Jheri Curl June: Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car”

Back on the second day of Jheri Curl June, we talked about Slave‘s romantic stalker anthem “Watching You.” Today, we revisit the theme of benign-sounding pop songs that, upon closer examination, are actually about harassing women, with Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car.”

Now, before you start categorizing me as a rape-culture Debbie Downer… just watch the first 30 seconds of the video after the jump.

All right, now this dude pulls up to a car wash at night, gets out of his car, and yells, “Hey, YOU! Get into my car!” at the only female worker. Now, granted, she’s all into it for some reason, but men, take note: it is not okay to yell at a woman to get into your car, no matter how long she has been in your dreams. Just because it worked for Billy Ocean in this fictional music video does not mean that this is a valid thing to do. This is not romantic, it is harassment.

Now that we got that bit of business out of the way, we can get back to the rest of the music video, which is completely bonkers. First of all, on the list of stupid, mundane settings for a music video, a car wash is right up there at the top. To add some kind of visual interest, Billy Ocean forgot to roll his windows up and his car fills with water. But he doesn’t seem at all bothered by the fact that his car interior is being damaged, and is more concerned with holding his nose for five seconds before remembering that he’s Billy Fuckin’ Ocean, water is literally his last name so of course he can breathe under it! Then the cartoon animals show up, and that’s when things get really weird (what was it with the late-’80s fad of having cartoon animals in live-action videos?).

After the car wash, Billy Ocean drives off with the woman of his dreams and, after a brief pit stop in which he leaves her in the unattended car a few feet away from what appears to be a man in a bra and suspenders bathing in the spray from a fire hydrant, the two pull up to a drive-in movie. The film conveniently features Billy Ocean in an oversized white coat with that stupid animated duck, who has abandoned his B-boy outfit for a zoot suit, whaling on the saxophone. Despite the fact that the “movie” is just Billy Ocean dancing around on a stark black background, the audience seems riveted, especially when the REAL Billy Ocean magically jumps out of the screen… but wait, isn’t Billy Ocean also in the audience? What the HELL is going on?! Maybe this is a peek into Billy Ocean’s dreams. If that’s the case, I think I’ll stay out of both his car AND his dreams, thank you.

©Jive Records
©Jive Records

“Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, thanks in part to the video–which, believe it or not, was innovative for 1988.  And though I’ve spent the entirety of this post making fun of the song and the video, I actually love both.

But, hey, if fruity R&B and goofy music videos aren’t your thing, GWAR, the heavy metal group best known for their grotesque stage shows that involve spraying the audience with fake body fluids, covered the song in 2013 as part of an A.V. Club cover series and have since added the song to their live set.

Get Billy Ocean out of your head and into your car stereo with the Spotify playlist below, and we’ll see you again tomorrow:





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