OHGOD I would KILL this shot if I weren’t afraid of looking like I was offering my body up for sale due to the vulgarity of my hips. I do this pose EVERY DAY, alone in apt. 15, simply for my own enjoyment. I’m doing it right now, matter fact.
Funkadelic – “Can You Get to That.” Y’know, ’cause I’m just loungin without my pants on and who better to provide the sounds than George and the crew. The song’s about a breakup but that bassline says otherwise. PS, Can you get to that was like a more formal version of You dig, right? Or maybe more like the ’70s version of You feel me.
Seu Jorge – “Rebel Rebel.” Because sometimes I fuck around and tell people I’m Brazilian, and they believe me, because I have both a trustworthy face and an ethnically ambiguous face. And because I couldn’t find Caetano Veloso’s “Não Identificado.”
Isaac Hayes – “Hung Up on My Baby.” BECAUUUUUSE! I don’t need no “because”! Just listen to it. Plus it’s Isaac, and he has a no-pants rule. I would also like to inform you that I make big money, I drive big cars/Everybody know me.
Name: The Detroit Emeralds, I’m in Love with You (Westbound, 1973).
Is this title acceptable? No. It feels like they didn’t even hardly try. Minimalism and sincerity are fine things, but in the early ’70s lapels were big and basslines were fat. Record titles had to be powerful, memorable. Alas, the Emeralds were victims of the ol’ Stylistics one-up (“I’m Stone in Love with You”). Al Green and his qualifier-in-the-title (“I’m Still in Love With You”) preceded the Emeralds’ album by a year, too.
Produced by: Hm. Things are a little cloudy here. The record is a Katouzzion production, but what does that mean? The surname Katouzian is from Iran, but there’s not even a geographical connection there because Westbound was founded by an Armenian-American (Armen Boladian). The record’s production supervisor is Bob Scerbo, who was already at Janus records when it took over distribution for Westbound. Mr. Scerbo seems to know what he was doing, as he also supervised production on (which I guess is better than plain old produced) The Ohio Players’ Climax, Cymande’s Second Time Around, and Eddie Harris’ Smokin, with this beauty:
Entered my life: Ah, this is a problem. I cannot remember. I know I got it at a Beat Swap Meet and it was at the Echo, an awful venue for such an event. The lighting was really bad, I recall, so it was not just hunched-over dorks flipping through bins and not talking to each other, it was squinty hunched-over dorks. It says $8 on the sleeve but you should know the man who sold it to me charged a criminal $20!I’m surrounded by criminals/Heavy rollers, even the sheisty individuals*. I am complicit in my own poverty, though, since I paid him what he asked with no hesitation.
*independent record sellers in Los Angeles, CA
Global events at the time of its release: Lonnie Liston Smith heard some Cosmic Echoes and did some Astral Traveling, babycakes. I should’ve been alive and of fornicating age in ’73, lord have mercy.
Coleman Young, Detroit’s first African-American mayor, was elected in ’73. The Belleville Three were preteen boys; their uncles worked at GM and they’d visit them in the factory and so years later they’d make music sounding like cars being put together. Motown had just moved to LA, which sort of allowed Westbound and its signees (Parliament! Ohio Players!) to flourish. Berry Gordy was probably tired of the cold and felt guilty about what he’d done to Holland-Dozier-Holland.
Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): Pretty high up there, I think. That’s why the man at the Beat Swap Meet did me like that. (He saw the hunger in my eyes.)
“Incarcerated Scarfaces”! “The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World”! Drums, drumsdrumssss. Also “Lookin at the Front Door,” and “The Light,” which would have been perfect if left as an instrumental plus Caldwell’s sangin, and all of Com’s lyrical cliches and platitudes were taken away. “My heart’s dictionary defines you, it’s love and happiness”; UGH. I was never a huge fan, but I do know things were better when he was bad as Leroy Brown.
