Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Tim Finney does it again! I am an enormous fan of Skykicking, where I have been lurking ever since I read Tim's thought-provoking analysis of the relative masculinities and feminities of crunk and grime. (This is a total aside, but I really love the extremely pale blue background colour on that site: when it loads you think to yourself "Is that blue, or are my eyes finally exploding from too much sitting in front of various computers?") And I realised his true genius when I read about why Chingy's "One Call Away" is such a great "thug love" song. It was the best insight I'd heard since the inspired idea that 50 Cent in "21 Questions" was like the Terminator when he clumsily learns to imitate human emotions. ("I love you like a fat kid loves cake.")

But Tim has really outdone himself this time. I love the way he can evoke how a song sounds, and where it sits in relation to other artists and genres. I was so excited reading his analysis of "bubblecrunk", because he has perfectly captured why I love that stuff so much myself. Early this year I started researching crunk for an article I planned to write about "dirtiness" in pop music. (I was going to write about the paradoxical crispness and cleanliness of UK "grime", and the entire "dirty South" phenomenon, but it was too esoteric for any of the weekend supplements, and by the time I got around to turning it into "a profile of Dizzee Rascal" they'd already got some bollocks interview with the British wunderkind.)

Anyway, so I was listening to some Joe Budden and Lil Jon and David Banner and Ying Yang Twins and thinking disappointedly to myself, "Oh, it's so slow! I was expecting fun party music!" And when I first listened to "Yeah!" I didn't like it that much. But then I started to really get into it, and find the cheesy synth lines really triumphant and exciting. And I've always had a weakness for massed shouting, which is probably why I like Miami bass and ghetto tek so much. (With the latter two genres, there's also the vexed question of parodic intent and ironic reception, which I've gestured to before but want to explore in more detail.) Though I can't work out if it's a deliberately perverse analogy, I enjoy the way Tim likens bubblecrunk to tongue-kissing.

I don't know about Petey Pablo, though. I always mean to investigate artists raved about by people whose music taste I really respect, and so far my knowledge of Petey Pablo is limited to "Freek-a-Leek" which I heard on the radio one Sunday night and was a excited and disappointed by in small equal parts. Kind of how I felt about "Move Ya Body" by Nina Sky when I first heard that.

I also like the idea of compulsive get-out-of-bed tracks. It's interesting that Tim mentions Shakedown, because in 2002 I was addicted to "Get Down". Such a silly song. So addictive. Just on Sunday I had the most crashing hangover and probably wasn't thinking straight, which is why I felt a pressing need to put on some music in my living room to "wake me up". First I put on "Need You Tonight" by INXS (I think that would be a great song for a chick to sing, especially if you bent the lyrics: "There's something about you girl, that makes me so wet", "My knees are so raw, I've got to let you know"), then I put on Cypress Hill's "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That" because I enjoy bellowing along "I ain't goin' ouuuuut!" Then I put on Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover".

It's the way Tim inspires such connections of your own within the space of his own canny imagery that makes me such a big Skykicking fan. Here's my favourite bit:
Which is why the clash between Ciara's faux-refinement and the unrepentant
baseness of Lil Jon's production is inspired: totally undermining Ciara's claims
to respectability, the cheap and wanton groove leaves them resembling bad actors
in a sexploitation film, protesting in vain that they musn't, musn't give in,
all the while allowing their blouses to slip further and further.

Wonderful! Gold for Australia!

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