Fighting with the Sky

I Was a Young James Dean [Sing-A-Long Saturday]

Posted on: August 15, 2009

In Sing-A-Long Saturday, I will be featuring a song or artist that I am particularly fond of. I will look at this song or artist through a feminist lens in order to reflect on my investments in both music and feminism. And to promote some of my favority songs and artists, because I think they’re pretty awesome.


“Young James Dean” by Girlyman


I saw Girlyman open for Dar Williams in 2005. I instantly fell in love with them. They play folky type music and have some great lyrics. My favorite song of theirs will most likely always be “Young James Dean.” It was the first song of theirs that I got and I know the lyrics by heart.

Girlyman is comprised of Nate Borofsky, Doris Muramatsu, and Ty Greenstein. This is what Muramatsu had to say about their unique name “Girlyman”:

“It’s great for us, provocative and playful. It makes people laugh. But it also hints at how we’ve never quite fit in. Nate wears make-up on stage, I’m a Japanese-American playing to mostly white audiences. Ty is a grown-up tomboy. The name Girlyman lets us acknowledge that we’re out of the mainstream, but without taking ourselves too seriously.”

I love that Girlyman doesn’t try to pretend that they are anyone but who they are.

And now onto the song: “Young James Dean”…

In the back of a camouflage truck
They locked me in once with the material
I was full of a rage no one could handle
I was a private in the army
All the real girls with their backs turned called me crazy
Called me crazy

I worked for a while at a diner
Manager said I had to wear that little uniform
Said I was part of the problem
But I was in love with that blonde girl
She kissed me twice behind the counter
But when I asked her to get into my car
She called her man, said ‘don’t bother her’
She called her man, said ‘don’t bother her’

I guess I’ll feel less than real all my life
With these feathers I made
Under me lifting me up
But I was a young James Dean
With a way with the ladies
All the real boys in their black jeans called me crazy
Called me crazy
Called me crazy
Called me crazy


This song is, to me, all about struggling to find your own identity and being yourself. The person singing the song never quite fits in with the people he/she is with.

I highly recommend checking out Girlyman’s other music.

Sorry the video is not of great quality, Girlyman doesn’t produce a lot of music videos. The song starts around 1:10:


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3 Responses to "I Was a Young James Dean [Sing-A-Long Saturday]"

I saw Girlyman open for Dar Williams in 2005 too! That's when I fell in love with them…what city did you see them in?

I love Dar Williams, but never heard of Girlyman. Will have to check them out!

Lauren,I saw Girlyman and Dar in the fall of 2005 in Madison, WI. Wouldn't it be weird if we were both there?Melissa,I love Dar Williams too, expect a Sing-A-Long Saturday post on her in the near future!

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