I use the colder months to explore and go deep into other genres like jazz or classical. I’m usually kind of depressed anyway, so happy music would only taunt me.
When the weather warms up my musical (and mental, hopefully) habits change, too. My energy level increases and I start to look for rock n’ roll and pop music. Something energetic, joyful. Call it Spring or Summer music.
Such music is harder to find than one might think. One person’s “Happy” music is idiotic to another. One person’s “pop” is another’s mindless commercial junk.
One’s joyful music is another’s sappy garbage.
Can you guess who the “another” is in this analogy?
But everyone once in awhile I’m the “one person”, and I live for those instances.
Anyhow, I realized, as I stated in the prior post a "masterpiece" probably wouldn’t fit the bill, and so went looking for something of note, but maybe not something held in awe by anyone.
There may be thousands of records released every year, but once you put them through the Jaybee strainer you’re lucky if end up with even a handful to seriously consider. It was encouraging to hit upon That Petrol Emotion, and a downright pleasure to find the Go! Team, who have made my Summer Album.
The Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004)
There is the quiet and pretty summer music that helps you beat the heat, like Beck's Morning Phase, and then there’s the fast loud summer music that allows you to revel in it.
This is the latter.
Now here is a group of young people - of both genders and several races - who make me almost happy to be alive.
And their debut album screams “Youth!”, even when it’s borrowings sound kind of old. And youth in the best sense. Like when you see a group of young people having a good time, and instead of wanting to call the cops, you raise your glass.
The end product is at least partially - and perhaps mostly - samples of other records. (If that sounds unpromising, you might want to check out DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing… which is comprised exclusively of samples and is, by the way, a masterpiece, and one of the great records of the 90s.)
Anyway, the samples are “borrowed” from all over. (I believe some legal action may have been taken to ensure everyone got their royalty check.) Yet, I’m ashamed to say, I barely recognize any of them.
Which makes it hard for me to tell where the samples leave off and the direct contributions of the band members begin.
But, I. Don’t. Care.
Because they manage to concoct a perfect blend of rock n’ roll, hip-hop, soul and pop on nearly every track. Hear a part you’re not crazy about? Just stick around a few seconds and another part will bring you right back. Don’t like that hip hop intro? Hold on, and the electric guitars will kick in shortly.
I admit the sixties style horns (a la “Hawaii Five-O” and Motown) can get a bit cheesy, but who doesn’t like cheese? Plus, it gives me pleasure to know that these young folks enjoy that music, too.
And to hear it mixed in - successfully!, in “Bottle Rocket” - with a young woman rapping, a young man playing - of all things - harmonica, soul guitar fills, and another young woman singing 2,4,6,8,10!, is damn near exhilarating.
And I almost wish I was the guy playing bass throughout.
I can imagine another person hating this music, either on principle alone or in actual practice. (Mrs. Jaybee does occasionally ask “Sooooo, what is this?”, and not in the good way.)
But I guess one person’s timeless music may be another person’s horror, but I’m definitely the “one person” this time around.
Thunder Lightning Strike! is fast, loud and most of all, joyful. Which is what I’m in this for.
A rare instance when youth is NOT wasted on the young.