Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Love to Love You Baby" (1975)

48. Donna Summer, "Love to Love You Baby" (Dec. 20, 1975, #2)

Before I ever found the camp values in this, let alone the musical, it seemed to me first of all shocking, raw, almost pornographic, and I couldn't believe it was on the radio, particularly the long version, which clocks in at just under 17 minutes. "Can't believe it's on the radio" is one of my favorite genres of music so naturally I was instantly intrigued. I remember visiting a friend at the time who had just moved into a basement apartment somewhere off Lyndale and Franklin in Minneapolis, all fitted out with bars on the windows, which ran along the ceiling edges. It was a studio apartment that came with a space heater in the fireplace, which glowed orange, with fake blocks of charred wood. That was rather strange for an apartment at the time. We hoofed up to a nearby liquor store and bought beer. It was winter and there was snow on the ground. It had been about a year so there was some catching up to do. At one point this song went on, the long album side. Hearing now what I was hearing then it's hard for me to figure out, beyond I guess the sexualized moaning and groaning, what was so shocking. A lot about it is conventional, formally structured, rigid in its way, almost overly so, and most of it is not particularly sexualized. But it still felt sleazy and cool at once and even as we were giggling nervously as we listened, lights down and candles burning, that's when I noticed that the apartment windows on the ceilings showcased bright blue and red neon lights from outside, further obfuscating normal bounds with the orange glow from the fireplace, as Donna Summer and her various technicians smoothly modulated through their paces, like a big float in a small town parade.

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