Songs of noir part II: “Take Another Picture” by Quarterflash

Quarterflash - Take Another Picture album cover

After going with the obvious on part I, I thought I’d throw out a curveball with part II.

I first heard this song on the radio when I was a kid, which is surprising because it was only a minor hit, peaking at #58. Good local DJs in Madison, Wisconsin back then, I guess.

Even back then, I knew it was creepy. Despite the power pop trimmings, there’s just something wrong with a chorus that goes “Please. Please. Take another picture!” My knowledge of porn at age ten was limited to a couple of issues of Playboy, so I was pretty innocent, but that the song was creepy permeated anyway.

I hadn’t thought about it in forever, until I saw Rock of Ages a few weeks ago. That movie featured “Harden My Heart,” the only Quarterflash song anyone remembers. (Is “Find Another Fool” so easily forgotten? Apparently so.) Hearing a Quarterflash song in a major motion picture triggered an old memory, so I looked up “Take Another Picture.”

Listening to it again, it’s even more disturbing than I thought it was when I was a kid. Daddy issues, exhibitionism, pornography, all disguised slightly by a super-catchy bubblegum melody.

I saw a picture hidden in the bedroom,
Underneath father’s ties.
A beautiful woman caught naked forever,
Black strip over her eyes.

I still remember that picture.
The image sits sharp and clear.
And I’ll never erase that eyeless face,
Still smiling all these years.

Oh, won’t you please, please,
Take another picture?
Please, please,
Freeze my features.
Oh, won’t you please, please,
Take another?
I don’t wanna fade away!


It’s never stated, but I just know the narrator lives in James Ellroy’s L.A. The story doesn’t have a conclusion but I just know it doesn’t end well for our youthful narrator. Her brutalized body is found in a canyon, a side character in one of the crime novels I’ve read where things end up just that way.

In a power pop song, no less!

Quarterflash – “Take Another Picture”