Tag Archives: music

A Bit of Commentary, If I May

What follows is a little of what I’ve seen and heard over the last few days, and a little of what I thought about it.  Enjoy; opine; delight in my words.

Beyonce, 4

If you follow my facebook page, you know I stumbled upon Beyonce’s Party last Thursday.  Upon further investigation, I found out that I was just mad late.  The song had been leaked weeks before I discovered it.  However, when I found it matters not.  Since I found it, there is no longer country for y’alls lofty critiques of Bey’s efforts.  Sure, the album doesn’t hit nearly as hard as B’Day or whatever the last one was called.  But who the fuck cares?  All I know is that I am a slave to the groove, and very little of what I’ve heard in the last several months has come close to what she does there.  Yes, I know Jill Scott’s and Ledisi’s albums were also recently released.  And no, I don’t take it back.   That 80s slow jam, synthesizer, harmony thing, coupled with “I told my girls you can GETIT!” on Party is indeed greater than absolutely everything.  It’s one of those songs you tip your fedora to, and raise your glass to, leaving aside everything else that isn’t the pure, unadulterated boogie!

Also, it’s always a treat to get some fresh Andre 3000 in your system.  That brotha may be argyle and buster brown’s out this mug, but he’s also Atlanta, Gawjuh all day long.  He muses in defiance of convention, “I ain’t stuttin the beat… talkin ta me?  girl, why you fuckin with me?  move on, aint nuttin ta see!”  Oh, 3 Stacks.  Thou art the lovely holy grail of i’mma do this my way.  

And finally, I don’t think folk would argue that this is Beyonce’s “best” work, but it’ll definitely do until something else comes along.  And by something else, I mean until she thrusts her hips again this way and that, sayin something country and femininity-affirming backed by a solid bass and a catchy chorus.  Mind you, I’m not an artist apologist, nor am I a  Beyonce “stan,” but in Bey’s defense, I do feel like I get more of a sense of  her in 4 as opposed to what we think or wish or want her to be.  That notwithstanding, Party is my summer jam.  And I don’t mind one bit if y’all sit this one out; your absence on the dance floor leaves more room for my drink and two-step.   Here’s the song if you haven’t heard it.

Look at her. Just, look at her.

In The Club:  “I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and we’re supposed to swoon?”

On Saturday night, we celebrated a good friend’s birthday, and her forthcoming voyage to the Republic of Zambia, where she will do the people’s work with the Peace Corps for the next twenty-seven months.   I shudder to think of the comforts she is giving up over the next two years, but I know she is uniquely qualified to do it.  I wish Miss Nia well, and I am incredibly proud and awed by the work she’s about to do.  I am positive that she will leave her mark Zambia, and that the people she will serve will be better having met her.  Good luck, babygirl!  We love you!

Now that that’s out of the way… there was some shit I saw Saturday that I’ve seen for years but never really had the platform to discuss.  Lucky for you, I has that now.  Here we go:

Ladies, y’all are way too thirsty for the less than minimal effort these dudes put into wooing you.  From attire to attitude, reciprocity is virtually invisible.  Ladies get dressed up to go out, dudes just get dressed.  I mean, cats aren’t even wearing their flyest fitted cap anymore, or their cleanest white tee!  They don’t even dance with you!  You drop it like it’s hot in 6 inch pumps, and he stands there with his feet planted and his shirt untucked.  Mouth open and shit.

Y’all chase these cats all over the club for them to just  stand there.  And look atcha.  Which, I admit, wouldn’t be so bad —  I’m given to voyeurism on occasion.  But fuck your roaming eyes if your mouth doesn’t close, and you look like and smell like eighth grade.  Sistas, raise your fucking standards.  Brothas, step your fucking game up.

True Blood

I am 3 seasons late on this joint.  But in my view, it is a completely absurd, debauched, and delicious way to spend your Sunday evenings.

That is all.  As you were.


How We Love

…is a song by Gretchen Parlato, introduced to me by the only person for whom I’d pass up an evening with Quentin Tarantino’s record and red wine collection.

How We Love is but one verse and one refrain.  If it speaks to you though — if it addresses how you love your Love, one verse and one refrain is all you need.

If it speaks to you.

When I was a kid, I usedta lie in bed at night listening to my walkman, hoping one day I’d know the kinda love that Boyz II Men and them usedta be singin about.  Back then, I liked the songs but I couldn’t tell you why.  They definitely made me feel a kind of way, but I wasn’t sure why or how or what about.  I remember hearing Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” and asking my mama if folks really sang about what they felt or if it was all made up, just something to record so the people might like it, and buy it.  I grew up concerned about whether or not the cats from 2 Live Crew really were like dogs in heat, freaks without warning?  Did they really prefer their ladies face down, and ass up?  I wondered:  what about her face, Uncle Luke?  What’s wrong with her face?

In all fairness, I can’t compare cats famous for “Me So Horny” with a tender songstress.  It’s condoms apples and oranges; it’s wrong.  It’s just wrong.

Today, many years removed from wishful thinking about love, what I can comfortably speak to is the redeeming, the spiritual, the fortifying power of love, and of love songs.  Unfortunately, much of what’s currently marketed to mainstream audiences has little to do with love.  Mainstream music created after the New Jack Swing era and the R&B roaring nineties is almost completely devoid of real feeling.  It processes virtually every emotion through the filter of sex.  In 2011, love equals sex after someone pays consistently for both the dinner and the movie; and tenderness is sex set to the soulful sounds of your dopest Trey Songz mix.   Y’all be makin love faces nshit.  Good ol love faces.  That’s tenderness, right?

I roll my eyes at so-called Songz, but I get it.  I get what y’all get out of it.  I need more though.  I need a girl with a voice like Gretchen Parlato’s.  To sing the single verse and the single refrain.  Because I feel that she felt “slowing down creates such a beautiful melody/sounds up in the sky all realize/that you and I will go on and on/and on and on/and on…and oh how you love me/oh how we love.”  Yes, yes.  We will go on and on.  I feel it too, girl.  I don’t just get it.  You see the difference?

Listen:

Most of what speaks to me is old.  Like 60s, 70s, and 80s old.  Because them hairy chested, big bearded cats like Teddy Pendergrass and The Whispers understood love (which also could have been substituted for sex, but done so with much more class than these contemporary cats can muster).   And they sang it from the soul.  I don’t know if y’all know Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes like that, but you should.  “I Miss You” is so motherfucking soulful.

Listen:

you can look at my eyes and see/ that a great big man like me has been/cryin,cryin,cryin/cryin my soul and heart out to you…

Like, I miss her for him.

My folks listened to a lot of The Stylistics, The Spinners, The Whispers, and Heatwave.  I came to more diverse soul music a little later in life, largely thanks to @shutupandsing — the only person for whom I’d pass up an evening with Quentin Tarantino’s record and red wine collection.  Because I’m convinced hers is slightly mo’ betta than his.

Although I grew up sort of  ’round-about knowing Aretha Franklin, I was really introduced to the Queen of Soul around 4 years ago.  And I challenge you, too, to not feel this.  2:51-3:30, specifically.

Listen:

And if you don’t feel it, you are in fact soul-less.  Some people just are.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Or maybe it is.  No judgement.  But probably, there’s judgement.

One day during one of those sessions where there’s music and smoke and cold, cold wine, I wished to redo 1974-1978.  I wished to be part of one of those basement parties with the blue lights, where brothas and sistas rocked big ass afros, or sistas worked a feathered Farrah Fawcett better than Farrah herself did.  Indeed, one of them joints where Black 80s babies were likely conceived.  I imagine Soul and afro sheen to be the most salacious of aphrodisiacs during that era.  And in all seriousness, how were you not givin it up whilst slow winding in the almost-dark as Cameo’s “Sparkle” spins?

Listen for yourself:

I get particularly amorous around 2:12, and it only gets better from there.  The brotha sings, “you make me wanna love you.”  Yaaaaaaas…

I think what I hate most about contemporary music is the way it dismisses love, or dilutes it to get to the sex.  You’re right, love is not a necessary component of sex, but love is intimacy.  It’s those moments when time is defined succinctly as either sun-up or sun-down, because the minutiae of minutes, seconds, and hours are trite compared to what goes down between them.  Without question, intimacy makes sex so much more than “love” faces.  It makes music so much more than verses and choruses, and life much more than “day in and day out.”  Intimacy gets all up in your shit.  It’s when head and heart unzip breeches and unclasp brassieres, and feels nothing like regret the morning after.

