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Cheek By Jowl: Blood Sugar Intercourse Magik (1991) & Mama Stated (1991)

In case you’re feeling funky. . .

Spotify: Blood Sugar Sex Magik & Mama Said

Off of Mama Stated, Lenny Kravitz begins “Stop Draggin Around” with a couple of instructions. Whereas a catchy guitar riff performs, he instructs,

Extra guitar. . . Want extra monitor. . Bass. . . Extra guitar. .

Then, he sings.

That is the definitive sound of funk. There’s the upbeat intro, the accentuated bass strains, the groovy drum beats, and the soulful voice of Lenny Kravitz.

However what’s funk? I’m feeling so much much less lazy currently so I did a fast google search. In accordance with Britannica, funk is a musical model established by James Brown’s band the place conventional R&B and soul is elevated with “syncopated, aggressive rhythm that put a strong pulse on the first note of the musical measure.” On this style, the intro units the temper. The model relies on soul and blues however groovier.

Really, we’re within the funk style as a result of I make the most of music to emulate how I’m feeling. And currently, I’m feeling kinda funky. I’m positive that’s what I’m feeling however I’m not positive what it means. As a result of I’m a phrase junky, I appeared up different definitions of the time period. From the ever-reliable dictionary, “funk” is both “a state of paralyzing fear,” “a depressed state of mind,” or “a strong offensive smell.” Nicely, who says the dictionary can’t outline what you’re feeling? Though, “depressed” perhaps a bit an excessive amount of.

I blame this funk on the climate. In case you’re dwelling close to the equator, you solely get two seasons: moist and dry. And man, I do know summer time is meant to be enjoyable but when summer time is what you’ve gotten virtually all yr lengthy, the warmth and humidity might get to your mood. I imply, it’s tremendous uncomfortable. Proper now it’s 36 levels Celsius (that’s 96.8 levels Fahrenheit for Individuals) and it’s cloudy for crying out loud! Think about the warmth when the solar is on full blast. I’m scripting this piece with sweat dripping down my temples. Say, who wouldn’t odor funky on this climate? This is the reason Filipinos bathe not less than twice a day. I’m pondering of writing a music known as “I’m Only Happy When I Shower,” an homage to Rubbish’s “I’m Only Happy When It Rains.” We’ll see.

So how is that this temper related to the musical model? First off, temper is an understatement. Funk music developed from the cruel realities of the African American expertise. To cite Britannica, “unpleasant odours, tales of tragedy and violence, erratic relationships, crushed aspirations, (and) racial strife,” are the influences of the style. So yeah, my funked-up feeling is petty in comparison with these.

Soul and jazz icons akin to Stevie Surprise and Miles Davis began experimenting with the aggressive model. Right here’s how Purple Scorching Chili Peppers is available in. Like Eminem, they “do black music so selfishly / and used it to get myself (themselves) wealthy.” And fairly efficiently, I dare say. The funkiest member of the band is a identified fan of Miles Davis. I like Flea. His bass strains and quirky efficiency set the distinctive sound of Purple Scorching Chili Peppers.

For the thirteenth cheek-by-jowl playlist, we’re pairing Lenny Kravitz’ Mama Stated and Purple Scorching’s Blood Intercourse Sugar Magik.

Is it a stretch to say that Anthony Kiedis and Lenny Kravitz are fairly vocally related? The distinction is Kiedis is energetic whereas Kravitz is sensual. I really like the band’s fast-paced rhythm and Kravitz’s flirty model. Total, each adhere to funk’s method. Catchy intro, syncopated guitars and drums, soulful vocals, and societal commentary. The band sings,

“The power of equality is not yet what it ought to be.”

And Kravitz,

“We’ve ruined what’s pure down from nature below.”

However what I like probably the most is how they honor their Mamas. From Kravitz’ reverence to what his “mama said” and to the band’s well-known line, “What I got, you gotta give to your momma.” Respect.

Funk questions and rebels in opposition to the injustice of what has grow to be “normal.” Like several form of activism, the model is aggressive. It expresses anger and resistance from the discomfort of the unequal expertise.

Nicely, my discomfort is now pettier. However because of my whining I pressured myself to perform a little research and curated a sick playlist.

Wherever you’re, I hope you’re having finer climate. And thanks for studying and listening with me. ’Til the following CBJ!

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