Sunday, May 8, 2011

I've Got to Find Out

While working at Wal-Mart yesterday evening (no more SFY, I'm properly working now, should write something about that maybe) I heard this old childhood song on their speakers.


Since working there since last Thursday, I've been mildly surprised by the music they pipe in. I've recognized many songs that I like or liked. I've heard a few Duran Duran songs and a few other 80s hits. This 'childhood song' I heard on my way out of the store when my shift was done.


It was a song in which the singer constantly speaks or sings very quickly (similar to a rap) in an almost completely monotone voice, like a robot. Then there's a lead into a chorus, which sounds less monotone and goes slower (but not by much).


Hearing that again made me want to look it up when I got home, so using the best knowledge I had (that it was done by an outfit called 'Savage Garden') I figured it out as "I Want You."





Hearing it properly again brought a lot of expectations that came with the song, like that higher-pitched part or that abrupt, random bit with the drums and spinning sound effects. I could not really understand anything the singer spoke except for what he said at the end of the first verse - which was "cherry cola."


I am unsure if I want to review it or if I just want to talk about it and explain it. Reviewing it means I have to give a well-written critique on what makes the song good and explain it, which means I have to listen to it carefully. I think I'll just do the quicker and easier thing and talk about it. Besides, I have another shift in two and a half hours.


Ever since I heard it when I was young, the song gave me a deep green color, practically just about all the way through except for those odd, abrupt changes in the music.


What's really kind of weird is it also inspired imagery of my friend's mother, probably because the singer sounded kind of like her in voice.


What makes the song dynamic - and kind of funny to me - is the way it goes so monotone in all of the choruses and verses, but suddenly there's this abrupt change. In the third verse, suddenly things go all higher-pitched, including the singer, who sounds like he's shouting. This is brief, then it starts into the third verse. It makes me think of a peaceful cat suddenly shrieking or hissing for a moment before reverting to its peaceful state. The cat being Jazz, my cat who passed away in February (she was around when I was a kid hearing the song back then as well, so that image is probably as old as the song itself).


What I really find funny is near the end, things suddenly go different again - and it's just these bouncing drums and sound effects, with that turntable spinning backwards-forwards sound effect as well. One of those things you've heard before. Why I find it so funny is how contrasting and different and unusual it is for that to appear in the song. So sudden. So...unusual and odd.


My idea is that Savage Garden probably wanted to spice up their same-sounding piece - fast, monotone verses plus slightly different choruses and lead-ins - so they abruptly included these little dynamic intervals of different music or sound effects.


It's almost like someone playing with the sound control board in the studio, and they randomly hit different sequences when they easily get bored of the constant fast-spoken verses. Perhaps a monkey was involved? Or a cat?


It's a pretty good song otherwise - if not kind of funny due to those sudden changes in music/style. Obviously the singer is talking about the feeling he gets when he's around a particular girl - though he is unsure of it but wants to find out. That's where the title of this post comes from - a repeated line in the chorus and the desire of the singer.


What do you think of it? Too fast? Lyrics can be found online. Or you can just listen carefully. He speaks clearly as well and the reason I didn't really get the lyrics that well was because I was too lazy to listen properly. And everyone remembers the cherry cola part, don't they?


By the way, the snare drum sounds like, to me, the drummer used an empty shoe (during the first chorus onwards).


Justin C.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ah....Leah...!

Things just come together, don't they?


Well, I wrote this list of crazy, odd, backwards things a few posts ago. I mentioned "When I heard a song on that radio station once, just a chorus and ending, but never really listened for it's name, I went about looking for it by telling people the bass goes 'DACG' during the chorus. No one ever understood and searches on Google have yielded nothing but for a nice song called 'Something or Nothing' by Uriah Heep."


I would go on to write the second last post from this one, about Uriah Heep's 'Something or Nothing' because I mentioned that as the result of my searches for that song. Instead of finding it I found that.


This is all about how I found it.


I should tell the original story properly. It was a week in which I'd declined to volunteer with the rest of the SFY group to work at a fruit distribution place. It was the first time in the program for that event to happen, and I'd go on the next round in March. They did that on Tuesday, and it was promised, for the people who didn't go, that they'd have to clean up the room perfectly on Friday. I was one of those people.


When it came, Mark, one of the facilitators, brought in a radio to keep things interesting. It was Bob Fm (perfect for my tastes). Because it was cleaning all day I was in and out of the room often getting things and supplies and taking things as well. At one point, I came in and heard a very bright chorus playing. Higher-pitched voices.


I would feel stupid later for not listening properly, just admiring the pleasant voices and likable bass line, because it was a familiar one that sounded like it started in D (I would be wrong about this, something which probably hindered my Google search results when searching for the now-realized wrong notes). I really liked it but kept busy, and didn't listen properly.


Since then, I'd hammer the two facilitators, Mark and Myra, for the song because they might have remembered and recognized it themselves, being there. They had no idea what "it went in D-A-C-G" meant and did not have the ear for sound to know that that particular sound was a D or A bass note.


