Friday, December 21, 2018

I Want You Back

I'm a big fan of the slowed down, acoustic, soulful covers of upbeat pop, rock and hip-hop songs, while acknowledging that it's an approach which had become overdone well past the point of cliché many years ago.

The unbelievably talented Janelle Monae indeed slows down this unassailably ebullient Jackson 5 hit, but rather than simply go the delightful if well-trod twee route, she takes it in a jazz direction without actually adding any swing rhythms—and yet embuing it with an incredible amount of swing. And the results are simply magical: ethereal and yet thoroughly earthy at the same time.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's been fascinating to watch the rise and fall and perhaps rise again of this sorta kinda holiday standard. I don't think I'd ever even heard it until well into this century, nearly this decade. And since I think the first version I ever heard was the version J.D. and Turk from Scrubs put out, the impact was a bit different than it was for many. It was only later that I heard a more traditional version and realized how crazy creepy the song is.

Or is it? I've read several pieces arguing that, taking the era in which it was composed into account, it's actually just the opposite: a female somewhat flaunting conventions in a maybe kinda sorta subtle yet definite way.

There's definitely something to the case. And yet it's hard to shake the (nearly) original predatory feel I had (nearly) originally. Rapey? Transgressive? I haven't decided yet.

But what I have decided is that listening to two of the main voices from Schoolhouse Rock covering the song is incredibly wonderful, as despite her toydoll-like vocal stylings, I can't help but feel that Blossom Dearie did whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.