Tuesday, September 20, 2011

43. Sister Sledge, "Lost in Music" (1979)


The Chic brothers, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, never strayed far from a fairly predictable set of lyrical concerns, which is one of the reasons I love them as much as I do: living well, experiencing joy, and dancing. Sometimes feeling sad. That about covers it. One subset dedicated itself narrowly to the pleasures of music itself—the 1983 "In Love With Music" by the flagship Chic is a good example. But this is the best, from Sister Sledge, one of their greatest side projects, particularly with the We Are Family album that houses it. It feels like a statement of purpose, a virtual manifesto. All the usual elements are in place: bass and funky guitar chops locked in groove, the powerful, sweet undertow, the keyboards/strings establishing a swirling, soaring context, and then the glorious harmonies and interplay of the Sledge sisters, who sound vaguely hypnotized and helpless before the power of the music in which they declare they are lost—and in which they are obviously fully engaged. It's inspiring in its single-mindedness: "We're lost in music / Feel so alive / I quit my 9 to 5." The verses get down to details, elaborating on the pleasures of performance and throwing everything away for it: "Some people ask me / What are you gonna be / Why don't you go get a job, uh-uh / All that I could say / I won't give up my music / Not me, not now, no way, no how, oh...oh..." There's even a throwaway reference to "Suspicious Minds" ("caught in a trap")—who knows what the hell it's doing there. To me it's just more evidence of the sheer abandon to music itself, the abstracted ideal, an underlining of the point simply because they can. Simply because they saw the opportunity and did.

No comments:

Post a Comment