Monday, November 20, 2017

Any Way You Want It

So I've known this song for the vast majority of my life. And I've even known the vast majority of the words for all those years. But I'd never actually thought about any of them, or seen the video, until this week, and both are so much greater than I could have expected.

First, there's the intro, which was the third longest 40 seconds of my life, behind only any 40 seconds of the day I spent deep sea fishing on really choppy seas, where every single one of the hundred or so passengers were vomiting until their stomachs were emptied, at which point they continued to dry heave for hours until finally returning to shore blessed short, and the time I had two ruptured discs in my back and felt like the bones in my hip and leg had turned to lava. And right after those comes that intro.

Then there's the first shot of the band, which has bass player Ross Valory in the EFG, with singer Steve Perry and guitar whiz Neal Schon in the middleground and poor original singer/keyboardist Gregg Rolie hidden in the background. But not quite as hidden as superdrummer Steve Smith, who's hidden by Valory's shoulder for absolutely no good reason—had they simply moved the camera about four inches to the left, he would have been visible (as would the rest of the band) and they wouldn't have had to insert the next quick shot of him in the name of fairness. A sign of how primitive early videomaking was? Of how drummers are so unjustly overlooked, despite the occasional exhortation to give the drummer some? An omen of things to come? (The thing to come most soon is the mini-jitterbug kneeshake Perry executes right before the opening verse starts.)

And what an opening verse:
She loves to laugh
She loves to sing
She does everything
She loves to move
She loves to groove
She loves the loving things
I've never really heard—certainly haven't ever paid attention—to that final line. But now I literally laugh out loud every damn time I hear it. "She loves the lovin' things." You're damn right she does. Those lovin' things? She's not just fond of them. Oh hell no. She outright loves them. Oh my great googlymoogly. Poor T.S. Eliot, never mind Smokey Robinson or Roger Waters, must be (sometimes posthumously) positively green with envy at the lyrical concision.

That may be ever so slightly unfair. After all, later we'll learn that they do indeed sing of said lovin' things—this is simply foreshadowing!

And then there's the chorus:
Any way you want it
That's the way you need it
Any way you want it
She said, any way you want it
That's the way you need it
Any way you want it
Which is a bit more ambiguous than I feel comfortable with. How does he need it? And what precisely is this it in question? I don't feel that's ever properly resolved. (And yet, somehow, looking at this gentlemen, I'm okay with that.)

Watching the video, you can see that Perry keeps wanting to make his trademark circular motions, but perhaps he hasn't quite perfected the move. It's always so instructive to be able to retroactively trace an artist's growth.

But then comes Schon's guitar solo...and it's undeniable. The guy can not only play—he's got oodles and boodles of technique—but he knows how to construct a solo that starts strong and builds, with melodies every bit as strong as the song's main melodic theme.

None of which seems to placate Rolie. Except for one blurry shot where he's smiling in the background, the poor bastard (in stark contrast to Valory, who seems to be having the time of his life) looks like he's in hell—his Paul McCartney puppy dog eyes meets Nick Drake's tortured soul making clear he wouldn't be in the band for much longer.

Also, keep an eye out for the quick shot of the board for absolutely no reason whatsoever. A nod to Buñuel, one assumes.

And then there's that last twenty seconds of the video. You're thinking that watching the record return to its resting place is the emotion capper, or perhaps that it's the early music video equivalent of Satre's No Exit...but either way, you're wrong. Because just when you think this primitive video offering can't get any more transcendent, there's that final shot of Perry doing his best Arthur Fonzarelli, which only goes to emphasize just how magical Henry Winkler was, and how difficult to pull off that level of cool really is.

Finally, why the hell is the video—from the official Journey channel—ever so slightly out of sync? What are they trying to say with such an unorthodox presentation? I know it means something, that it's just not just a sloppy oversight. It's got some much deeper meaning and I must know. (I'll even let them explain what the it is.)

No comments:

Post a Comment