Friday, March 25, 2005

Birthday Edition Of Funky Friday

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Today is my 41st birthday. Yes, I'm a crusty old man on the downhill slide now. I wanted to post a song that featured birthdays somehow - The Beatles b-day tune and Altered Images' Happy Birthday were contenders until I remembered the hugeness that is The Sugarcubes' Birthday. Yeah, I know, it's Funky Friday and this is not really very funky, but it's my birthday so I'm doing it anyway. This was my first encounter with the voice of Björk - my girlfriend at the time had bought the 45, and we were all blown away with the wonders of that voice combined with the rumbling bass and drums and keys. The tune still gives me goosebumps today.

Now on with funky stuff...

Wham's first single, released in 1982 was the Bob Carter (Junior, Linx) produced Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do), an amusing tune about living large on the dole. It's got a pumping beat, thumb poppingly good bass and chikka chikka guitars and some nice horns but it's George's rap that makes this so much fun. With lyrics like "I'm a soul boy, I'm a dole boy!", or "you've got soul on the dole, don't take no shit from the benefit!", or the shouted chants of "D.H.S.S." never fail to make me smile. (For my US readers, the dole is the UK version of welfare, and DHSS runs it) This version is the 12" Unsocial Mix - probably named so because of their use of the word "shit" in the song.

By now you've no doubt heard of Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. - she has been a regular feature in the music blogosphere and in a lot of the press. Her debut LP Arular got it's US release this week. It's combination of rough electronics and her quirky vocals is pretty unique - a mix of Timbaland stutter, Dizzee Rascal grime and the vocal antics of Ari Up from The Slits. Some of it's lyrics have caused contoversy, as she big ups the PLO and the Sri Lankan rebel faction Tamil Tigers (her dad was a member), and the album's artwork features molotov cocktails and bombs. This is a pretty interesting article from the City Pages, written by Sri Lankan journalist Samantha Edussuriya on how torn she is between loving the great vibe of the music yet feeling put off by some of the lyrical content. Whatever your feelings, there's no denying that the music is a lot of fun. Pull Up The Poor is bumpin' - squelchy synths, tough as nails beats, that Slits chant at the beginning. "I've got the beats that make you bang" indeed!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. I always appreciate your posts, and I'm glad you're around for another year to continue doing so. Thanks again for everything,

Paulo X said...

Happy birthday, Michael!

Anonymous said...

happy birthday from me to you michael! your posts are always top notch and i enjoy you sharing all the wonderful music....are you ever gonna start posting on your other blog again?


josie said...

Wow! Happy Birthday! If it makes you feel better, I'm just 3 yrs your junior.

Not many people remember Altered Images. Their version of Happy Birthday is so upbeat! Remember the lead singer was the *girl* in Gregory's Girl? That was a nice movie.

Hope you have a week of celebratory get-togethers!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Michael!


John said...

every year since 1988, i've called my best friend Joe in Cleveland (who loved the Sugarcubes as much as I) on his birthday and screamed the "AHHHH HHAAAA HAAAA" part of "Birthday" down the phone line, then hung up.

he gets it every time.

Yes, i've been asked to move.

Anonymous said...

hey wanted to thank you for the link to the MIA article. i'm Indian so i've been pretty fascinated by the hype since the beginning, but also wondered what to make of MIA. i love the music, including the lyrics and the art, but really wondered just how much this 18 year old REALLY understands about all the global buzz words she has freely appropriated... anyway, it's a pretty good start for an 18 year old!