Sunday, November 09, 2014

Roberta Flack, "Feel Like Makin' Love" (1974)

July 6, 1974, #1
(listen)

Not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same title one year later, although with the ongoing corporatization of rock 'n' roll in those years they perhaps stand equally as heralds of a new way to sell, sell, sell w/ sex to undazing hippies and other children—"adult contemporary" and "classic rock," by name. I was less aware of that at the time with all the other breakdowns going on. Indeed, I have wonderful memories of this song on the air in the late summer of 1974. I mean literally the air, not just radio. I heard it swelling from apartment windows and cars most unexpectedly, most welcome, as walking with friends on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis one night, on one of those gorgeous, still, warm but not hot August nights, coming from a taxicab. I'm prude enough that the frankness of the song made me blush a little—have always thought "making love" an awkward way to talk about sex (with or without our friend the gerund-friendlyin' apostrophe). But that's just me. On the other hand, Roberta Flack sounds like a woman in love, not in heat (again, compare Bad Company for the dopey male version of the usage), and that is what makes this song particularly beautiful and affecting in spite of my efforts to resist it. It is indeed a harbinger of the adult contemporary to come (more often than not a problem, I admit, though I like perhaps surprising amounts of it in the '70s), with its sultry, swirling, softly treading electric accompaniment. The lyrics unfold a wonderfully romantic and domestic scene that sounds as healthy as a walk on the beach, with a happy ending. Winner.

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