I love love, and I love love songs.  I’ve tried to give you a lil taste here.  But there’s one song in particular that has always risen a bit above the rest.  Its lyrics are outrageous, as are the cats’ mustaches, but the sentiment is fucking perfection.  The song is “Say Yes” by the Whispers.  My parents LOVED this song, and so do I.  Listen closely for the following lyrics:

  • I wanna soak into you like rain/make love until my energy drains/and as lust erases all shame/you’ll scream my name/out of pleasure not pain/if you just say yes

AS LUST ERASES ALL SHAME!!

  • …ooh like raindrops on a flower/come bathe in my love shower/then let me blow/your body dry/kiss the tears from your sexy eyes…

LET ME BLOW YOUR BODY DRY?!  Say word.  Blow it dry??

  • I wanna build/you a dream home/made of love not just wood and stone/give you the deed to all that I own/give you love beyond limit/give you babies in our image…

Give you the deed to all. that.  I.  own.

Listen:

Now, if any regular somebody carried on like this, I’d be mad skeptical.  We don’t love this way, nor do we talk about love this way anymore.  But we should.  We definitely should.

As an epilogue to this great literary work, please find LTD below.  And simply let it play.

You’re welcome.

With love,

M.A.G.


In a Sentimental Mood

...come on and go with me. come on over to my place.

I’m lovin expressions of love.  Not so fond of those grocery store red roses in cellophane wrapping, and the shitty chocolates that most cats will buy their ladies today.  But I do love the sentiment behind it — the “thought that counts.”  Of course, what you do on Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be limited to Valentine’s Day, but that’s a lesson for another day.  Because even if you aint shit the other 364 days of the year, Valentine’s Day is your yearly reminder of how to be a decent significant other to somebody.

Be grateful for the forgiving and gracious nature of the feminine species.  Because even if you select from the Valentine’s options at CVS, she’ll still appreciate it.  Of course, you can do better, but at least you did something.  And that probably carries enough weight to get you a good kiss, a lil bit of tongue, and a few brushes up against her booty.  However. Aim higher and you just might be in for a long night, and breakfast in the morning.  A little bit of effort can yield glorious benefits.

Because I’m a giver and shit, I’ll share a few tips for setting the stage for a sexy evening.

  • Buy flowers.  Or pick em’.  But do have them and ensure that they are gorgeous and fresh and free of filler — toss that baby’s breath shit and the extra greenery.  Choose an exceptional flower and you won’t need the extra distractions.
  • Be creative.  I think cats wrap themselves in I aint got no money, or me and my girl don’t need no gifts bullshit because they still don’t get that it’s never really about the gift, or the coins you spent on it.  A unique expression of your affection may not cost you much more than time.  And you can give that.  —  Don’t be no fool though, Tiffany’s will go a hell of a lot farther for you than a homemade card.
  • Respect the element of surprise.  There’s no substitute for opening the front door to a room filled with candlelight and rose petals, and the right song.  Except maybe if it’s the bathroom door, and the tub’s overflowing with bubbles.  Yeah, make that happen.
  • The “mix tape.”  Fuck whatcha heard about romance being corny and/or dead.  It works. Sifting through your life’s soundtrack, plucking out the song that best describes that dope ass feeling you felt that time with that person requires a certain level of engagement and attention.  And she loves that.  Trust me, she loves that.  Besides, the music and that memory will last well after the chocolates are stale and the flowers have died.  And that stuffed animal is more or less in the way of your real, adult life.
  • “Turn off all the lights, and light some candles instead.”

I feel like every blog worth its arrogance has a Love Song List as its rite of passage.  In keeping with tradition, here’s my offering.  You’re welcome, mufukkas.

1.  Garden of Love – Raheem DeVaughn

2.  Adore – Prince

3.  Sparkle – Cameo

4.  I Wanna Be Closer – Switch

5.  Superhero – Esthero

6.  Hey Now – Carl Thomas

7.  Easy Conversation – Jill Scott

8.  Love TKO – Teddy Pendergrass

9.   Send It On – D’Angelo

10. Submerge- Maxwell

11. You Move Me – Cassandra Wilson

12. Closer – Slum Village

13.  Reasons – Faith Evans

14.  Lay Your Head on My Pillow – Tony! Toni! Tone!

15.  The Look of Love – Isaac Hayes

*Feel free to edit accordingly, but do apply liberally.*

Happy Valentine’s Day, yall!