Saturday, December 1, 2007

Man, if you could just only hear this...

There's a hilarious scene in the first season of Mr. Show where Bob Odenkirk brags about his charity work reading the Sunday comics to blind people. Reading Calvin and Hobbes to David Cross (playing a blind man), he soon gets enraged because he can't explain the panels adequately. "Aww, if you could just only see it! It's so funny!"

I often feel that way writing about music because I want people to understand what the hell I'm talking about without just imagining it. Since my current computer has no sound card and is too old to run iTunes on (yes, that old), I can't post mp3s. Anyway, I'm going to test my writing abilities by trying to explain current songs I'm enamored of, with the help of that most outdated technology, the written word.

"Shell of Light" off Burial's Untrue: The last fifty or so seconds of this song off reclusive (and as of yet unidentified) dubstep producer Burial's new album sounds like either a) an 80s r&b song playing underwater, or b) said type of song with the bass turned up listened to through two different walls. While mostly I hate hearing music diffused through walls since it's just irritating white noise I can't tune out, every once and awhile hearing a song that way moves me immensely. "Shell of Light" recreates those moments.

"Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton: I first heard this song on a cheaply made disco compilation I got at the library called Boogie Wonderland. At once heartbreaking, gorgeous, and triumphant, the song has an out of this world chorus that seems to float above the low end of the song like it needs to soar above the pain and bitterness down on earth. A plea to young people to not love so easily that you get trapped in a relationship you can't escape, the song is proof positive disco can be as sad and soulful as soul music.

"Ballin' In Normandie" mashed by ABX at The Hood Internet: Nowadays, you look a like a jerk for infusing about a mash-up. The critical consensus, as retarded as it seems, has become that mash-ups are lame and boring and no one with real talent would ever consider attempting one. This is bullshit. Firstly, what's the point of rap acapellas if not to put something new under them? Secondly, as much as I love the production on current hip-hop records, it's also exciting to hear what rappers sound like over violas or dubby Animal Collective sounds. "Ballin In Normandie" is a mash-up of a Project Pat rap and a Shout Out Louds song. Sampling a viola and jaunty acoustic guitar from the Shout Out Louds, ABX creates a colorful and chipper backdrop for Pat's bragging and threats. Instead of menacing, Pat sounds joyful, which is wonderfully unusual. All hail ABX and The Hood Internet.