Monitor Down

The music blog that doesn’t want to hear itself

Song-o-scope: Malcolm McClaren’s “About Her”

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I hate the power of suggestion, and I hate being marketed to. Thus, I’ve made a point never to buy albums based on the latest hyped song. This also entails never purchasing anything solely because it was handed to me in a movie soundtrack.

But however stubborn my mission is, there’s one problem. Dammit, it can always be overridden by a good song. A good song has the ability to plunge straight to the center of my brain, put a gun to my brain’s head, and force my brain to drop all of its principles with regard to “resisting the will of the man.” That’s why when Uma Thurman, aka Beatrix Kiddo, got into her VW Carmengia and ruefully cruised the backroads of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico while the background swelled with Malcom McLaren’s “About Her” — a plushy collage of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and Bessie Smith’s “St. Louis Blues,” — I had no choice.

The sorrowful piano melody! The hypnotic textures! Did I mention the piano melody? Even the light R&B beat, something I almost never approve of, seemed to coax me in with its mournful innocence. Bessie Smith’s wretched croon echoed hauntingly, conjuring the image of a wasted soul trudging through existence in a self-pitying stupor. And when the chorus opened to reveal my old friend, Colin Blunstone’s tender voice from “She’s Not There,” wrapped in gentle orchestration and slowed to a melancholy drift, it was the slap across my brain’s face that forced me to take action.

So I went out and bought a Zombies compilation. Of course, I still listen to McLaren’s creation whenever I want, free on YouTube. Damn the Man.

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Written by Peter Kimmich

March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

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