Thursday, September 4, 2014

A 'B' in Angst

Recently I've come to now and then play 'Walk Like an Egyptian' by the Bangles. It was in that list of songs I put together in June - I'd listen to it, basically. When I realized the song was in B, though, my interest rose and I started playing it now and then.

I first saw it on TV somewhere. It was probably that old Video on Trial show on MuchMusic. It used to be kind of funny to watch as comedians picked apart a song's music video (and usually the song itself). They had an 80s version that included this song.

There are only two songs by that band I'm familiar with, this song as well as 'Manic Monday,' which I originally thought was by 10,000 Maniacs due to the voice sounding almost exactly like Natalie Merchant's. That's just me of course - their voices aren't exactly the same, but I thought that was how Merchant sounded if she sung in a higher register. I hear 'Manic Monday' a lot more often than I ever hear 'Walk Like an Egyptian' both at Wal-Mart as well as on my radio. It doesn't sound anything in my opinion like the other song.

The lyrics weren't written by The Bangles apparently, but by someone else who also decided who sang the lead lyrics. This caused some resentment from the drummer who was pushed to the background vocals and further had her drums filled in by a drum machine. I wonder why they did it that way?

Lyric-wise, the song seems to simply just be about people walking like an Egyptian; the music video intersperses footage of the band playing with images of people actually walking that way on the streets or pictures of celebrities and notable people animated to move that way through visual effects.

The gem for me here is the slightly dark tone of the music itself. The majority of the song is in B major. On its own, played on the piano, the chord is a lime green/aqua blue colour. In this song, this context, and on the guitar, it's a bright yellow. I tend to view it synesthetically in a westward direction, and the way its played - just lazily strummed over and over - gives me quite an atmosphere, personality, ideal and context.

It gives me a sullen teenage girl who is bored, restless, and has a sort of anger, perhaps even bitterness. Of course, being B, the girl is my type. Maybe she's into motorcycles. I can visualize her with a black leather jacket. She doesn't listen to anyone, makes her own rules, moves about on her own. This is all through how the guitar plays, and helped by the accompanying bass line. Not interested in beating around the bush. The end of the song is joined by this riff that plays along with the guitar, which makes me imagine that this girl and her friend(s), riding along, are joined by their boyfriends who make it interesting. They're more light-hearted and comedic than sullen or bored and pick the rest up. This idea is created by how silly or clownish the riff sounds.

The song is good to me when it causes my synesthesia to very directly create a personality or face and character that I find attractive and then put it in a light that accentuates this more. Blunt. No-nonsense. The 'B' in a sort of late teenage angst. The backing voices that make the 'whoa' parts can be alluded to me as a sort of imagination of great adventure, through the eyes of this bored girl.

To finish, the song is straightforward, and if I were to try to listen to all the fast-paced lyrics, probably interesting as well, and it gives me an appealing image, so it does its job for me.

I'm pretty sure the person who uploaded that wrote in mis-heard lyrics.

Music: A-
Lyrics: B

The lazy way that guitar plays...it's quite effective.

Red Cloud
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