I really don’t do the Meme thing, but seeing as though it’s the illustrious Alfred Soto doing the asking, how can I possibly I say no? Per the Lord.
“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”
That fucking drum machine. And that sultry, purred whisper at the start. The hisses targeted towards you: “ya’ got to.” I still don’t know what I’ve got to do. Jump off a cliff on a uni-cycle? Go wind-surfing with John Kerry? Whatever it is is fine, I’m not going to argue. Tape ain’t going to fix it. It ain’t maternalistic advice VV is offering. There is no salve. No broken bones to patch. Like Warren Zevon once averred: your shit’s fucked up.
Then “Tape Song” explodes into chorus with raw, flesh-eating violence. VV howls “you need to go steal ahead.” It sounds like she’s telling you to go steal a head. Presumably, for her, because she seems totally fucking crazy. It’s one of her finest qualities. “Time doesn’t give a shit about you…honey,” she sneers with contempt cradled inside her sneer. This is The Kills’ version of blues, played by a duo who confused Siouxsie Sioux for Robert Johnson. Music free of inhibition. Whiskey-warped, hair-pulling, dirty noise. Why is this on my songs of Spring you ask? Not because I’ve seen Boomerang or Bound one too many times, but because it’s my favorite song on one of the year’s best albums, one released the first week of Spring in perfect time to remind us that just as everything was about to go light, there remained a need for the dark.
In April, I attended the EMP conference in Seattle. I didn’t mention it on the blog because I figured y’all weren’t concerned with hearing about a bunch of stodgy (and some not-so stodgy) speeches from music critics and academics and moreover, I didn’t have all that much to relay because I ended up meeting someone up there and decided to blow off 75 percent of the conference. It happens.
Since I avoid talking about my personal life on the Passion lest I turn into this girl, I’ll refrain from saying much more beyond the fact that at a time when my already stellar sense of cynicism seemed to be keeping pace with the price of a barrel of oil, the weekend restored a cautious sense of hope. Leaving town, suddenly all alone in a strange city, the memory that lingers is walking through downtown Seattle on a wet, gray afternoon with this song on an sad, ecstatic loop. James’ heavenly wail drizzling down, the moody keyboards washing over the mess of rain and tall buildings, “Touch Me Pt. 2” floating along in its damaged ethereal haze. Out of the thousands of songs in my iPod, at that moment, I couldn’t have imagined another one being more perfect.
So Bo Diddley’s underground now and I can’t help but think that it almost makes more sense that way. Bo Diddley is a tall tale. He always was. When the Brits re-discovered him, he was nearly 40 and had already invented rock n’ roll and the Bo Diddley beat. Bo Jackson didn’t even know Diddley and Bo Jackson could do anything. Bo Diddley is more like Babe Ruth anyhow. He carried a hulking square ax which made him seem like the Bambino lugging around a 40 oz. tree. He probably could’ve eaten 100 hot dogs and drank 54 soda pops in one sitting too, but this is pure speculation.
“Bo Diddley” started it all off right, with him buying possibly fake jewelry and skinning cats to make his girlfriend a hat. Not only did Bo Diddley invent rock n’ roll, he was willing to skin hats for the purposes of haberdashery. That’s hardbody. Today, we get Justin Timberlake sowing his own fedoras. When I hear this song, my shoulders start to juke and shift and my feet can’t stop tapping. I start making weird gun-slinging motions too, which is kind of weird but sort of awesome too. Therein lies the greatness of Bo Diddley’s music, listening to it, everyone can briefly feel like a legend in their own time.
I’m pretty sure that if I were gay and trying to woo a straight into becoming the starting shortstop for my team, I would offer gin, the possibility of doubling their wardrobe and a steady helping of this record. Listening to this could’ve made Wilt Chamberlain wear a Hawaiian shirt, want to hang out with John Waters and use the phrase “zap.” I’m sure I could make a bunch of similarly stereotypical pop culture references, but they’re currently eluding me. Lucky you.
Which brings me to “Hercules Theme,” an impossibly lush, dazzling disco anthem delivered at a time when the much-maligned genre is in the midst of a Lazurus-like comeback. Inevitably, the word “disco” will compel 93 percent of this blog’s readers to skip downloading this track, but this in-another-world blockbuster from Hercules & The Love Affair (re-named from their earlier title, Hercules & The Having Relations), has more funk and soul than any R&B/hip-hop single you’ll hear on the radio this year. And hey, possibly homophobic rap fans, it’s still less homo-erotic than “Lollipop.”