Saturday, February 23, 2008

Give It Up (1980) – The Jacksons

The penultimate track on the Jacksons’ masterpiece Triumph crafts something wonderfully fresh out of the familiar. The lyrics reflect the most basic of pop song sentiments: a giddy optimism of romantic reciprocation and capitulation. The musical arrangement, on the other hand, represents an innovative vision in composition circa 1980. One’s sense of curiosity is piqued and then escorted by a jaunty piano tramp through an entryway where harp glissandos dart by, as discoballs begin to twirl to a post-disco groove on the dancefloor. The two distinct musical motifs intertwine throughout, as the mood alternates between guardedness and delectation. Marlon lends co-lead vocals which, along with Michael’s fragile falsetto, emit enough goodwill to fill a VW van on the way to a Little Miss Sunshine competition. The boogie segues into a color guard of cellos leading a military snare march toward the dawning of a new day with globules of crystalline synth dripping from above. As the smoke from the fog machines clears, there is little use in anything other than falling in line.

  • Listen to "Give It Up" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
  • Sunday, February 17, 2008

    I Just Really Miss You (2007) – Miranda Lambert

    They typically signify gloom: dark clouds, sad songs, the hard wind. Yet Nashville Star Season 1 finalist Miranda Lambert extracts from such clich├ęd metaphors a moving despondency that overwhelms the listener with empathy. As a Target™ exclusive track, “I Just Really Miss You” proves that not all such addendums are throwaways—the occasional ace in the hole awaits discovery. Lambert has secreted this surprise through limited availability; perhaps she is unsure whether she wants to expose such nakedness to a lowest common denominator, instead rewarding devoted fans who make the extra effort to obtain it. Or, maybe she just succumbed to a cheap marketing ploy designed to sell more copies. Regardless, the song stuns with its simplicity, both lyrically and musically, Lambert hanging her vulnerabilities bare like laundry on a clothesline, letting the rain and wind have their cathartic way so that she can begin anew once the inclemency subsides. The vestiges of a relationship that could not survive still clutter her head and burden her heart, as she reconciles the infeasibilities that compelled them to part. A couple of soul-steering chord changes underscore the perverted celebration inherent in misery, an appreciation of the piquancy of life’s pain.

  • Not available from iTunes Music Store.