|Swamp Thing performed by Chameleons |
Johnny Marr once said that he wanted to write a song with an unforgettable guitar intro, like Eric Clapton's "Layla". He was, at the time, talking about the penning of the Smiths' "How Soon is Now?" The Chameleons' "Swamp Thing" does everything still that "How Soon is Now?" did for me when I was 16. Difference is, I haven't popped in a Smiths mixtape since I was 20.
There's somthing very romantic about this song. I've never really paid too much attention to the lyrics of this particular Chameleons track, although Mark Burgess' oddly peotic songwriting skills on other tracks have haunted my mind years after I had heard them. This tune is led and driven by the chord structure more than just the delayed, jangly guitar, or the powerfully precise drumming. Midway into the tune, the song goes from minor chord structure to major chord structure, even though the lyrics remain as bleak as a Manchester weather report.
Whenever I hear this song, one word always pops into my head, "pretty". That's what this song is. Pretty.
|Slowly Surely (Theo Parrish Remix) performed by Jill Scott + Theo Parrish |
First of all, there's Jill Scott. With as much respect I have for her songwriting and singing abilities, I've never thought of her as a musical genius. Her music was, and stays, consistently the best soul music being released. And I'm sure that in twenty years I'll still have great fondness listening to her tunes. Yet, I don't hesitate to state that she is not a genius.
"Slowly Surely" is a great track off Jill Scott's "Who is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds, Vol. 1" album. The track, itself, is a departure from the rest of the album in composition. It is lyrically and melodically experimental, and deosn't perform as a very commercially radio friendly tune. Having said that, this is probably my favorite track on this sublime album.
Theo Parrish is a genius, however. There are no two ways about it. His music is difficult to understand. His path to fame and stardom seems as intentional as Donald Trump's efforts at staying unnoticed. He has a tendency to compose electronic dance music with beats so slow, they'd make Big Daddy Kane half step. This isn't a salmon swimming upstream. This fish is out of the water wondering why he can't fly.
The remix, in the commercial music industry, has been tainted ever since the digital age. Starting off as a tool for DJs in night clubs, a track would have been remixed to have extended beats in the beginning and the end of the track. Thus, early remixes were plainly titled, "Extended Version". However, remixes on commercial radio are merely an effort to milk the popularity of whatever is popular at the moment. These remixes usually include a guest vocalist singing, or rapping, along the original track. Another version of the remix is the time filler. When albums were made with consideration to program times for opposing sides (as well as cassette tapes), remixes were often added when material was scarce. This practice would eventually wipe out the addition of the "Reprise" track. These remix tracks were usually the chosen radio friendly track with extra production on top of the original track.
The remix for "Slowly Surely" is none of the above. It is very unique as it's own being. It pulsates to it's own heartbeat. It moves on it's own, in no predictable direction, as if Theo Parrish had little control over his artistic output. That's his genius. That's his art.