Reason for this post on today of all days: 2 things happened–I wore green which made me think of green-themed records, and I saw this picture of Mr. Pasty Elbows um, “guarding” Kareem. I therefore thought of Detroit.
Sartorial accompaniment: “Flouncy-skirted record nerd with too much eyeliner goes to Coachella” is today’s aesthetic. Celery-colored tank and lilypad-colored skirt that I made myself (!) as a much cheaper replica of the $40 AA one I was going to buy. Ha ha, Dov! I support your amazingly progressive labor practices but stop being gross*! HA HA.
*every girl in LA has had a Dov is gross experience, including this girl
Suitable activities while listening: Playing hooky from work, so I’ve really got to make today count. I’ll go to the bookstore and finally give in to the Just Kids juggernaut. OK PATTI SMITH, FINE I WILL BUY YOUR BOOK. LEAVE ME BE.
• The mack god said that just because you meet a ho/And she wear a jersey that say “champion” and eat a bowl of Wheaties/Don’t make her a winner.’96 E-40 washes away the dust of everyday life. Even though the based god has obviously replaced the mack god in my heart.
•Every time I’m jammed I always find a loophole/I got a crime record longer than Manute Bol. The Voice has a good article about the almost-stardom of Big L, a man whose violent death and current status as solemn rap ghost means his lyrical content is too sacred for us to inspect through a terribly critical lens. This is a relief. I wish they’d leave other performers alone in a similar way. If you too are sick of rap writers deciding what our enjoyment of moral repugnance in song says about ourselves and the human experience, we should probably go on a date. Let’s take ourselves off the market and be together, because we’re just annoying everyone else.
If Big L got the AIDS every cutie in the city got it. Big L had a bunch of AIDS raps, which I guess are right up there with rape raps in terms of things that people want to inspect and ruminate on. Whiffle-ball bat raps, snuffin-Jesus raps, there is nothing new under the sun; Judas Priest, 2 Live Crew, Body Count, Tipper Gore found a new hobby thank god, but the West Memphis Three are still locked up. I have intellectual pretensions but overall this is a party blog so I won’t try to address such things or keep yelling at people who think they know the secrets of my heart and brain and want to write Internet essays about why it is bad that we like Odd Future…
but hey, how ’bout “Full Clip”? Remember? So good. The video is a funny rap time capsule, plus it features rare footage of Premier not watching porn.
•It Gets Better is Dan Savage’s beautiful venture and website with messages for gay and lesbian kids currently in the bell jar. Inspired by such a project, a writer at The New Gay compiled a list of the top 19 anti-suicide anthems. OK. Sorry, nice idea, but I have a few things to say. First of all, there’s the cognitive dissonance of a Joy Division song being on the list. I guess I should be thankful there’s no Elliott Smith-? But the main problem is that the list is just so replete with guitar jams by white men–David Bowie, Wilco, Peter Gabriel–that apparently there was no room for any rapping of any kind (ew, The Streets does not count). Personal taste in music is one thing, but leaving out an entire genus of music in the kingdom is irresponsible and makes me want to kill myself! Heh. The New Gay purports that its list is made of “songs that acknowledge how bleak and bad things can get, but by their very existence prove that it’s surmountable.” Oh my god, how weird, I already made a list just like that, starting with Aesey Rock’s “One of Four.” Or any song by any Minnesota MC 5 years ago. Or any songs by any Brooklyn MC, or really any MC from anywhere who is forthcoming about past poverty and endorses the fact that money makes it all right. Sloppily composed song compilations are the worst.
• I like this: Women’s “Narrow Down the Hall.” On Pitchfork they talk about it, linking the words “half-diffident vocals” and “catharsis.” Nobody wants to read that, a boring description of what it sounds like; let’s talk instead of what it makes us want to do (here’s mine: walk down the street in a cotton sundress, in slow motion, filmed by Hype Williams circa ’94 or Benny Boom in ’08 or Little X a couple years prior). “The nice melody plus the chanting over throbby bass” is all I will say to describe it. Something sweet with something simple makes something powerful and intoxicating, like how sugar plus yeast equals alcohol. mp3.
