I’m In Love, What’s That Song? Or, Take Care by Drake featuring Rihanna

I never wanted to be a Drake fan.

See, I like my rappers tough and brimming with braggadocio.

When it comes to the age-old question of Tupac v. Biggie — I plant my feet firmly on the East Coast (I’m also Stones over Beatles but that’s an argument for another time).

One of my favorite lines in all of music is from Notorious B.I.G’s Big Poppa – “I see some ladies tonight that should be havin’ my baby, baby…”

Boldest statement I have ever heard and you know no-no-Notorious meant every word.

Our boy Drakkar Noir lays his game down flat but his swag is tempered by his introspection and uncertainty. First name greatest, last name ever? Not with those daddy issues, son.

In addition to straying from the archetype I prefer in my hip hop legends, there were a plethora of reasons for me not to like Drake:

– Degrassi. Dudes, the Wheelchair Jimmy will never be a thing. And it shouldn’t be. Ever.

– He’s Canadian. I love our neighbors to the north but their hip hop legacy starts with Snow and ends with the Swollen Members. There’s just an ocean of mediocrity there.

– His real name is Aubrey. I love this name. I used to babysit for an Aubrey when I was in high school and that kid was awesome. But dude, seriously? Aubrey? To co-opt the words of Harry Burns – an Aubrey can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal, Aubrey’s your man but when it comes to spittin’ sixteen bars of fire? No dice.

– His affiliation with Lil’ Wayne. I know Weezy F. Baby creates some solid club bangers and he knows his way around a sly lyric or two but he is representative of ALL the asshattery.

Then, Take Care snaked its way into my life. Initially, I resisted — fingers flying to the dash to change the station in the car, gritting my teeth and rolling my eyes if it came on overhead and just avoiding it because no. I am not listening to this.

But eventually, it seduced me.

Not gonna lie — this picture helped a lot:

Oh, what? We haven’t figured out just how shallow I am yet?

Straight ladies and gay men? You’re welcome.
Straight men – do this. Do this now.

What bothered me more than the fact that I liked this song was the fact that I liked it so much. I did a little research and figured that the entire track is an interpolation of Gil Scott Heron’s I’ll Take Care of You.

Scott Heron was a jazz/soul poet who gained notoriety in the 1970s and has influenced hip hop in huge ways. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is one of his best-known works and a really interesting piece of writing filled with cultural touchstones. I don’t know much about poetry but something about his work reminds me so much of Ginsberg’s Howl.

Four Reasons I’m In Love With This Song

1. I hate island music. The whole steel drum thing? Never really done anything for me and honestly, I hate reggae.

Yeah — come at me, bro.

Look – I realize the importance of Bob Marley. The man is worthy of his iconic status and if anyone understands the desire to prop up mortal musicians as prophets, it’s me.

But Redemption Song just doesn’t affect me in any way.

I know.
I know.
Yes, it does get a little nippy living without a soul.

However, the soft, gyrating shimmer of steel drums in this song? Kind of perfect. Take Care is a sparse and airy track. Lots of space and even more room to breathe. However, the steel drums tighten it up a little. Like making eyes at someone across a crowded room and feeling like everyone else has just melted away.

2. The shout-out to Leslie Gore’s novelty hit It’s My Party — “It’s my party/I’ll get high if I want to/Can’t deny that I want you/But I’ll lie if I have to.”

I love stuff like that – references, shout-outs, nods and winks. Any excuse for me to tap my nose and say, “I see what you did there.”

3. The inclusion of Gil Scott-Heron’s scatting at the end of the track.

I am not a religious person in any capacity but I figure if there is a Lord to make a joyous noise onto, you should probably butter him up with a little scatting. Otis did it in Try A Little Tenderness (got-ta-got-ta-na-na-na) and Michael Jackson did it in Wanna Be Startin’ Something (mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah).

Actually, in retrospect – this is probably a terrible idea. Redding died in a plane crash and Michael Jackson — well, I don’t even need to go into what a train wreck that was.

Oh God. God hates scatting.

4. The Twilight Singers do a great cover of Take Care along with Marc Lanegan. 

Look, I know it’s a completely different track but I love this band and I will never stop pounding the drum for them.

