Monday, July 25, 2005

"Rhythm Nation"

Yes, I'm kind of perplexed by this one too. I don't normally have any time for Janet Jackson or her ilk. And I have no doubt that there are hundreds of songs that could be usefully interchanged with this one. So when it comes to explaining why this is a SongWithoutWhich, I'm sorry, I got no words. Maybe it's the squiggly bass figure, the hurry-up drums, the guitar sample from Sly & the Family Stone's "Thank You", the vaguely martial feel to the whole song. More likely than not, it's a tip of the hat to the producer who assembled all the parts and made this puppy fly.
And perhaps that's the point of this song. To show us how music has gone from four boys standing around a single mike in a recording booth in Memphis, to the multi-tracked, EQ'd, computer-massaged, tweaked and primped confection that we consume today. Now I'm not necessarily saying it's bad - I mean, look what George Martin did for the Beatles - I'm just saying it's different. O tempora, o mores, as our forefathers in Rome would have said.

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