
Valley Girls features Moon, the daughter of rock musician Frank Zappa, gurgling away in a disjointed monologue using the jargon of Valley teenagers. The song is purposeful exaggeration – almost satire – of the way Valley teenage girls speak, sentences full of "you knows" and "like" and Valley code words like "bitchen," "tubular" and "totally." And like satire, it cuts deep because it presents young teenage girls living in the Valley as, well, air heads.
Non-Vals (people who don't live in the Valley) find the song condescendingly cute; the joke is always funnier when it's not on you. But some teenage girls in the Valley say the song is embarrassing, an insult and is making their life miserable.
"I think it sucks and I'm going to assassinate Moon Zappa," said one ninth grade girl. "It's an insult," added her friend. Said Barad: "When they say it to you it's not as a compliment. They don't throw it to you as a compliment. They throw it as more of an insult.
"I liked it at first," said Barad. "And then people took it too seriously. We go into stores and there's Valley girl T-shirts. People come up to us and say, 'OK, say for sure, for sure (pronounced fer-sure ).' And we look at them and we can't believe it.
"I like the song but I don't like Moon for writing it."
In an interview, Moon said the song was meant not to put people down but as a funny poke at how Valley girls sound. And she said she thinks Valley girls like the song. "They love it because they are getting that attention," Moon said.
The song, which is on Frank Zappa's latest album, Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch, was her father's idea, Moon said. He told her to improvise the narration and he mixed the five takes into the one heard on the record. A sample:
"Hi – I have to go to the orthodonist
I'm getting my braces off, y'knowIt's like tubular, y'know."
But I have to wear a retainer
That's going to be really like a total bummer
I'm freaking out
Like those things that like stick in your mouth
They're so gross ...
You like get saliva all over them
But like, I don't know, it's going to be cool, y'know
So you an see my smile
It'll be like really cool
Except my like my teeth are like too small
But NO BIGGIE
It's so awesome
Awesome, huh? And if you don't have the faintest idea what she's talking about, that's, like, no biggie. And if you don't know exactly what a Valley girl is, that's totally cool.
"What you really need to do to find out (who a Valley girl is) is keep your eyes open and listen to the way the girl speaks, the way they move," said Moon. "You have to watch their actions really carefully. Body language.
"Their mouth (is) almost as if they have lockjaw or a severe underbite. The jaw seems to be pushed way out. The muscles seem to be straining to pronounce those difficult words. "Not one hair is out of place because they have it in a shag cut. They have nice matching clothes. They like things to match. If you wear something that clashes you're out."
Barad said she considers a Valley girl to be anyone who wears Dolphin shorts, has long blonde hair, hangs out at the beach and listens to heavy rock music. And, she said, "there are girls who talk like that (record)."
It is Moon's squeaky, breathless enthusiasm and a sort of universal Valley type that makes the song so irresistible. "I think there are Valley girls spread throughout the country," said McNamara. "They may sound a little different or look a little different but they are an entity onto themselves."
Here is a glossary of some Valley terms with definitions courtesy of Moon Zappa:
- Awesome: Complete greatness. Used to describe something that can't be described.
- Bitchen: Its use is on the way out. Something that is cool.
- Bitchen twitchin: A very high compliment.
- Barf out: Something that is sickening.
- Beasty: Someone who is socially or physically unacceptable to a Val, usually an enemy.
- Billys: Money.
- Bud or bule: Marijuana.
- Completely: An exclamation, such as something is completely cool.
- Crispy: Someone who is mentally burned out. Often refers to a dopehead.
- Dude: Any Valley guy.
- Edged: Angry.
- Gag me with a spoon: Interchangeable with barf out.
- Grody: Disgusting or dirty. Can be used to the extent that you really like it a lot.
- Geeky: Something that is stupid.
- Jel: As in jello brain, interchangeable with crispy.
- Killer: Used by dudes, meaning something is very, very good.
- Lame: Same as geeky.
- Lick my froth: A new entry. A put down.
- Raspy: Similar to bitchen.
- Shanky: Meaning I don't want to be here, as in something is a way skanky scene. Can also be used in a way meaning you enjoy something.
- Totally: An exclamation.
- Tubular: Has roots in surfing jargon, referring to the tube formed when a wave breaks. If something is tubular, it is too good to believe. Use of tubular is on he way out.
- Way: An exclamation, as a girl is way foxy chick.