When Lanegan rasps that he’ll take care of me, I’m immediately on guard — Take care of me? Please. You’re the big, bad wolf and you’ll eat me up…but damned if I’m not going wander deep into that dark forest with you anyway.

Usually, I provide Spotify links to the track I’m in love with but it’s summer, I’m warm and happy and buoyant with good music in my life so behold the bounty:

Take Care – Drake feat. Rihanna
Take Care – Gil Scott Heron
Take Care – Bobby Bland
Take Care – Mark Lanegan feat. The Twilight Singers

I’m not feeling Drizzy’s boots, but dude can wear the hell out of a plain black tee. Also, every shot I see of that frozen tundra, I immediately think, “Jon Snow! Wildlings! The Wall!”

I’m never going to be cool, am I?

* Sidebar: Tupac’s line from Hit ‘Em Up about Mobb Deep comes pretty close too – “Don’t one of y’all got sickle cell or something?”

Whoa. Back it on up, ‘Pac. Say what you will about fucking other people’s bitches and murdering people but damn, sickle cell? Really? That’s cold-blooded, dude

I’m In Love, What’s That Song? Or, All Day by Girl Talk

I’ve been listening to Girl Talk’s All Day obsessively lately and it’s the most delicious piece of pop culture I’ve consumed in the past two years. And I chow down on a lot of pop culture.

Katelin is kinda awesome.

If you’re not familiar — All Day is this epic 372 sample mash-up created by Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk. The best way I can describe this album is a sugar-rushed romp through Rob Sheffield‘s brain. Lots of hip hop and pop, a little rock, a little trip hop and hell, some new wave too just ’cause we like you and you’re pretty.

As a result, I have a new favorite game: listen to Girl Talk in the car (it’s gotta be in the car because this music needs motion) and try to guess all the samples used.

I inadvertently ending up scaring some poor yoga mom a couple of weeks ago. I’m heading to work with my music up and my windows down. I stop at a red light and the sample of In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel comes blaring through the speakers. I yell out, “YES!”, shake my little fists and the Yoga Mom gives me the side-eye and rolls up her window.

Sorry lady! I hope I didn’t mess with your chakras too much and that you were able to get your chataranga on in peace.

Five Reasons I’m In Love With That Song Album Or, Five Mash-Up Moments I Really Love.

1. The first thirty seconds of That’s Right. The track features Rihanna’s Rude Boy, Fabulous and Nate Dogg’s You Can’t Deny It and then, In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel kicks in shaken up with Foxy Brown’s Hot Spot.

Holy shit, dudes.

I’ve heard it like, 20 times in the past two weeks and it still knocks me on my ass.

In all honesty, I wasn’t the biggest fan of In Your Eyes. Probably because I learned of it post-Say Anything and by that time, it was ripe for parody. Thanks to Girl Talk — I listened to it anew and discovered just how much I love this track. Gabriel’s yearning is almost reverential. In Your Eyes is a desperate burnt offering to a goddess girl who’ll probably shatter this poor bastard’s heart into a million pieces.

2. The next thirty seconds of That’s Right which features Closer by Nine Inch Nails and In The Meantime by Spacehog. The latter is one of those great late 90s tracks that burned bright for a good half-second before being dragged down by the pop undertow. The bastard sons of David Bowie, Spacehog is all fuzzy guitars, distortion and singalong pop melodies. You wouldn’t think it would play nice with an industrial track about the power struggle, chaos and self-loathing inherent in the human soul but it actually works really well.

3. Apparently, the first time Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea heard that rusty guitar riff in Radiohead’s Creep, he flipped out – what the fuck is that?! And I can relate because I did too — what is that wonderful noise that sounds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex crunching into a monster truck? About three minutes into Jump The Stage, you get to hear that great sound again only this time, it’s tempered with ODB’s raspy vocals – “Oooh, baby. I like it raw. Yeah baby, I like it rawwwww.” Amen, Big Baby Jesus. This girl does too.