• New Orleans, I love you. But your Jay Electronica has a boring voice and a boring flow, OH NO! All the boys in town love him, so they all stopped their respective activities and got tongue-tied when Jay and Jay (Z’s) “Shiny Suit Theory” was made available this week. Most people loved it; I did not. I find the lyrics to be unbearably pretentious (Egyptology, yawn) and there’s a ridiculous Puffy/Miami mention, plus Jay E. already hada song with a little story about Puffy in it. I appropriately freaked out over Exhibits A, B, and C, and I love my Moleskine too, but that had everything to do with Just Blaze and nothing to do with the MC on those particular songs. I would be happy if Jay Elec would preserve the crazy and become a recluse, and I really would be satisfied with Jay-Z retiring and that’s been true for at least 5-6 years. But I’m usually in the minority regarding both of these opinions. So when I see comments daring to criticize Jay + Jay’s musical linkage, it makes me feel a little more understood by all my invisible Internet boyfriends out there.
Amid a sea of “YES”es and “NICE”s and not-so-funny Jay/camel references (meanies), plus one “I just came” (LOL, sexy commenters), a young man emerges, standing brave and tall, to loudly ask what I was just about to: Where, the fuck, is the drums. I’m in love with this individual and his opinions. Coffee + conversation, Somebody Somewhere?
• The kids around the way used to think that I was buggin; this is because they did not understand how I feel about the funk. Erykah Badu, it turns out, had similar experiences in seventh grade. She’s my pretend sister, my pretend buddy, my idol due to her ability to draw cosmic and pretty-eyed rappers to her naked body (Andre, not boring Jay Elec). All I want is for her to talk about music and let me listen. So thank you, NY Mag, for gathering up all her funky dreams and memories into a nifty slideshow where she explains all of the songs that made her a “child of the funk.” Killing it since the Clinton administration, Erykah washes away the dust of everyday life with her irony-free sweetness that comes through when she talks about these songs. She doesn’t include any Ohio Players or Meters or Curtis or even any James Brown or “I Get Lifted,” but to each her own.
A common trope in the lady-blogger-nerd inbox is the request to talk about music while wearing a bathing suit. First of all, have you seen my blog, gentlemen who email me, ’cause that’s what I do already. Second, I am a lot sweeter and a lot more boring in person–I don’t even cuss, really–so you should probably calm down with that fantasy. And third, I now understand the request. I wish Erykah would talk about music every day on the Internet so I could savor it and think about how alike we are, she and I. Her in a bathing suit is not necessary. I would like her to do a lot of sensual poses and faraway glances out of windows, though.
“Things you’ve heard Logan say” are in bold, below.
On Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing”:
“Oh Chaka Khan, she is our queen. Anyone who sings soul and funk goes through the school of Chaka Khan. She has so many gorgeous songs but ‘Sweet Thing’ is the one — she sung that song from the vagina, from the bottom of her stomach, you can hear it all in her throat, she felt it. The places that she went with her voice, man, it was so scintillating in every way; it made me happy, it made me loving, it made me weak, it made me sad.”
The Isley Brothers, “Groove With You”:
“When I first learned that I could be in love, that that was an actual thing that I could feel, I remember the Isley Brothers.”
Stevie Wonder, “As”:
“It’s a beautiful song. Before I knew what the words said I was in love with the melody. His voice rocks you to sleep, it’s constant in me — his voice is a part of my DNA.”
Soul II Soul, “Keep on Movin’”:
“I remember when I knew that I could do things on my own, I was going away to college, and this group called Soul II Soul came out. (The) song was “Keep On Movin’,” don’t stop. And I felt like, damn, you’re right, I can do things on my own. I can do things on my own and isn’t that just beautiful.”
