Quick definition of pop song: any popular song from any era regardless of musical genre.
The criteria for getting to be Reid’s Pop Song of the Month is simple: I have to love the tune. It has to dye me, heal, console and inspire me, teach, enlarge and challenge me, contribute to my personal evolution, resonate through my lifetime and be a wonder-filled marriage of music and lyrics. Each tune has to have “seen me through” somehow. Not much to ask of a pop song, is it?
There are certainly elements of “trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll” when writing intimately about something utterly subjective like your favourite songs. I’ll keep my tongue firmly in my cheek and the tone light and fluffy just like the music. With every song in this series, it might take a few listens to hear what I hear but if you never hear it, that’s fine too. Ear of the beholder. Besides, it’s only a pop song.
Lest we fall into a pop culture miasma of foolishness and desire and lose track of our balance, I suggest you click on the Culture is not your friend link on my blogroll and let Terence McKenna fill you in. He makes a very clear distinction between art and culture, a distinction that is mostly invisible today.
REID’S POP SONG OF THE MONTH IS
Whatever Gets You True
Neither the song nor artist is well-known but this bright positive little ditty has been caught in my musical craw for a number of years. Plus it has an imaginative video that actually has something to do with the song! Give it a look and listen then I shall expound. I dedicate the song and video to my old buddy Mitch who has “seen it all” during his decades of driving taxi on Winnipeg streets.
From street busker to open mike night at a club to signing with Sony to being managed by U2’s management company, Paddy Casey‘s career is a classic story of musical discovery. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, street performer Paddy’s appearance at the International Bar caught the ear of a Sony A & R man who signed him to the label. In 1999 he released his first album Amen (So Be It) from which the Pop Song of the Month comes. From folk to rhythm and blues to full-out rock & roll, Paddy expresses his influences with sincerity and creative honesty. Whatever Gets You True is a shining example.
This cheerful concoction infected with a swirling wheezy roller-rink organ and a solid beat conveys its uplifting message with just the right amount of sickly sweetness, raw truth and inspiring lyrics to be Reid’s Pop Song of the Month. Paddy’s voice, phrasing and inflection qualify him for inclusion on the long list of “the next Bob Dylans.” His imagery – “I like elevators, too,” – supports the theory. The song’s message is simple: follow your bliss, be yourself, whoever that might be.
The video shows specific examples of the message in the context of taxi fares, an imaginative time lapse free-for-all that includes firebugs, jocks, lesbians, precocious children, transvestites, sinister combinations of people, drunks, musicians and pets, ending with Paddy being absorbed into a spacecraft, ascending into the Godhead or something. Great use of the roof hatch! There is appropriate homage to Dylan with the lyric cue cards a la Subterranean Homesick Blues in the taxi.
This song makes me happy! Let it make you happy too.
The Final Tally for Whatever Gets You True
On the ascending scale of sweetness according to The Beatles song Savoy Truffle:
Nice apple tart
Cool cherry cream
Ginger sling with a pineapple heart
Number of teeth you’ll need to pull (out of 32): 9
Compared to glucose/fructose, the likelihood of getting diabetes from listening to this tune repeatedly is: 32%