Friday, July 23, 2010

YMD Summer Jams 2010 #9

Kourtney Heart - "My Boy (ft. Magnolia Shorty)"

This is far from the first thing I think about when listening to music, usually, but is there something about a song that seems to want to be a hit real bad but probably won't ever achieve that status that adds a touch of melancholy?

I seem to recall (I guess I should start taking down URLs of smart things I read for future citations) someone writing something not too long ago about how that kind of discourse used to be the reserve of indie-pop fans and now, with so many people making pop/popular-genre music, here we are talking about well-produced, well-performed, super-catchy R&B songs in terms of them deserving to be in the charts but not having a hope in the world.

Anyways, I read about this Kourtney Heart song on ILM last week and it's dope. Magnolia Shorty's "my boy!" backing in the chorus elevates it like 10 steps.

Friday, July 9, 2010

'Specially when you got a cold glass of wine

53. The O'Jays - "I Love Music" (Philadelphia International, 1975)

I was in Boston recently to watch a Red Sox game, and as my friends and I were trying to get back on the subway with the post-game crowd, we saw a white girl about our age using her digital camera to record a video of an African American gentlemen playing some kind of hand drums for money. Being carried around the corner by the slowly moving crowd, she looked at the musician and very earnestly, perhaps as an affirmation of a common bond between them, said, "I love music, man."

Of course we've been laughing about this for weeks, as at the time it seemed like such a hilarious and meaningless thing to say. It has occurred to me, of course, that one of my favorite songs is this Philly-disco hit by the O'Jays. So why was my reaction to the girl in the subway something along the lines of "LOL, dummy" while my reaction to the O'Jays is "fuck yeah, I love music too dudes!"?

Is it because the O'Jays somehow earn the right to express this sentiment because they're making awesome music? Is it because the ecstatic nature of dance music allows us an appropriate context in which to express simple truths? Is it because there was something in a (seemingly) middle-class white girl (seemingly) trying to affirm the worth of an African-American street performer that made me uncomfortable? Was it just me assuming a good percentage of drunk people leaving Fenway are idiots?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

YMD Summer Jams 2010 #8

Sky Ferraira - "One"

AMG agrees, this one is official. It's a single from teen-pop hopeful Sky Ferreira, and is produced by Bloodshy & Avant, who have in the past been responsible for three of our favorite Britney songs of the decade ("Toxic", "Piece of Me", and "Radar") and are hopefully taking a little break from their indie band. It wins (admittedly nerdy) points from me right away for the extra two beats thrown in before the first verse starts and then again before the chorus. There are a few surprises along the way, actually: the amount of direct and stretched out repetition, the barely verbalized bridge, the quickly ascending arpeggios in the chorus and the way they kind of grind to a halt in the coda.

And all those surprises have worked as well for me the 13th and 14th times for me as they did the 1st, yes, I'm obsessed with this song.