Rickie Lee Jones, “Chuck E’s in Love”:
“Rickie Lee Jones was the first white chick I saw with a cigarette in her mouth on her album cover and back then that meant a lot. Back then we didn’t have Internet or TV, so everything you knew about the person you knew from the album cover, that’s all you had, you turned that thing upside down and around studying your favorite singer — their face, their clothes, the art, the shape of the words, the look of their fingers. And there she was with her cigarette, she reminded me of a hippie chick and she had this raspy voice and it was just so funky, like she didn’t give a shit, she didn’t give a damn. And that’s part of who I am — Rickie Lee Jones is a big part of who I am — and I imagine her being someone who showed up as she was, I’m just here. And I wanted to be that. And when you really admire a singer or a song you either want to be them or have sex with them, and with Ricky Lee Jones I just wanted to be her, to feel what she said and sound like she did and have the whole experience just like that coming out of my mouth.”
Parliament, “Aqua Boogie”:
“P-Funk. Funkadelic made me love purple and black, it looks cosmic and sloppy; throw a little neon green splash of something oozing and that’s what funk is to me. ‘Aqua Boogie’ is everything I love about a funk song…I’m talking about changing voices, thirteen people, 76 instruments and 900 people on stage… damn, this song was just a cosmic funk party.”
There’s the Stevie Wonder mention, the rapper-who-can-produce and producer-who-can-rap factor, and, of course, the undisputed mightiness of DRUM LOOPS (front and center in every Black Milk creation). And after watching it 12 times, I’ve noticed that this video work that’s been commissioned by Black Milk to accompany the music has every fantastic thing about life, large and small, that makes all the rotten things about life worth dealing with.
An overall masculine carriage. Seeing a handsome young gentlemen from a major metropolitan area executing the getting-out-the-car move, followed by the look-behind move, all in one fluid mating-call performance. I don’t wanna get into or think about the complicated and heavy history between the black man and the white woman in America; I just wanna say Be still my shy, nerdy, suburban-raised heart when I see this, have my heart swell with appreciation and a little lust, and then I wanna move on to the next thing. Watching this part in the video, which is of course in slow motion, I know exactly what all the girls must’ve felt like seeing David Ruffin on stage.
Body needlework in a place that must’ve been painful. Facial scruff. Glasses.
The hero shot.
Legendary humans. Fitteds. Appreciation. Buddies. Bowing your head in reverence to those greater than ourselves.
Feelin like Jesus/Superman. Rooftops.
Ah yes. HERO SHOTS.
Something well-built and shapely that is not a girl in a bathing suit. (although we love those, too). Bending corners. Sunshine on chrome. That shade of blue. American sturdiness (when cars were metal instead of plastic). The city of Detroit. This is also the part where Royce says he’s old school like Dean Pritchard.
Fluffy nimbus clouds and the bright blue sky. People applying themselves (At 1:47, Royce’s voice suddenly takes on a loudness and urgency, like he just realized he’s on a track about slaying individuals lyrically and that song happens to be produced by Black Milk. So, you know, time for the A Game.) Large egos that are deserved due to one’s skill set (“I don’t even write seriously; I just fuck around”).
“Pockets go green like it was Earth Day.” Cash.
German cars. A pop of perfect blue against gray and black and concrete drabness.
That shade of blue! (looks better in the video; this pic can’t quite capture it) White Ts on dudes. (Gentlemen, you’ll never understand it. I don’t understand it. But when they are wrinkle-free and have that freshly-laundered smell, they are pure aphrodisiacal magic.)
Social criticism. Parodying dummy right-wingers. (from the way this is framed in the video, it’s clear that this sticker is ironic and the whole shot has a mocking tone. At least, that’s how it appears to me. But I’m right about most things.)
Rappin in sync with your friend(s) while driving! Is anything better? (No.)
Pausing for introspection. Thinking about yourself and where you fit in this crazy world.
Gerard Victor Atillo, don’t know how you did it but I’m glad you did. Just, next time, try to include Ron Artest, my mom, bathing suits, Nutella, and kittens.