I listened to big songs by bands like Seals & Croft, Journey, the BeeGees, whatever band or artist had a high-pitched voice, or voices. Nothing worked.


I was almost into giving up when today came, a great day. My mother turned on the TV to her usual music channels, this one an 80's one, and it was on.


It was playing the verse so I didn't really take notice of it, but saw the title as 'Ah! Leah!' and the artist as 'Donnie Iris.' The album was 'Back to the Streets.' 


Then the chorus played, and there it was. I shrieked, "THAT'S IT!" and hit the ceiling.


I dashed downstairs, now knowing the song and the artist, and got it on YouTube.



The chorus is indeed amazing, and it's because of Iris's amazing pitch in his voice, the bass and the guitar.


I couldn't believe I finally had it. Listening to the whole song, properly now, was awesome. It wasn't just the chorus, I really liked everything else as well. I was able to get to the bottom of a few things. I was wrong about the notes, but not that wrong. It actually starts in C# instead of D for the chorus, and basically follows the same pattern. C#-G#-B-F#. Same progression, just starting on C#. I was a semi-tone off in what I thought I heard. One fret below the one I expected.


Synesthesia isn't always perfect. But it can come pretty close.


The song so far has had the same heaven-like effect on me like 'Our House' and 'Millennium' before it. I listen to it every few minutes. And it's rare for a song to have that effect on me.


The lyrics essentially seem to tell the story of the singer and a girl named 'Leah,' and their huge passion for each other - in a carnal fashion. They can't get enough of each other sexually, but they have no real feelings for each other, or they can't support each other emotionally.


Like one of those women in your past who was amazing in terms of recreational sex - just fantastic and unforgettable - but nothing more than a one-night stand or something. The endearing memory of them (or their body) just makes you go 'ah.' And their name.


I wonder if that kind of affair will happen to me and in the future I'll be happily remembering crazy nights of passion. 


Probably not, and I say this because I'm not that kind of person.


It seems to be a happy, bright song in this vein. The singer sees Leah again, looking as gorgeous as ever, and thinking, 'here we go again.' Wild.


I do not really get my enjoyment from the song as much from the lyrics or the story they tell, but I do find them very happily reflective and pleasing, even if it's about memories of the physical aspects of that wonderful girl. 
There are two ironic things that have to do with me with that song. For one thing, the first girl I ever had a crush on (for a long time) was named 'Leah.' What are the odds that I hear a chorus that I fall in love with and it turns out that it chants the name of a girl I have good memories of from 7th grade? Will she find this blog and read this? It brings back some memories.


For another, I went through a small period of researching relationship compatibilities between both Chinese and Western signs in astrology. Regarding how the song's story is about two people who can't seem to make it work emotionally but have explosive sexual compatibility, I've read that some signs, when put together, can be like just that. As it turned out, for both my sign and my former girlfriend's, in both Chinese and Western astrology, they would not be compatible at all emotionally - but would have a hugely wild, and passionate sex life.


That really surprised and made me laugh. At least one good thing came out of the provincial separation I guess. Had this song had her name...
Nah, I'm just kidding. But it is kind of funny in my opinion.


When I saw the music video, and heard the song, I also found an almost uncanny resemblance to the style of the song and my own preferred style of music, in terms of music I'd want to create. The drumsticks are constantly double-striking the snare drum - something I like to do. The bass line is one I'm fond of and would probably use, both in the chorus and the verses. It's simply something I'd see myself creating myself.


It gets even crazier when I see Iris in the music video and find that he looks somewhat like me. Same hairstyle, and the glasses. I wouldn't be surprised if I sang the same way as well, though probably not the high-pitched vocals. There's a deeper voice that's probably Iris's during the chorus that sings the same thing but deeper, with the vocal range going C#-D#-F-D#. That's the best I can explain how the deep voice sings it, and it's probably what I would sing if I were to play the song with other people. I like it.


The song's title and chorus is also a great way of showing how I'd think of someone when I see them in music all the time, happily, like when I used to talk about how I saw this girl in the Madness song 'In the City' all the time. I'd hear the part of the song, see her visually in my mind, and, feeling happy and stimulated from thinking about her in the good way the song inspires me to think of her, it's like saying 'ah' and her name, happily.


It's really an amazing song, chorus-wise, but also verse-wise, even if it tends to be all about happy memories or thoughts of sexual encounters with someone who is absolutely amazing in bed, which most songs seem to be about. This one gives a bright, positive feeling to it though, which helps it be so great.
I see a lot of very bright green from Iris's voice in the chorus, and the song in general makes me think of happy things and memories like getting out of school on sunny afternoons, knowing great people and the way I think about them, and good times in general. Lots of afternoon sunlight comes to me visually, and it's great.


Song: A+


Very, very few songs ever get that from me. It's rare. But then again, that might come from my elation at how amazing it is.


Justin C.