Friday, February 27, 2009

Song Of The Day - 2/27/09

The Jam
The Gift

Never a big hit in the States, UK legends The Jam released their final studio album, The Gift, in the summer of 1982. Frontman and leader Paul Weller made some headlines at the time, mentioning he was pulling the plug on the group so they didn't end up as tired, obsolete parodies of themselves like "the rest of them". The implication that he was speaking primarily of The Who, who were about to embark on the first of several Farewell Tours, was hard to miss.

The Gift's best known track was clearly "Town Called Malice", but for some reason the instrumental "Circus", written by bassist Bruce Foxton, immediately captured me. Clocking in at a quick 2:11, the features blaring horns, whistles, aggressive drums and an unforgettable guitar riff.

Some years later I heard this song, believe it or not, as background music during an intro for a New York Mets telecast, which was bizarre. This is a song, to me, which is begging to be used in a movie during a chase scene or a montage, and it would not at all surprise if that in fact had already happened.

The Jam left us too soon, but also left behind a great catalog. This forgotten gem is one you won't find on any of the Greatest Hits collections, but is worth looking for and checking out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Song of the Day - 2/19/09

3rd Bass
"Derelicts Of Dialect"
Derelicts Of Dialect

I know, I know, a "Song Of The Day" feature is launched in mid-January, and as of February 19 only three entries have been posted. Kinda sad, isn't it? Let's just chalk it up to some unforseen events which took priority and forced me to neglect my musical duties over the past few weeks. Rest assured, I'll make every attempt to get back to semi-regular entries here, particularly regarding this endeavor. On to today's entry...

The second album from white rap duo 3rd Bass, Derelicts Of Dialect, dropped (see, I can use the hip lingo the kids today!) in 1991, and was notable for the inclusion of what would become the group's best known song, the scathing anti Vanilla Ice (mostly) classic "Pop Goes The Weasel". The title track, which for all intents and purposes kicks off the album, has come up on several occasions recently during random shuffling on my iPod, and is today's Song of the Day.

A flute(!) kicks off the track, with a solid beat thumping behind, while a narrator voice matter-of-factly intones, presumably talking of the group, "The great will always soar, above the mediocre/they create, while others destroy". From there, we quickly settle into a clear example of 3rd Bass' style, alternating verses between Prime Minister Pete Nice and MC Serch, each of whom display vastly different vocal styles. The theme, which was repeated several times throughout the album, solidified how 3rd Bass considered themselves to be "authentic" rap, while the sudden commercial success of other acts like the aforementioned Vanilla Ice was nothing more than crass cashing in by less talented phonies. One favorite lyrical example is when MC Serch laments his uniqueness as a "white boy in New York who can't get a cab, G", a reference to the then rare site of a caucasian dressed in hip hop gear experiencing a problem of which other black males were well aware. A solid opening track to what would, sadly, be the last album from the group. (See below for the lyrics.)
The song closes with the narrator voice once more, providing what one can only assume is another assertion of 3rd Bass' cred, and further underscores that, to them, the credibility of their peers, as opposed to widespread commercial success, was paramount.

Check out the entire album, which contains many more hits than misses. Highly recommended.

The lyrics:
The great will always soar, above, the mediocre They create, while others destroy

[Pete Nice] Never had a wasted mind, had the time
Erectin rhyme I cause gifted lines
The flows I knows puts the papers in pockets
Swings of things, observed in my sockets
In ten spot I got stacks of LP wax
Couderoy slacks, loops and sales tax
On the racks but my label is Derelict
Spic-n-Span I slam, it's balls you lick
Ill missions, but doin us ain't even simple Stereotype the rhymer as a criminal
Subliminal I put a noose on the necks The sinister signs of my rhymes is sex ..

[MC Serch] Smooth, set-up so slick as I set to move, all the great masses
Asses bounce to track that is all in I'm droppin my quarter, I'm placin my call in
to my crew that's down with the street trends Play around and you'll fall off the deep end
I heard your hooker she likes to do knee-bends But I got a girl, so I called up three friends
And they called three friends (and I called three friends) And so on, and so on, and so on..
So go on my path, and try to follow but not step for step, cause I like to sidestep
You'll get swept like a broom and you'll make room for daddy
White boy in New York and I can't get a cab G
So take me to my rest so I guess I'll get wrecked cause I'm a derelict of dialect ..

[Pete Nice] Dialect spoken, in sectional lesson The less you know, the more you gotta guess on
I press on point, some sweat my jizznoint Playin themselves with the fingers the point
I speak slow, I carry a fat stick Get your kneepads and reapply your chapstick
Step to this, as the Derelict reanimates No jim hat as my mouth ejaculates
I stays mumble, I speaks jumble Phonetics on phonograph'll prime your petrol
Retroactive, my knot scale is tipped off I rip the head off, the Derelict stepped off
and left to show this, to those who typecast Ill the rhyme-ass trickster or outcast of intellect,
I wreck shit with my own sect The ace in the hole, I'm the Derelict of Dialect ..

[MC Serch] 3rd Bass, but not a bass for slidin
Foundation, for a nation who's mind is in motion, goin in fluid
Who did you just distrust? It's Serch and I crush this mental need for oppression
Oppressed and all vexed and just placed a suggestion
Lesson or loss enforce those in a spot who got your head frozen
Defrost the eye and spy on the serpent On act two, he tried to close curtain
But intermission I glimpsed and I clock more Derelicts watch act three and the encore ..
Individuals who are never satisfied with the static standards set by the masses -- the masses have always been lethargic They have always opposed greatness for it is beyond them to even.. comprehend greatness