• Why yes, I am still enjoying and cuddling with “Power,” but LAND SAKES ALIVE, what we have here* is some additional fine rap music! The week started out slow, as Gibbs presented more of his unfettered Hoosier testosterone-rap that I can appreciate but that just doesn’t wow me. I mean, I’m a girl. I’m allowed this.
But then Dumile made an appearance (!), then Rae with his mixtape that stimulates my central nervous system, and Kanye returned toting his big booming ego under his arm–an ego that is, unfortunately, absolutely warranted when he makes big booming songs like “Power.” I had all these feelings welling up inside.
Lee Fields and the Expressions – “Love Comes and Goes.” In the battle-of-the-backing-bands extravaganza that takes place in my head, Lee and his Expressions go up against Curtis and his Impressions. (They do it all to see who wins my hand in marriage) mp3.
Rick Ross & Kool G. Rap – “Knife Fight.” RICK ROSS AND G RAP DID A SONG TOGETHER.
Let’s get it: Doom motivation 101! Last of the Ansars/On the microphone, cyclone like Myanmar.Madvillain – “Papermill,” part of the Adult Swim Singles Program. All the boys on the Internet are whining that this song is too short. In response, all the girls on this blog say “Stop complaining” and “How come you don’t hold the Ramones to that same standard.”
• Today in 1966, Ike & Tina’s “River Deep, Mountain High” was released. Did I mention I’m a girl? If you are too, you know and love this song. If you’re male, you probably think you love it as much as a girl could, but no. You’ll never understand and I’m sorry about that. But hey, your bigger paycheck most likely makes up for it.
And it gets stronger, in every way. And it gets deeper, let me say. And it gets higher, day by day. SING IT, ANNA MAE. Girl singer, girl songwriter (Ellie Greenwich), girl bass player (Carol Kaye), plus Larry Levine sitting on a stool behind the glass, Ike no doubt off to the side seething because the song’s creation had nothing to do with him, and crazy gnome Spector overseeing the whole damn thing. mp3.
•This week on NPR, Rush Limbaugh’s biographer Zev Chafets equated Rush with Muhammad Ali.
Dave Zirin wrote a piece negating this idea, of course, which was a courageous but wholly unnecessary thing to do. It’s a fun read, reposted at the Huffington Post from The Nation(where Zirin is normally found, distracting me at work with his excellent sports writing). My piece is entitled Good One, Zev Chafets, consisting of just the words “But seriously though,” and it’ll be running all week on HFS.
•Darryl Strawberry had a big case of the crankys (which I’m guessing is not unusual for him) and shared them with the Mets, popping into the dugout last week and yelling at them to win when they were not giving it their best effort against the Nationals. I would suggest that you do not fuck with Crenshaw High, New York.
• Pharrell’s been wearing the same outfit all over the globe, for many days in a row, and people wanna criticize and say he looks bummy. I say he pulls off the Echo Park boy uniform with much more finesse than all the actual Echo Park boys–and that, along with the almighty spy chord, the greatness of his work with the Thornton brothers, that voice, and of course those cheekbones, makes me fall back in love with him like it’s ’98 and I just heard that Nore song.
(“OMG, HAVE YOU HEARD THAT NORE SONG?? It basically just goes what-what-what-what-what-wh-what but it is SO GOOD” – me in ’98.)
Monk & band at rehearsal, 1959.
•“From 1957 to 1965, the photographer W. Eugene Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film to record the goings-on inside his loft building, as well as scenes from street life visible from his windows. He also made 4,000 hours of audio recordings that captured random conversations, phone calls, radio programs, and above all, many legendary musicians of the day, who came to the building to hang out, rehearse and jam.”
Well then. The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue is a book that I need. No 2 ways about it.
I’m easy; any girl who couldn’t get a job with American Apparel because she’s not shaped like a 12-year-old boy just does it for me. [V magazine]
• Ornella Vanoni, “L’Appuntamento,” which should play in your head every time you see me in a slip, walking around the house to get ready for a fancy, boring party. Sono triste tra la genteche mi sta passando accanto; ma la nostalgia di rivedere te forte pi del pianto. You don’t need an English translation, my man. Just listen.
Unrelated: Sleigh Bells, “Tell ‘Em,” which (don’t get your hopes up) is NOT a tribute to Soulja Boy. Even though I kinda feel like white girls in bands singing sweetly over hard sounds get a disproportionate amount of love and shine and credit for musical risk-taking (I can say this because I’m a white girl, but you can’t), I LIKE IT SO MUCH. Hurry hurry and like it too, before B.o.B. raps over the instrumental.
I. “Little Brother’s Retirement Party” in the Village Voice. The article is good because Brandon Soderberg wrote it, even though he did that thing in music articles that I hate and that is just so popular right now – “(Musical artist) is _____ (doing something seemingly unrelated to music, present continuous tense); ______ (location and mood are established, musical artist shows human/humble side while maintaining artistic sheen and allure).” Soderberg is my OG imaginary writing/nerding-out buddy from way way back; he does a fine job with this piece. Additionally, the picture that accompanies the article is dreamy, I’m introduced to the category “John Kerry hip-hop” and shall henceforth use the term whenever possible, and for everybody who makes fun of me for singing along with J. Biebs on Power 106, Phonte would like to punch you in the mouth! We’re part of the unapologetically-liking-bad-music army. Join us or perish.
“Dude, if you like Gucci Mane’s music,“ he says, “like it! Rock with us because you like us, not because of what you think it represents or whatever ideology you pulled out your ass and put on us.“
YEAH, I exclaim, WHAT HE SAID! BURR!
Then the article reveals that Drake calls Phonte his favorite MC, which casts a dreary shadow upon an article dedicated to the greatness of Little Brother. “Phonte is my favorite MC,” I imagine he yelled, in that loud, LOUD fucking monotone. By the way, how odd that I like Bieber the Canadian Elf extensively more than a semi-attractive rapper who does songs with Bun B. Hm. Never thought I’d see the day. Turn and face the strange. Ch-ch-changes.
II. Montgomery C. Burns and his sideways smirky face and sideways smug talk, quoted in Time.
Boastful braggery is a tough one to pull off without a bag of rhymes and an amazing producer; Dick Cheney has neither, so he never stood a chance with that quote above. When I first read those words, it sounded self-congratulatory and obnoxious. That’s sort of the best thing I ever did, telling another grown man to fuck off. I RULE. Bow in the presence of greatness. It’s not that simple, though, because when you think about it, the words he said are true. It is the best thing he ever did, mostly because it was a rare moment in which he did not increase Halliburton’s profits or send 19-year-olds to the desert. In my soft and girly moments, I think that maybe Dick’s acknowledging what a ghastly job his administration did, and how evil permeated the landscape between the years 2001 and 2008 in America. Maybe he’s trying to apologize. This throws me, because Cheney scary bad man! My head hurts.
“Worldwide trunk funk, no jazz on the East.” A Kool Keith + Doom tag-team rap song, possibly one day? Alas, the Music Gods have not yet made it so. My heart and mind couldn’t sustain the libidinous energy flowing through my slender body upon first listen. Plus I’m sure there’s beef somewhere in their history. Boys and their feelings, you know?
France gets all the ill advertising goodness; my home country gets the ghost of Earl Woods helping his sad, unsexy son sell polo shirts and shoes. America still rules at rapping, though, so I feel good.
That Tiger ad, turns out, was done by Wiegen + Kennedy, an agency that’s really good at figuring out how to tug at my heartstrings (beautiful young men, organized and practiced, displaying athletic gifts) while making me hate myself (the toned bodies of young men of color being used to sell polo shirts and shoes). I miss my childhood, when I could watch that Bo Jackson commercial and feel nothing but joy and not think about Phil Knight’s labor policies or the athletic-shoe-industrial-complex. Goddammit.