4. Ever dated someone that makes all your friends cock their heads and go, “Him/Her? Really?” You know, kinda like George Michael and Egg Bland Ann from Arrested Development? About three and a half minutes into Let It Out, Beck’s Loser, Jim Jones and Juels Santana’s Pop Champagne, Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot get their babymaking on in the best way. It is this lubricious, sexy combination that plays with the elasticity of music. If you presented this list to me without the music, it wouldn’t make any sense. I mean, one of these things is not like the other, right? But, Girl Talk waves his magic wand and baller hip-hop and a Gen X anthem for the disaffected wrap themselves up in each other and before long, you can’t even see what belongs to who.

5. The last three minutes of Triple Double feel like someone’s been thumbing through my music collection. I’ve long held the belief that people who only listen to one genre of music or proceed to criticize an entire genre of music are assholes (except for those who criticize dubstep because it sucks. It’s the kind of shit they use to force dictators out of their compounds) and I love that in this track, Neil Diamond rubs shoulders with Ice Cube who turns around and shakes hands with The Rolling Stones who hand it to Wiz Khalifa to take it on home.

If you find something you love, love the everloving shit out of it. I know Neil Diamond isn’t cool but I don’t care. Cherry Cherry is a great song that makes my shoulder shimmy. I’m not gonna give that up because dude doesn’t have the right cred.

At this point, you probably already have it but if not – download Girl Talk’s All Day (for free!) here.

I’m In Love, What’s That Song? Or, Teenage Wristband by The Twilight Singers

There are three ways to this girl’s heart

1. A really good sandwich. I’m not kidding. I love sandwiches. So much so that Biffle and I use the word as a declaration of endearment. In our lexicon, ‘sandwich’ means “I care for you greatly. So much so that if I had a delicious sandwich, I would give you half.”

A couple of days ago, he called me while I was eating dinner:

Biffle: Hello?
Me: I’m eating a sandwich.
Biffle: I understand.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

2. Be one of these guys.

3. The mix CD.

Rob Sheffield, genius that he is, wrote this amazing book called Love Is A Mixtape : Life and Loss One Song At A Time in which he chronicles his love of music and his relationship with his first wife who passed away of a pulmonary embolism.

In the book, he makes two comments about mix tapes that really stuck with me:

1) There are all kinds of mix tapes. There is always a reason to make one  – The Party Tape, We’re Doing It? Awesome!, I Hate This Fucking Job, The Road Trip…
2) “This tape doesn’t really flow. It’s just a bunch of burnt offerings to this goddess girl.”

I’ve made plenty of occasion mixes — Genco Pura (a mix for cooking Italian food in your kitchen and singing into a “microphone” dripping with pomodoro sauce), Vox Populi (Songs you want to shout/sing at a bar when you’re hammered), Sad Bastard Music (a mix for moping around in your sweats) — and I’ve made a couple of mixes for the latter category.

I don’t really know how to say, “Hey, you know the drums in My Hero when Taylor Hawkins basically goes batshit, Animal-style and pounds on the skins like he’s performing an exorcism? Being around you makes me feel like that…I’m not insane. I promise.”

So instead, I make mixes – burnt offerings that let the music do the talking for me.

When Augs and I first started dating, he made me this amazing mix CD. Nestled in between Citizen Cope, The Faces and The Stones was a track by a band I had never even heard of — Teenage Wristband by The Twilight Singers.

The first time I heard it, the crystalline tinkle of piano keys cut through the stagnant summer air and for a second, I forgot how to breathe.

What is this?

This, it turns out, is Greg Dulli at his finest. Scattershot with starlight and soaked in well-aged bourbon, the music of The Twilight Singers is a dark fairytale woven through well-worn, nickel-plated strings. All black velvet soft darkness rattled by a wall of noise – whispers turn to howls, murky basslines bubble out of steaming Southern swamps and snarling guitars hiss and strike like baited cobras.

Teenage Wristband opens with clean, crisp pianos, a low persistent drone and Dulli issuing a low and throaty challenge:

You say you wanna go there
Ride then
I did and I loved it

I grew up in the suburbs and even I know that Dulli is talking about drugs. Considering his car crash life, these stark allusions shouldn’t come as a surprise and the chorus only serves to further illustrate a junkie’s delirium:

You wanna go for a ride?
I got sixteen hours to burn
And I’m gonna stay up all night

A sixteen hour ride with a cokehead? Sure — what could possibly go wrong?

