Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Kirsty MacColl, "Here Comes That Man Again" (2000)


I know most of us are still not prepared to talk freely about cybersex among ourselves, but 13 years ago the late Kirsty MacColl gave it a perfectly charming, lighthearted whirl. It's fully marinated in the Cuban sounds and rhythms that mark the album it comes from, Tropical Brainstorm (see also). It's dated, to be sure, lurching out of what suddenly now appear to be more innocent times, the late '90s. You don't hear modem tones so much anymore, for one thing, and "get your rocks off" goes back even further to the era of "humping." But this shticky number sketches the screaming weirdness with almost clinical precision, sighing contentedly at one point, "Who'd have thought I'd have so much fun ... I never knew I had it in me." She always treads lightly, but seems to have the basics right: "oops, another file on the email, oh oh-oh ohh," so on so forth. The compulsion, the payoffs, the many surprises, not all good. It's extremely silly, nearly as silly as it is intoxicating, thus a topic perfectly suited to her style of songwriting. Through the swirl of rhythms and arrangement, broad sound gags bubble up and charge the energy, such as a wacky muted trumpet that serves as ba-da-boom for one of the punch lines. There's a Monica Lewinsky joke too, in the thick of the big finish, which lets loose with a tattoo of "sha la la la la, get your rocks off baby." This may or may not be my favorite song by Kirsty MacColl but everything I like about her is in it: it's equally funny and poignant and fearless, and musically it's Tin Pan Alley sophisticated with an eye on the rest of the world and winning popcraft all the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment