Why LFO’s “Summer Girls” is the song I love to hate

I’ve never quite gotten over how stupid this song from 1999 is. It’s just that bad…and good. 


The year was 1999 and Rich Cronin, the ambitious, young, lead singer of the band Lyte Funky Ones (LFO for short) had a terrible case of writer’s block. He had one night to create a hit song for his group before a big meeting with record execs the next day, but he could think of nothing. Frustrated, he grabbed a book of Mad Libs on his mom’s coffee table and decided to use it for inspiration. After a couple of minutes of work, he came up with the following lines that will go down in music infamy.

New Kids On The block, had a bunch of hits. Chinese food makes me sick.

And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer 

I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch. I’d take her if I had one wish

but she’s been gone since that summer

While this isn’t the actual story, it might as well be. I love to hate this song. Its lyrics make about as much sense as the finale of Lost. Let’s travel down this roller coaster of emotions together. I’ll sing but if you know the worlds, feel free. Lyrics are in bold and underlined.

[VERSE 1] 

Hip Hop Marmalade spic and span,

If there is one thing that I respect about my boy Rich Phony Quan (RPQ) it’s the fact that he cuts straight to the chase. He’s the guy on Tinder whose first message is “You want the pipe?” The first three words of  the first verse lets you know that this won’t be your average pop song. Can someone please tell me what “Hip Hop Marmalade” is? Have a group of urban musicians partnered with Heinz to make a line of minority-targeted condiments to put on your toast. If not, let me make the following suggestions:

  • Techtonic’s “Pump up the” Jam
  • You Got Served” Preserves from Omarion
  • I don’t think you’re ready for this” Jelly by Destiny’s Child

and my favorite

  • Chuck D’s Chutney

Get Smuckers on the line. I have product to move.

Met you one summer and it all began

You’re the best girl that I ever did see

After a rough start we’ve finally got down to the story at hand. After using the chorus to tease us of this girl who broke his heart, I now have questions about this girl. Who is she? What did she do to Rich? And, of course, which one of the Hip Hop Marmalades was her favorite? WE NEED ANSWERS RICH! WE NEED TO KNOW!

The great Larry Bird Jersey 33

This is the first of the many non-sequitors that are the reason I love/hate this song. I really wish I could ask Rich about his writing process on this because there are no logical connections between some of these lyrics. What does Larry Legend have to do with anything that was said before?

It is ironic though because unlike Rich, Larry Bird is one of the best white people to do a black thing in the history of appropriation. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of “white people doing black things” along with Elvis, Eminem and Paula Dean.

When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet

Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. RPQ strikes again. After going back to a (somewhat) reasonable line, RPQ couldn’t help himself and wrote pretty much the antithesis of a Shakespeare line. WHO THE FUCK CALLS SHAKESPEARE BILLY? Billy is a name of an infomercial salesman trying to hawk you Tae Bo or OxiClean.

Call me Willy Whistle cause I can’t speak baby

This was one of the two references I actually had to look up for this post. Apparently Willy Whistle was a Boston clown that appeared on public access show for kids. His voice was a whistle (not baby talk) that only the people on the show could understand, like the parents in Charlie Brown. Thank you Rich for adding a line that 1) isn’t even factually accurate and 2) no one that isn’t Matt Damon or Ben Affleck would understand.

Something in your eyes went and drove me crazy

Now I can’t forget you and it makes me mad,

Left one day and never came back

Probably because you called William Shakespeare Billy, you asshat. By the way, mad and back don’t rhyme.

Stayed all summer then went back home,

Macauly Culkin wasn’t Home Alone

Ladies and gentlemen he’s done it. Not only has RHQ dropped another non-sequitor but he has managed to drop one that doesn’t make sense. He’s made a non-sequitor that’s a non-sequitor. The rare Non-sequitor Squared.

Fell deep in love, but now we ain’t speaking

Michael J Fox was Alex P Keaton

Out of all the Michael J Fox characters he played you chose Alex P Keaton? You had Marty McFly, Teen Wolf, STUART “FREAKING” LITTLE. Come on man!!!

When I met you I said my name was Rich

You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch


Cherry Pez, cold crush, rock star boogie

Used to hate school so I had to play hookie,

[10 years from now an older me hears this line, takes off my reading glasses, turn to my young child and have the following conversation]

Older Me: Son/Daughter/Gender Non-Conforming Offspring, this is why you need to stay in school. If you don’t get an education you’ll end up like Rich Phoney Quan over here making stupid songs like this.

My Child: You mean stupid enough to make a song that rose to #3 on the Billboard charts, went Platinum and made RPQ millions?

[After a long pause] Older Me: You’re adopted

Always been hip to the B-Boy Style

Known to act wild and make girls smile,

Love New Edition and the Candy Girl

Hmmm…A theory about the identity of this girl is has popped into my head but I need more evidence before I tell you.

Remind me of you because you rock my world

You come from Georgia where the peaches grow

They drink lemonade and speak real slow

If she’s from Georgia, she probably prefers Sweet Tea. You should travel more.

You love hip hop and rock n roll

Dad took off when you were 4 years old

Earlier you wondered why you two weren’t speaking (before reminding us of the show Family Tides, but I digress). Maybe it’s because of you reminding her of her father’s abandonment. Is that your strategy for picking up girls? Demolishing their self-esteem and throwing out random bits of pop culture?

There was a good man named Paul Revere

Don’t you dare bring Paul Revere’s good name into this.

I feel much better baby when you’re near

You love fun dip and cherry Coke,

I like the way you laugh when I tell a joke

This whole song is a joke.

When I met you I said my name was Rich

You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch


In the summertime girls got it going on,

Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song

Summertime girls are the kind I like,

I’ll steal your honey like I stole your bike

I’m pretty sure that the bike comment was him admitting to a misdemeanor and, depending on what honey is, he may have committed a felony. Can we arrest him before he does any more damage in the third verse?


Bugaloo shrimp and pogo sticks

Wow! He’s actually off to a good start. Any song that references Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo can’t be that bad right?

My mind takes me back there oh so quick

Let you off the hook like my man Mr. Limpet

This was the other reference I had to look up. The Incredible Mr. Limpet was a 1964 film in which Barney Fife turns into an animated fish, becomes a Naval officer, helps the US win WWII and then cheats on his wife by running off with some hussy named Ladyfish. Looks like Rich and the Warner Brothers writers of the 60s were either taking the same drugs or using the same Mad Libs book.

Think about that summer and I bug, because I miss it

Like the color purple, macaroni and cheese,

Wait the Color Purple? OK. Let’s talk about my  hunch from the second verse.

No one watches the Color Purple except black people. Could the girl that Rich Phoney Quan is in love with actually be black? It makes so much sense! Think about it. He begins the song explaining who New Kids on the Block are. What type of girl doesn’t know who NKOTB are but knows exactly who New Edition is? Remember when he had to convince her that Larry Bird was an all-time great? So many dots are being connected. This Hip Hop Marmalade line questions is becoming more urgent.

Ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees

Call you up but what’s the use

I like Kevin Bacon, but I hate Footloose

It is impossible to like Kevin Bacon and not like Footloose. That’s like saying you like Will Ferrell but hate Talladega Nights. That’s like saying you like Michael Clark Duncan but hate Green Mile. That’s like saying you like Tom Hanks but hate Apollo 11. For those of you keeping score Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon were in Apollo 11 together thus meaning that Will Ferrell is three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. It’s actually two (Steve Carrell) but comedy is better in threes.

Came in the door I said it before

 Think I’m over you, but I’m really not sure

When I met you I said my name was Rich

You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch

Oh wait. Abercrombie and Fitch don’t hire black models. Never mind, relax everyone.

1 thought on “Why LFO’s “Summer Girls” is the song I love to hate

  1. Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon were in the movie Apollo 13, not Apollo 11.

    But I agree, I love/haaaaate the song so much. It’s truly a horriblely written song, song I hear it and can’t turn away.


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