Teenage Wristband is a song that needs air. The kind you only get from driving on dark streets with the windows down. It insists on being played loud.

No, louder than that.

Seriously, crank it up ’cause at 2:37, the fever breaks and the music washes over you like the waters of the River Jordan.

Five Reasons I’m In Love With That Song

5. That low, droning hum that heightens in intensity, tighter and tighter until it snaps at the end of the song.
4. The sweet ooh-honey-baby-child cooing back-up vocals courtesy of Apollonia. Yeah — that Apollonia.  The odds of me writing about a song not connected to Prince in some way are marginal at best.
3. The icy, glittering piano that book ends the song.
2. Dulli’s lascivious, almost pornographic delivery of the lyrics.
1. It reminds me of Augs and late nights spent driving around Orlando.

Listen to Teenage Wristband by The Twilight Singers on Spotify here.

I’m In Love, What’s That Song? Or, I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man by The Eels

Number 19 on my 29 Before 29 Goals is to punch up the blog a little. I figure there’s about four people who visit this site on a regular basis (two of whom are my parents – hey guys!) and with that kind of staggering viewership, I really should go the extra mile.

I have a two-fold plan for this:

A) Make TSFRR more aesthetically appealing. It’s glaringly obvious I haven’t started this yet and if you’ve got any advice for me, it would be much appreciated.

B) Feature content other than my inane ramblings about how I’m essentially rubbish at being a girl (what the hell kind of witchcraft is liquid liner, anyhow?), how Ron Livingston is the most attractive man alive and my theories on why the world would be a much happier place if everyone incorporated more gin and cheese into their lives (it would, dudes. It just would).

I figure Real World/Road Rules Challenge Recapstasy is a good start but I need to stretch my arms out a little farther.

So, I’m adding a new feature cleverly titled: “I’m In Love, What’s That Song?” in which I rave about a song and convince you that you need to made it a permanent addition to your iTunes library.

Song: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
Artist: The Eels (Prince Cover)

Prince conjures up images of leggy brunettes swathed in purple lingerie singing about all sorts of dirty things that will make you go blind and grow hair on your palms.

And that makes sense because a majority of his music is about all sorts of dirty things that will make you go blind and grow hair on your palms.

However, Prince is a pretty wily cat and digs the notion of keeping you on your toes as much as he does the notion of keeping you on your back. So just when you think he’s the lover who you can call up anytime you wanna grind — dude tells you how U wouldn’t be satisfied with a one-night stand and that he could never take the place of your man.

Wait…wait…wait. What?

But, but..twenty-three positions and you said I could call any time and…

Baby, don’t waste your time. I know what’s on your mind. I may be qualified for a one night-stand but I could never take the place of your man.

When was the last time you heard that kind of honesty in real life, much less in a pop song from the horniest little leprechaun to frolic across the purple plains of Paisley Park?

Even though Prince’s pop melodies are flawless, I’m a bigger fan of The Eels’ cover of the song.

Prince covers are tricky little beasties and not everyone can fully wrap their lips around them. For example, New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight covered this track a few years back and to say his version was the suckiest suck that ever sucked would be kind (still love you, though J-Money. Keep Hangin’ Tough). The Goo Goo Dolls also covered this track and their version, while admirable, has nothing on The Eels.

I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man is a lacrymal lament of lost love, so the smartest thing you can do is strip it down to its barest bones and just bleed all over the strings. That’s exactly what The Eels do and that’s why it sounds so good.

Five Reasons I’m In Love With That Song:

1. It’s Prince. If you don’t love Prince, we probably shouldn’t be friends. Also, your mother is ashamed she raised a kid with such heinous taste in music.
2. Strip down a six string and the truth shall set you free.
3. The lyric, “Oh, honey baby/That’s a dead end/U know and I know we wouldn’t be satisfied.” Look dudes, I’m a Southern girl at heart and a sucker for terms of endearment. Their power increases exponentially if you place them in a song.
4. It’s honest. Jarringly so at some points and when you consider that Prince has essentially built his career on sexual bombast and braggadocio, it’s kind of nice to hear a change.
5. It’s good. Look, I could harp about lyrical content and melody until I’m blue in the face but at the end of the day – a good song is a good song.

The Eels – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man