Joe West walks the line between genius and insanity that is Jessie J’s latest single.

Most pop stars don’t want you to look at their lyrics too closely. If they’re not overburdened with clichés, they’re usually completely nonsensical or dragged down by drab language. And to a degree all these things are true of Bang Bang. It even has a chorus melody that constantly reminds me of the verses of Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. But there’s something quite satisfying about suspecting a song of being a higgledy-piggledy mess and then finding out that, yes, it is just that. And with a rap verse from Nicki Minaj onboard, replete with product placement and sexual imagery, this is a richly ridiculous track to tear down.

Verse 1
She got a body like an hourglass, but I can give it to you all the time
I like a woman to have the body of an hourglass; no head or legs, just a transparent torso filled with sand that can be used to time rounds of Boggle.

She got a booty like a Cadillac, but I can send you into overdrive
Man, that butt...that butt is a butt in which you could keep a set of golf clubs & maybe a few miscellaneous receipts that you’ve been meaning to clear out.

(You've been waiting for that, stop, hold up, swing your bat)
A penis is a bit like a bat, but it’s not really something you’d want one to resemble on a 1:1 scale. It would cause a lot of issues for the man, both sexual and sartorial.

See anybody could be bad to you,
But if they are you should just turn around and moonwalk into the sunset.

You need a good girl to blow your mind, yeah
What I actually need is a new winter coat. But this is an article about a pop song, not a shopping list. At least in theory.

Bang bang into the room (I know you want it)
Jessie J rides into most rooms atop a pair of gently smoking cannons. She is totes piratical.

Bang bang all over you (I'll let you have it)
This sounds like an allusion to some pretty slapdash lovemaking, when I’d argue that the most important thing is precision.

Wait a minute let me take you there (ah)
Said the harried taxi driver.

Wait a minute 'til ya (ah)
Ejaculate prematurely?

Bang bang there goes your heart (I know you want it)
They wrote this while playing Surgeon Simulator 2013.

Back, back seat of my car (I'll let you have it)
Choose your own dogging joke.

Wait a minute let me take you there (ah)
Wait a minute 'til ya (ah)

Verse 2
She mighta let you hold her hand in school, but I'mma show you how to graduate
Yeah, graduate to doing something really rude, like a stealing a glance at him across a coffee shop.

No, I don't need to hear you talk the talk, just come and show me what your mamma gave
A delicious lasagne to put in the freezer for later.

(You've got a very big shhhh, mouth but don't say a thing)
I like that a lot of sexy talk in songs involves one person telling another person to shut up. This is because it is very hard to say something sexy on purpose.

See anybody could be good to you,
You need a bad girl to blow your mind

When all else fails, repeat bits of the first verse in the second.


Verse 3 – Nicki Minaj
(You know what girls?
Let me show you how to do)

I am ready to learn how to do. Proceed.

It's Myx Moscato
This is a Minaj-endorsed wine-fruit infusion beverage. And the funniest thing about this product placement is that only by actually looking at the lyrics will its inclusion become apparent.

It's frizz in a bottle
The secret ingredient is unkempt pubic hair.

It's Nicki full throttle
'Full throttle' sex sounds like the kind of urgent intercourse you'd have moments before an asteroid wipes out humanity. Not, you know, on a weeknight.

It's oh, oh
Just given up on words for this line have you?

Swimming in the grotto
Please fix the burst pipe, Santa.

We winning in the lotto
It’s good to be involved in a syndicate.

We dipping in the pot of blue foam, so
I want a bubble bath. Is that what this means? Kids?

Kitten so good
It's dripping on wood
This is just the way a perfectly normal vagina should function during foreplay and not the sign of it being exceptional.

Get a ride in the engine that could
The two tenets of modern rap are the mentioning of brands and the referencing of motivational children’s stories.

Go, Batman robbin' it
This line is pretty dense with imagery, so let’s unpick it. Firstly you have the Batman and Robin pun (which doesn’t quite work unless you’re comfortable with sex being described as theft. It’s not only suggestive of rape, but also of crime in general, to which Batman is famously opposed). Secondly the use of the word Batman itself is kind of a pun, because earlier in the song you’ll remember the word bat cropping up as a euphemism for penis. So the Batman in this instance is a man and his ‘bat’, or member.

Bang, bang, cockin' it
But Batman hates guns.

Queen Nicki dominant, prominent
...And an unelected head of state retained mostly for ceremonial purposes.

It's me, Jessie, and Ari
If they test me they sorry

Particularly if that test involves grammar.

Ride us up like a Harley
Do not, whatever you do, climb on a woman’s back and make motorbike noises. Unless she asks you to.

Then pull off in this Ferrari
While I understand the intent, to an English person this line sounds like it describes having a wank in a sports car. Which is a lonely, indulgent thing to do.

If he hanging we banging
“Maybe you’d like to come over to my house. There’ll be refreshments, and banging.”

Phone ranging, he slanging
Meanwhile his hair is thanning due to hereditary baldness.

It ain't karaoke night but get the mic 'cause I'm singing
Surely you mean sanging?

B to the A to the N to the G to the uh
B to the A to the N to the G to the hey

You wish bang had more letters I bet huh?

See anybody could be good to you,
You need a bad girl to blow your mind (your mind)

Chorus to close