Monday, 30 April 2018

Why I Feel Good About The Future

"Make Me Feel," by Janelle Monae
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGRzz0oqgUE

Do yourself a favour: Listen to this song while you follow the lyrics* because if you listen to it while you watch the video, you'll get distracted from the musical brilliance. (Of course, you won't be able to read all the lyrics anyway if, like me, you're the type to close your eyes when you start moving helplessly to such an overpowering groove.) Because the video is also brilliant, watch it, if you want to, at your second listen (believe me, there'll be a second listen).

They say that Frank Sinatra was a master of unorthodox phrasing, but there's no denying that Janelle Monae is his equal while she's singing this song.  Listen to her sing the word "questions," and the word "intentions," and the word "compression," and the word "confessions," and the word "stop," and the word "jean," and the word "shag," and the word "don't," and tell me she's not in touch with the fanciful possibilities of the English language and with the marvellous little surprises of musical syncopation.

You can hear James Brown and Michael Jackson in this song, I think. And Prince -- you can hear Prince, too (who is, I suppose, the source of that jangly rock guitar riff in the chorus that explodes at you out of nowhere). I imagine you can hear other performers as well, but I can speak only to what I know when I'm discussing music made by someone from a much younger artistic culture than mine. (Some of us lucky bastards aren't yet blind or deaf.)

But make no mistake -- this is all Janelle Monae's song. I suppose you could say it's just another irresistible funk number, and I imagine you could say its sexual charge is meter-breaking, and I wonder about how the accompaniment to the singer's stunning voice is produced (people? machines?), but what I really want to believe is that this number is about nothing more than being carried away by love . . . Wait -- "nothing more than"? Jesus, being carried away by love is everything. Janelle Monae, while she's feeling her everything here, makes us feel our everything, too, which is one of the great things that great singers do.

(* I'm not sure if they're exceptional, but I've provided them below to help out any fellow geezer who might fall on this song.) 
Baby, don’t make me spell it out for you
All of the feelings that I've got for you
Can't be explained, but I can try for you
Yeah, baby, don't make me spell it out for you
You keep on asking me the same questions (why?)
And second guessing all my intentions
Should know by the way I use my compression
That you've got the answers to my confessions
It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender
An emotional, sexual bender
Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it better
There's nothin' better
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel
So real, so good, so fuckin' real
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel
You know I love it, so please don't stop it
You got me right here in your jean pocket (right now)
Laying your body on a shag carpet (oh)
You know I love it so please don't stop it
It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender
An emotional, sexual bender
Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it better
There's nothin' better
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel
So real, so good, so fuckin' real
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way that I feel now, baby
Good God! I can't help it! Agh!
That's just the way that I feel, yeah
Please! I can't help it
It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender
An emotional, sexual bender
Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it better (oh!)
There's nothin' better (better!) Damn
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel
So real, so good, so fuckin' real
That's just the way you make me feel
That's just the way you make me feel)

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