By Brandon Adamson
Like Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs’ “Little Red Riding Hood,” Derek’s hit song “Cinnamon” had a charismatic creep theme(the song was actually by Johnny Cymbal, but he released it under his younger brother’s name.) It’s a classic stalker’s anthem, about a guy who isn’t taking no for an answer. It’s never made clear whether the girl might be interested despite his arrogant display, or whether he may even just trying to convince himself to bolster his confidence. There’s a hint that rather than being a predator, he’s the one hurt by the punishment of rejection:
Sneakin down your alley way
And knockin’ on your door
Thought I had enough but I’m back for more
One can almost hear it as a Wonder Years styled inner voice encouraging him to keep trying. After all the stalk talk, he nervously knocks on her door, and she opens it, mildly annoyed. He says meekly, “Cinnamon, do you think we could maybe go out for coffee?”
“No thank you. I have to wash my hair. Maybe some other time.”
As he walks home dejectedly, he begins singing this song again to himself as some sort of defense mechanism and buildup for the next time.
Cinnamon is a pretty hot name for a 60’s suburban teenage girl, maybe even superior to Mercedes(Heather Graham) as the love interest of Corey Haim in the 1980’s film, License to Drive. I definitely empathize with the protagonist of this sexually charged song.
“Cinnamon” by Derek is one of my favorite jams of the 1960s. The lyrics are stalkerish and would trigger most millennials, but it remains to be seen whether it’s a dangerously creepy song or merely a pathetically creepy one. It’s a line fine line we walk. Take a chance and dance around it with us.
You can’t hide girl
I’m comin’ inside girl
Do what you want to
Baby I’ll let you
Might as well face it
Cinnamon you know I’m gonna get ya
Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism“