Sunday, May 4, 2014

It Feels So Good

Recently, I wrote about the time in my life where I'd listen to the radio every night in my childhood, always 'Kool FM' which was current music at the time. There was a song that caught my ear at one point, and it sounded dancy and perhaps 'house.' All I knew was that it was a woman singing and it sounded quite 'feel-good.'

Today, while at work, I heard it again, after fifteen or sixteen years.

I don't know if I would ever expect Wal-Mart to pipe that song in. The store's music has surprised me a few times - particularly if they play something I only discovered on Boom FM (80s and Canadian) and they did play 'Our House' by Madness once as well. The majority of music piped in is boring and unappealing, though they really do strike a good one once in awhile - whether it's 'You Are The Girl' by The Cars, or 'All Eyes on You' by Diego Garcia (something I discovered two months ago and quite like).

I turned up the music in receiving and struggled to hear at least one lyric. The backroom is a loud place to work. Wooden pallets are often dropped on the ground, or electric pump jacks are whurring or screaming, or the wheels on the conveyor belt are rolling as boxes are pushed down it. But I was able to make something out today, and when I got home, I had my reunion.

I never kept track of what I listened to as a child, so anything good I heard then, if it wasn't hugely successful to the point of being almost iconic, just faded to distant memory. It's unfortunate now when I hear something old and I have no idea what it is.

Thankfully, I've got it here:

It really was a reunion. I really liked it when I was eight or nine. That was fourteen-fifteen years ago. It was the backing voices that I liked, as well as the music itself. Now, being an adult and having an ear and a knowledge of music (to an extent) I can easily explain why.

By the way, synesthesia-wise, while the synesthetic memory is almost completely unaltered or changed or forgotten when I recall it from that long time ago, it still re-asserts itself differently when I hear it again now. That's because I'm listening from a different perspective, and seeing it as I do now with my adult mind. The landscape is generally different in terms of spatial direction, though the purple and violet that I see mostly stays the same.

The reason the song works (particularly the chorus) is because it's set in D# (D sharp, or, if you prefer, E flat). The notes D to E (and the sharp/flat in the middle) are the most sunny, brightest notes/major chords you can get in music (put into the right context, this can also include F and F#/Gb as well). Most of the song is in D#. Therefore it's bright and lovely and virtually 'glorious'. The backing vocals that proceed the main vocals also stay in D# by the last lyric in the line. The rest of the song has a sort of urgency to it, a penultimate expectation, that keeps it going. Synesthetically, because this song is in between D and E (D is more of a morning pink, E is a deeper red), the purple/violet I get out of D# is extremely evident. The backing vocals are a soft white tinged with slight purple.

Hearing it now, there are a lot of other elements I like about it as well. The sound of the snare drum, which is kind of soft, and the bass drum. The synthy bass line. Particularly the little chirping string inflections during all the choruses, which make me think of joy and happiness and girls with red hair.

It's quite unusual to read me talking enthusiastically about a dance song, one that's mostly electronic, considering I have virtually no appreciation or interest in that genre at all. Mostly I'm not interested because they don't sound genuine to me; they don't sound like real instruments with sophisticated melodies, they lack character to me, just something a computer could do or generate. But, I guess for the time I first heard it, the time it came out (it was released in 1998) and the general brightness and joy about the song really glue me to it. It sounded comforting to me when I was young, because the voices virtually fawn over in the song. Real female faces of my past come to mind when I hear it now.

As for the artist, her real name is Sonia and she's more of a DJ than a musician, from the U.K., and the song is apparently about her unrequited love for someone in her past, as well as the source of her feelings - they were for the person, not for his success, they were deep and genuine, not superficial and fake.

Music: A
Lyrics: B+

All I can say, other than the nostalgic reunion this gave me after a fifteen year absence, is that this song really does it - it really feels so good.

Justin C.

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