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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

251. "She Comes in Colors" by Love


This is going to be very old news to some, but it should be better known, so I'll repeat it before moving on: Madonna's song "Beautiful Stranger" is completely ripped off, part by part right down to the arrangement, from this song. That'd be fine if it were an homage or a loving tribute of some kind, but it ain't. It could have been, seeing as how the Madonna tune was made for inclusion in an Austin Powers soundtrack with all the groovy faux-'60s-ness that implies, but last time I checked, it was still being passed off as an original. I mention this because Madonna is, or at least generally has been, perfectly good at what she does, but I have yet to figure out why so many people keep expecting her to evince some kind of depth as a songwriter, or indeed insisting that she already has done so. In fact, I have no idea why songwriting sophistication is now routinely expected to develop in performers who have been made famous for every reason other than that. Honestly, what the hell is going to come out of insisting someone start expressing themselves in a meaningful way when their main concerns are that it's hard to have been made famous for every reason other than expressing themselves, and maybe Kanye is mean to them at award shows and the world at large attaches an immense amount of importance to same? Songwriting is its whole own thing, best left to those who feel called to it. Let entertainers be entertainers... we do need those, you know.

Completely apart from that, I learned this song a long time ago... can't remember whether it was before or after the Madonna song, honestly. The toughest thing about performing it is that there are parts where I feel compelled to sing it as close to Arthur Lee's vocal as possible, and other parts where I have no problem loosening up and singing it like myself. It took me a few takes to get a version which comfortably split the difference, and even now there's a certain schizoid quality to this version. The weird playout fade thing came about accidentally: I was a little surprised to have gotten all the way through the song and then fluffed a chord at the very very end, and sort of tripped over the last chord, as you can hear. Recovery meant keeping going for another measure or two, and it had already turned itself into a strange 3/4 time pattern by then, and I just kept repeating it over and over again like an appropriately psychedelic loop.

Da Capo is really an extraordinary record. Side 1 is really possibly one of the greatest LP sides ever recorded; Side 2 is of historical interest only as one of the earliest whole-side free form jams, and it's really not all that compelling even by the standards of such things. You always get some edgy duality with Arthur Lee... maybe this one's the most primal expression of just that.

Personnel: Rex

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