Saturday, January 30, 2016

'Cause I Know How it is, Go and Handle Your Biz

A Musical Intra-Generational Analysis About Musical Interpretations of Gettin' Busy
by R. Beaumont

As you may have read in the past I love generational analysis.  At my age I now often find myself starting to say "in my day we didn't do ****," or "I can't believe these kids today, they are so ****!"

As an aside, I can't believe I now have two teenage daughters!  So this stuff is a part of my daily life. Also, my job keeps me pretty in tune with the younger generations and what they listen to.  As such I really do tend to be a generational apologist.

So with that in mind I would like to analyze a sample of today's music and make an attempt to be that generational apologist.

"Shawty, I don't mind if you dance on a pole,
that don't make you a hoe.
If you're leaving with me
go make that money, money, money...."
- Usher/Juicy J

Monsieurs Usher and Juicy go on to say

"You can take off your clothes
long as you coming home, girl, I don't mind..."

WTF...., is he really signing that?????  And did my daughter just heard those words????

OK, Ryan breath; let's look at this analytically.

Well, it does have a nice beat and while not exactly iambic pentameter it does have an interesting derivation.  M. Usher's lines predominantly lead with a soft "inversion" linking phrases with an delicate caesura.

In that vein we can see a Shakespearean influence where:

"now is the winter of our discontent" or "to be or not to be, that is the question..."

morphs to

"throw some hundreds on that ass, walk her out the club..."

I find myself calling this tri-ambic pentameter adding a pronoun or adverb (some/that/her) to modify the additionally accented "foot" (hundreds/ass/out) which may be a noun or verb thus forming the delightfully sexy triumvirate phrase "on that ass."  It is also tri-ambic in the sense that thinking of these actions is like taking three Ambiens, your actions are likely to impair your thinking and reactions much like the dudes who are slappin' those hundreds on M. Usher's girlfriend's ass.

Ryan approved lap dancing!
But my eldest daughter states "it's a positive message because he isn't jealous and he's letting her follow her dreams!"  Yeah, OK; I guess we can go with that one.  Let's just hope if my daughter wants to pursue lively dance with the investment in all those dance lessons she perfects  Balanchine not balancing on a pole!!! 

So now the middle-aged man in me says; music wasn't like that back in the 80's.  We used to listen to goods stuff like.

"You can say anything you like
but you can't touch the merchandise.
She'll give you every penny's worth
but it will cost you a dollar first."
- the Tubes


"Those soft fuzzy sweater
too magical to touch;
too see her in that negligee
is really too much..... Angel is my centerfold..."
- J Geils Band

or perhaps best 

"No place for hindin' baby,
no place to run;
you pull the trigger of my love gun...."
- P Stanley (KISS)

and for you grandparents out there who could forget

"and givin' yourself to me can never be wrong...."
-Marvin Gaye

You know listening to all those songs on YouTube, they are really just as bouncy and lyrical as M. Usher's ode to his stripper.  What really makes J. Geils' Centerfold any better really?  And KISS?  Well, nobody ever accused Gene Simmons of being a great bassist and that hard bass and Paul Stanley's screaming is actually quiet scary and overbearing in comparison to M. Usher's gentle message of young women pursuing their dreams towards self-actualization.

I kind of liken this to those ancient Greek artifacts we used to look at in history books.  You know, the pottery with some Greek hero killing a man beast to save the pretty young heroine!  Well, what we never see in the history books is what's on the backside of that pottery; which often was that hero gettin' into the backside of that heroine!  :)

Bottom line is people have been talkin' about, writin' about, and drawing pictures about gettin' it on since the dawn of.... well, gettin' it on.  So I say just take a chill pill and enjoy it all.

Because, you know, regardless of taste I sure would like to be M. Usher and be able to sing that song to a lovely lady:

"We can still party hard in your birthday suit
knock that pussy out the park like my name Babe Ruth.
Shawty she just want a tip, I just want to see her strip.
If you *uck me like you love me shawty you might get rich.
Have her own cake, her own place, blow her own gas, no role'
When we in the bed she like to roleplay, tell her friend to join in both ways."

Hey you've got to appreciate M. Usher's candor and brevity - he don't mince words!  :)

Friday, January 22, 2016

We Spoke of Was and When

For the majority of my posts I tell of some AM adventure, of some funny idea that pops into my head, or some aspect of relationships that I want to talk about and then ponder some song that fits as a title.  Sometimes I hear a song and park it in the back of my mind and wait for the right time to use it as a theme or lyric title.

The Man Who Sold the World is a song I've wanted to use for probably three plus years.  I've started posts using it as a title but always veered away.  I wanted to use it in the right way.  The song always felt a bit like me, speaking of a person who seeks connection to a world they are vital too yet only feel tangentially a part of.  To me it feels like a soundtrack to a latter day Stranger in a Strange Land/Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

I've never really been a big fan of Nirvana but I do love the acoustic version of the song they performed on MTV Unplugged.   To me it is one of their best, most memorable performances and probably the most popular rendition of this song.

I had heard the song before on First Wave as one of Richard Blade's hidden gems from his back bin of 80's songs.  I knew the song had a history and so as this blog often does it sent me on a musical research assignment to discover the potential meaning of the song.

That is where I found the actual writer of the song and why I use it today.

David Bowie was never one of my favorite artists.  Sure I liked him and appreciated his work but he was never an artist who occupied a lot of time on my sound system.  And yet songs like Major Tom, Heroes, and Changes always seem to put an exclamation point on parts of our lives.  David Bowie was one of those artists other artists liked and emulated.  And thus much of what we enjoy today emanates from him.

"I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed"
Bowie wrote and then released The Man Who Sold the World in 1970 as part of his third album with the same name.  The other worldliness of the song speaks to an interest in the connectivity of extraterrestrial or ethereal worlds with ours that would inspire Bowie in later songs and movies.  The song seems to be influenced by Robert Heinlein (at least wiki says so) who wrote Stranger in a Strange Land and the Man Who Sold the Moon.  In Stranger and in the Man Who Sold the World the narrator is clearly an active agent in the occurrences spoken of and yet is not clearly connected to the world in which the other characters he encounters are intimately a part of.  The narrator is in essence a voyeur and perhaps critic of the lives he happens upon thus shaping yet not overtly directing society; a witness rather than
an actor.

To me as I look back, I see David Bowie as an unbiased witness and testifier and thus
influencer, though not designer, of the culture of his time.  He presented and illuminated but did not lecture or judge.  For that I admire and feel connected to him.

"I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here
We must have died alone, a long long time ago
Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the Man who Sold the World"