Personal Soundtrack

21 Aug

The Song

My Step by Little Dragon

Some songs lock into such irresistible grooves that it is virtually impossible to listen to them without moving some part of your body.  Little Dragon brings that kind of groove with “My Step.”  The track starts out with some basic drum machine action to get an upbeat rhythm going, so that your foot is already tapping by the time an effervescent little electric pulse starts to flit around your head like some drunken dance firefly.  This pulse keeps things moving, and is the first thing about the song that burrows inside your head without leaving.  Throw in a thrumming electro-bass line shortly thereafter, and you’d have a tight, efficient little dance track right there.

Since this is Little Dragon though, they don’t just stop once they’ve got all the ingredients for a nice little beat.  The group is highly adept at bringing live-band dynamics to what often feels like an entirely electronic soundscape in their music.  With “My Step,” that means they have the creative wisdom to let the song’s momentum continue unabated as the throbbing bass line furiously takes over.  The vocals step to the side as the group shows how to do a breakdown the right way.  All you can do is just nod your head and dance away.

The only drawback of the song is that it ends way too early.  At three and a half minutes, it leaves you out of breath and wanting for more.  There’s enough dirty dancing energy in this “Step” to last for at least seven to eight minutes.

The Activity

You toe the scuffed hardwood floor and try to remain as anonymous as you can.  The striped sweater vest that your mom insisted would be a great idea is, in fact, a horrible one.  As all the kids in Lacoste polo shirts strut around happily on the dance floor, you’ve self-selected the odd one out and retreated to the corner by the punch bowl.  A few others seem to have had your same idea, and a motley crew is spread out around the dark edges of the dance floor, eyes downcast and hands in pockets or tightly clenching punch that went room temperature an hour ago.

Your eyes, though, can’t stay pointed downward for too many minutes at a time.  They keep coming up, pretty much on their own accord, and seeking out the same subject, over and over.  The girl who, by the good graces of the First Letter Last Name gods, happens to sit in front of you for first, third, and fourth periods.  The girl that interested you somewhat on that first day of school, and who had commanded your full attention by the morning of the second day.  She’s been out there, tearing the dance floor apart all night, and has been looking just as good as you hoped/feared.

This was supposed to be your big chance to do something about all those pesky feelings you’ve been having.  But so far, the twin forces of Peer Fear and Outright Awkwardness have conspired to root your feet firmly on the sidelines, forcing you to watch as the other, louder, bolder guys shared in dances and took their passes.

The glumness has just about reached an all-time high when you feel that familiar bass line start up.  It starts around your feet, vibrating the old gym floor slowly as the DJ transitions to the full volume of the new song.  You know this song.  Actually, this song knows you.  You look towards the dance floor and see that none of the other guys have shared your recognition of the beat, and have retreated back a bit.  She’s all alone, looking like she needs a dance partner.

And you know what?  Your feet are already moving before you’re even thinking about it.  The beat kicks into second gear as you walk/groove your way out towards the center of the floor.  Third gear as you make eye contact with your favorite lady and make your presence known on said floor.  You know what to do when it hits fourth gear, and when you do it, there’s an audible gasp of admiration.  As the beat bangs away, people start to notice what’s going on.  There’s magic happening, and it’s you.  By the time the song is pretty much over, you’re standing about three inches taller.  And accepting her offer to dance as K-Ci & JoJo are cued up for the slowdown.

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