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Like a Song: Big Girls Are Best

@U2, August 08, 2012
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris


Like A Song[Ed. note: This is the 70th in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]

I'll admit -- I'm not much of a B-side freak.

I know there are fans out there that think many B-sides are equal or superior to their A-side counterparts, but I'm just not one of them. With few exceptions, I'll give a B-side one or two listens after buying the singles (yes, I'm a completist, so I still buy singles), never to return.

But something magical happened when I first listened to my "Stuck In A Moment" CD in 2001, and left it running to hear the B-sides. A bass-heavy hook got me, so I turned it up. The trademark Bono howls pulled me further in and I was soon falling in love with "Big Girls Are Best."

While I'm celebrating the fact that this rhythmic song's got game, I'm also marveling at the lyrics that only Bono could truly pull off well.

Avenue Atlantico 1702
She's cocoa butter, baby, she's the glue
She's got a baby at her breast
She knows big girls are best

Though I'm not a mother, I am blessed with curves, which the majority of my boyfriends have favored, contrary to my self-criticism.

I'm told by my science-nerd friends that my voluptuous body makes me more appealing to a potential mate because on a biological level it demonstrates that I have a greater capability for fertility. I suppose that does make sense, but unfortunately our American society doesn't encourage women to embrace their flesh -- it in fact makes us feel as if we should be ashamed of it.

But what Bono's doing here in this song is celebrating the large. He's raising a drink to the mothers feeding their babies with their well-developed bosoms.

She feels it, every sensation
She's got a smile like salvation
She's got a baby at her breast
She knows big girls are best

Mama mama mama
Sexy mama mama mama
Sexy mama mama mama

You heard it -- she's a sexy mama. And she "keeps it all together."

Yes, gentlemen, that right there is called adoration and validation, and set to a Beatle-esque melody that forces you to hum along, it makes for a pretty life-affirming (though admittedly lighthearted) song. And at the bridge it only gets better.

Bono lowers his voice to his greatest come-hither, seductive growl and proclaims all of the desirable qualities in a real woman as he renounces the opposite.

She's elliptical, also political
Also spiritual, not superficial
Yeah, she's tropical, yes, she's illogical
Those little girls are a pest
Big girls are the best

I often play this song very loudly with the windows rolled down on a sunny day. I feel like I'm spreading the gospel of natural beauty; sharing the anthem of average-weight women everywhere. Encouraging the tortured waifs to switch to 2 percent lattes.

It's one of those songs that demand you listen to it three or four times in a row, because you just can't stop once you've started. I mean, it really doesn't get enough credit.

Have you ever stopped to think how awesome this song would be live at an arena-packed U2 show? What kind of dancing Bono would do as he purrs like a kitten during the "sexy mama" refrain? I sure have. And it definitely would make my dream setlist.

I recommend this tune not just for the men to nod their heads in violent agreement; I urge the ladies to give it a spin in front of the mirror and challenge them not to feel better about their bodies after listening, no matter what their shape or size.

"Big Girls Are Best" is danceable, also magical -- it's out-of-this-world galactical.

© 2012, @U2/Kokkoris.

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