Maybe I Mean Yes

Album: Milestones (1991)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Dunn is sending some mixed signals on this song, but they're perfectly clear to her: when she says no she means maybe, but maybe she means yes. Her poor suitor has every right to be confused.
  • Dunn wrote this uptempo fun track with Chris Waters (her brother) and Tom Shapiro. Produced by the lady herself and Shapiro, it was put out on the Warner Brothers label, her second single of 1991, but three weeks after its release, Dunn asked radio stations and video programs to stop playing it after it came under fire from feminists and related agenda-driven special interest groups. Dunn issued a statement to the effect that she didn't want it to be misunderstood.

    Interestingly, according to a report by Kate Meyers and Jeffrey Resner for Entertainment Weekly, WUBE of Cincinnati conducted a listeners' poll and reported: "We took well over 100 phone calls, and 90 percent asked us to continue playing the song... of the responses, 70 percent were female."

    At least one person suggested that Dunn's request was a cynical publicity stunt! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • In our interview with Holly Dunn, she explained how the song idea came from a bit of playful banter from an old Cary Grant film. "We were just coming from a totally lighthearted, flirty thought," Dunn said. "Almost an old-school relationship between men and women with that old-fashioned, flirty game-playing kind of thing that happens sometimes." She didn't even consider a different connotation until the single was released concurrently with an issue of TIME magazine that exposed the growing problem of date rape. In that context, "Maybe I Mean Yes" is an unwelcome response to the message "no means no."

    "I look back on that and think, 'How could I?' Because I was a fairly feminist-type thinker and still am. How could I have been so unplugged from the subject matter to miss that?"

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Classic Metal

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Mac Powell of Third Day

Mac Powell of Third DaySongwriter Interviews

The Third Day frontman talks about some of the classic songs he wrote with the band, and what changed for his solo country album.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Lip-Synch Rebels

Lip-Synch RebelsSong Writing

What happens when Kurt Cobain, Iron Maiden and Johnny Lydon are told to lip-synch? Some hilarious "performances."

Joe Ely

Joe ElySongwriter Interviews

The renown Texas songwriter has been at it for 40 years, with tales to tell about The Flatlanders and The Clash - that's Joe's Tex-Mex on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"