Musical Playlist #1: Another Time And Place

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Since I'm such a big music fan, I thought it would be fun to write about some of my favorite songs or any newly discovered songs.  I imagine that I'll write a little bit about the songs and what images come to mind when I hear these songs.

As my musical taste is eclectic, the songs I write about will be as well.  I listen to almost everything so I will be writing about songs that are both old and new and include genres such as rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, soul, disco and funk.

The Musical Playlist kicks off with these four songs:

  1. Lovers In Japan-Coldplay

  2. Island In The Sun-Weezer

  3. East Bay-Boney James

  4. Beat The Street (Kiss Master Mix)-Sharon Redd

These songs represent several different genres but what they all do for me is take me to another time or to another place in my mind.

Lovers In Japan

Coldplay, one of my favorite bands, came out with the song Lovers In Japan sometime in 2008.  Only recently did I see the video, but I have loved this song for a long time now. The song comes from the album, Viva La Vida, which featured the hit song of the same name.

Whenever I hear this song, I am transformed to another place.  I picture lovers embracing  on the veranda of a traditional Japanese tea house overlooking a beautiful Japanese garden somewhere in Kyoto. (See an example here.)  There are beautiful blooming shrubs, flowers and towering Japanese maple trees.  Flowers and leaves fall from the trees and shrubs and swirl about the couple, falling into their hair and onto the beautiful silk kimono robes they are both wearing.

Even better, are lovers embracing in the middle of a busy Tokyo street at night.  Bright lights and thousands of bodies pass them but they are so oblivious to it all because they are lost in their love.

Ah, romance..

Island In The Sun

I fell in love with the song Island In The Sun by Weezer during my college days.  This song provides a quick and easy escape from a rough day for me.  The video with the band and cute furry little animals is definitely on my list of the cutest things I've ever seen.  In fact, I purchased Weezer's Green album just for this song.

The lilting guitar beckons me to an island (maybe even private) with sandy beaches, a clear blue sea ripe with tropical fish and a flock of dolphins swimming together in the distance.  Sometimes I need to know that there is paradise somewhere on this Earth, even if it's far away from the life in the concrete jungle.

East Bay

East Bay is a smooth jazz song by Boney James, a renowned saxophonist, songwriter and producer.  He was one of the first to establish the genre of urban jazz and came highly recommended by Briggette, a friend of the family.  I have a few of his albums including Sweet Thing, which features this song, East Bay.  This album was a hit for Boney James and this song is constantly played on smooth jazz radio.  In fact, I'd heard it many times before I learned the name of the song or the artist.  It is easily one of my favorite smooth jazz songs..

East Bay moves me deeply especially after a rough day.  It is so calming and soothing to me.  I picture myself driving across the Golden Gate bridge on a foggy or clear day (really depends on my mood or how bad the day was), top down of a convertible car.  San Francisco is behind me, the ocean beneath me and the East Bay in the distance.

Beat The Street

First, a little bit about this song and the artist.  Beat The Street by Sharon Redd came out in 1982.  I was very young at time so I don't know that I actually heard it then.  But I did discover this song from the Music Showcase channels Disco Marathon and it became an instant favorite of mine.  A funky beat, tight lyrics, strong message and outstanding voice create the perfect song in my mind.  The video posted was filmed in 1988 in San Diego, California.

Sharon Redd was a disco and funk singer that had an incredible range. She sang back up for Bette Midler in the 1970s and then with a group called Front Page before going solo.  With Front Page, Sharon had a hit song called "Love Insurance" and then went on to be a club favorite with this song and others like "Never Give You Up" (another one of my favorites from my childhood).  Sharon Redd was big in the clubs and a favorite for the classic Kiss Master Mix on 98.7 Kiss FM.  These Master Mixes were (and still are) all the rage in New York City.

From what I've read about this song, I know that it was popular on the Lower East Side, especially in Alphabet City, as well as in the clubs.  Whenever I hear this song I think about New York City in the 1980s.  It was rife with crime and what we now call the crack era.  But there was also so much creativity and artistry in so many neighborhoods across the city.  It truly was the good old bad days!

I think about all of the hustlers and wanna-be hustlers, so many of them who fell prey to the crime, violence and drug addiction of that time.  I think especially of the women, many of them former beauty queens who became addicted to crack and often died alone on the streets of the city.  I can picture people dancing in the most popular fashions of the early 1980s (bright colors, leather skirts and lace stockings etc), but I also realize that while I am dancing to this funky beat, Sharon Redd is really rallying us to stay away from the streets and to those who are already in it, to leave that life behind.  While I have listened to this message, I know that there are so many who haven't.  And so I think of all of this as I dance and move to one of my favorite songs.

That's all for this edition of the Musical Playlist.  But I'm sure I'll be back with more.

Naj

 

Naj