Personal Soundtrack

10 Apr

 

The Song

That’s Alright by Kindness

One recurring element in 80’s music that is often missing from contemporary releases is a love of the saxophone.  Often laid over manufactured back beats, the brassy sax tones were used by artistic titans like Wham! and Oingo Boingo to bring a sophisticated, soulful funkiness to their tales of wild parties and lost love.  That Auto-tuned sax sound slowly faded along with other remnants of the Neon Decade, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not necessarily a good thing either. That’s why it is refreshing to hear Kindness bring back the funky potential of the sax sample with his new track “That’s Alright.”

There’s a little sax freestyling in the song’s intro that offers a taste of what’s to come, but it doesn’t fully prepare for the high energy sax-synth sample that arrives gyrating wildly over the rest of the song.  And just in case the sax wasn’t retro enough for your dancing tastes, Kindness quickly introduces us to a nasty little breakdown beat right out of Paula’s Straight Up School of Music.  “That’s Alright” sounds like someone put a hit 1980s dance single through a blender, and then used the tech tools of 2012 to splice everything back together into a catchy neo-retro hybrid.  In all, the song has a party-loving element that retains a bit of a freaky edge at the same time – the repeated, bass-heavy refrain that “The beat is Bad” rings quite true.

The Activity

You’re not sure how you’ve gotten here, but you’ve found yourself in the middle of a dance party seemingly staged for some kind of music video.  There’s a synth- and sax- happy mix of ambiguously 80s music pumping over some unseen speakers, and girls in tight spandex onesies are flying around performing synchronized dance moves.  There’s no discernible entrance or exit, and you’ve just kind of shown up in the middle of the dance floor – which in a detached way, you just kind of go with.

A group of guys in matching Flock of Seagulls haircuts is grooving near you, and you begin to chuckle at their ridiculousness before realizing that you too have the feathered coiffure you had never seen in person, until today.  As you’re starting to wrap your head around this, your attention is yanked over to the appearance of a cartoon cat doing some kind of dance routine with who appears to be Paula Abdul.  You want to stop and ask someone if that’s normal here, but you’re doing the running man uncontrollably and can’t catch your breath to speak.

You try to think what song this music video could be for.  There’s not a specific reason that you can point to for the music video explanation, except for the fact that this expansive space seems like a sound stage, with the walls and ceiling a vague grayish color that reminds you of The Cosby Show.  And speaking of the Cosbys – there’s Bill and Co. themselves, off in a corner doing some carefree grooving.  Bill catches you watching him do an air sax solo and gives a big thumbs up before going back to his jam.  What the hell?  Your head’s going to explode.  And then, just as George Michael steps on to a stage that you could have sworn wasn’t there 30 seconds ago, you jolt awake in your present-day bedroom, covered in sweat.  Just some weird kind of dream about an era you weren’t even old enough to remember…but why is that soulful sax sound from outside your room getting louder?  And why can’t you stop dancing?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: