BixMeister

BixMeister

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When Snap! peaks on the Hot 100 I will tell you the real reason the follow up singles died a quick death, especially on the dance chart.
When I was young I made bell bottoms for my brother’s GI Joe. First clue. Then I kept up to date on the latest fashions from Carnaby Street while yearning for a madras plaid shirt so I could be like my older brother and The Beach Boys. My mom made me baggy corduroys when they weren’t popular enough to be sold at JC Penney’s and then in college I started to combine vintage clothing with pieces I’d splurge on from better men’s stores. I strive for an individual style that’s always been in my DNA. For others not to care, only makes my individual style more evident. Nothing mean spirited in that.
Dr. Susan Rogers, Prince’s sound engineer during his imperial phase said Rock and Roll has tension in the juxtaposition of the loud/soft chorus/solos while R&B and dance will ride the same groove over a song, but the small changes in the groove create the tension. It’s part of the street I live on.
The intro of that cut is from Ooh I Love it.
Meanwhile on the silver screen, large and small, Love is the Message gets its place in the spotlight. I’ve mentioned the documentary “Paris is Burning” before. A few years back NPR asked various musicians and DJs who were influenced by the movie to share their insights on the music. Here is what DJ Vjuan Allure had to say about “Love is the Message.” "More than any other song, ‘Love is the Message,' by MFSB, is the epitome of what a ballroom song should be: the beat, the feeling and all the drama! When I first heard this song I didn't understood it, and was NOT into it at all. I liked the faster uptempo songs in house, which were exciting to me and pushed my dancing to amazing heights. Many clubs in NYC in the early '90s played this as a closing song and the floor would FILL. Me — being young and underage — sulked, protested and pouted on the sidelines. I told my friends how I HATED that 'Philly Sound' song. They would laugh at me and say, 'ONE day it will hit you!' Not long after, I learned how to vogue and loved it, and the next time I heard 'Love Is The Message,' it finally hit me. I felt the strings — I was HEARING this song for the first time, and in dancing to it I finally and fully understood what my friends had been talking about!" I got the message. I was one of those who didn’t understand it at first. But then I had my own awakening, one that was cemented when Pose honored it by doing a “Love is the Message” episode. As Pray Tell copes with his partner’s AIDs, the only solace he finds is in “Love is the Message” which he keeps on playing, causing his friends to stage a “friendtervention” since his solace is not shared. Later in the episode it’s a moment of beauty, as Pray Tell tells his nurse about dancing with his boyfriend all summer in 1980 to “Love is the Message.” “Love is the Message” will never be a mainstream hit. But for the people who claim, and celebrate it, it’s unmatched. “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” RuPaul When I lived in North Dakota, the local college hosted something called Cinema 100. They’d bring in classic movies, or small movies that normally wouldn’t make their market, and show them at a local theater. There was a college course tied to it, and open discussion at a local restaurant. I was part of a core group who always showed up. They showed “Paris is Burning” in 1991. The usual suspects showed up for the open discussion at the restaurant, but with a new addition. She looked like a lumberjack who stepped out of Minnesota’s north woods. Her buffalo-checked flannel was tucked into the waistband of her cuffed Carhartts. She sat stoically, arms crossed, while we discussed the movie. In the discussion I tied the movie to “Vogue” for a frame of reference. She seemed pissed that she was there. Then she spoke. “Why do they have to dress like that? Why do men have to dress like women?” RuPaul wasn’t in my life yet, but I channeled her. “Everything is drag. Everyone makes decisions about their clothes to represent how they see themselves. For instance, in many societies what you are wearing could be seen as wearing the clothes of a man.” It wasn’t a personal attack, at least I didn’t intend it to be. Yet she heard it that way and started to object. One of the other regulars changed the subject quickly. I often think of her. Maybe she struggled with her own sexuality, especially in North Dakota. Maybe she was a TERF before there was a term, with an anti-Trans agenda. I don’t know, I only wish her the best. Unless of course she’s a TERF, then…
Here’s a mix I did to celebrate it. https://www.mixcloud.com/BixMeister/evolution-of-a-classic/ Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full (Seven Minutes of Madness) (Coldcut remix) – 00:00 MFSB – Love is the Message (Tom Moulton Mix) – 00:07 The Salsoul Orchestra – Chicago Bus Stop (Ooh I Love It) – 09:31 The Salsoul Orchestra – Oooh I Love It (Love Break) – 13:55 MFSB – Love is the Message (Danny Krivit Re-Edit) – 18:41 Raze – Break 4 Love – 26:06 Malcolm McLaren and the Bootzilla Orchestra – Deep In Vogue – 31:04 Madonna – Vogue (12in. Mix) – 38:12
Meanwhile, somewhere in the mid 80s, a DJ puts on a white-labelled bootleg of a dancefloor classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxzJ-s6jfYQ “Love is the Message” was already in my life since I owned the Tom Moulton version, but I never grasped the connection it had with the dancefloor. Then I heard the Danny Krivit edit that married “Love is the Message” with “Oooh I Love It (Love Break)” and everything made sense. I saw how it could be the Disco National Anthem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLKQD6GoKNU In 1988 Raze released “Break 4 Love.” Though it wasn’t based on either song through sample or interpolation, I hear “Break 4 Love” as an answer to “Ooh I Love It (Love Break)” and you can’t convince me otherwise. Then in 1989, armed with a copy of the unreleased Ballroom scene documentary “Paris Is Burning” and “inspired” by “Love is the Message” Malcolm McLaren released the first Vogue song “Deep In Vogue.” The “Love is the Message” groove, the groove that DJ Danny Krivit said was more House than Disco, hits Number One on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart as a house song, FINALLY. Then as noted above, Madonna and Shep Pettibone interpolate/sample/steal the horns/groove/feel from “Love is the Message” and “(Love Break)” and the underground Disco National Anthem finally hits Number One. “Vogue” 10/10 The musicians of MFSB/Salsoul Orchestra/The Philly Sound etc. 10/10 “The Groove” 10/10 The Disco National Anthem, “Love is the Message” 10/10
Meanwhile, somewhere in a recording studio in 1975/76 Tom Moulton is given his dream job. Philadelphia International wants him to re-edit several of their hits to make them ready for the dancefloor. Among the gems are his personal choice, “Love is the Message.” By now there is the MFSB version with The Three Degrees singing minimal lyrics. Razor blade, master tapes, and talent in hand, Moulton extends and revamps a song that he says, “was like being pushed off a cliff, and not falling.” It is this version that I heard first when I bought the Philadelphia Classics album in 1976. This is the only version of “Love is the Message” to make the Disco chart, and only as part of the album. This almost 12 minutes of being pushed off a cliff, and not falling, is the version that cements “Love is the Message” as a disco anthem that the general radio audience knows nothing about. Many DJs claim it as their own, working and manipulating the song, and with the song, the dancers. By 1979-80 it had a second life in the clubs and even on WBLS radio, but it doesn’t chart. Meanwhile, somewhere along the line 1976-83 Disco booms, dies, and is reborn. It goes underground and acts find ways to reinvigorate their catalog. Salsoul Orchestra revisit their Chicago Bus Stop and update it as “Ooh I love It (Love Break)” The cheesy “rap” on it is extremely dated, but the eponymous (Love Break) of the title is as essential as they get when it comes to dance beats. You may not have heard it, but I promise you that you’ve heard it. “(Love Break)” becomes a vital album in many crates during the ‘80s. The horn flourishes, and percussion stick around and become the backbone for Vogue, listen at 4:36 and you’ll hear it. Oh by the way, notice it was mixed by Shep Pettibone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkDmbJegNpw
when I edit something I posted in virtual 1974 when MFSB took “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” to the top. Indulge a post that may be long-winded. Indulge your ears with a 40-some-minute mix based off a groove. It’s the groove that was 17 years long. …Meanwhile, in a disco somewhere in 1973/74 someone is playing MFSB’s “Love Is The Message.” It isn’t a single yet, they are playing the album cut. It has a meaty groove, and the simple orchestration is uplifting. The greatness of the song lays in how it builds effortlessly, then releases only to build again. The record itself is only a small part of the story. The full story is told in how the DJ brings the song to life. The song sneaks up on the dancers and the DJ notices how they react. There is a freedom, and musicality to their movement. The song sets into a mellow yet urgent groove, allowing the dancers to express themselves. The effect is cumulative, added exposure, doesn’t create ennui, but instead draws the dancers deeper into the music. The DJ pulls out a second copy of the MFSB album, and in his headphones, finds the exact same spot on the song. He slowly phases the sound by bringing the volume up on the second copy, and minutely adjusting the speed. The dancers fall deeper into their groove as the song washes over them. He then slows the second copy, creating a stutter step to the rhythm. Through his manipulation, a club anthem is born. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYU7Otg-KJU Meanwhile, in a disco somewhere in 1975 someone is playing “Chicago Bus Stop” by the Salsoul Orchestra. The DJ might not be aware that The Salsoul Orchestra has many of the same members as MFSB, but the groove is there. The dancers are responding and singing along to the somewhat camp “Ooh I love it” coos. The DJ wants to extend the groove as the dancers “do the bus stop,” so he shuffles through his crate. He pulls “Love is the Message” from its sleeve, and places it on the turntable. The live drumming makes it hard to beat-match, but he finds the groove from the instrumental section, and slowly fades over with one hand, while adjusting the tempo on the fly with his other hand. The segue is so smooth, the dancers don’t realize until the signature “Love is the Message” melody sends them into a frenzy. Dozens of whistles sound out their approval. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pyhO_0CqiQ
While I agree to a point, notice I said talented.
This is a good set of Number Ones. All of them are 9 or 10 for different reasons.
I think there is a much more obvious public figure who is a sociopath out there somewhere, but I can't quite put my finger on them.
I am prematurely asking people to indulge me on Friday. I might end up a bit long winded, and as someone has said, might need an editor, but it's connected to Friday's song on two fronts. There will be a BIXMix involved. Oh, my Best of 89 Vol 1 mix is on its way to being one of my most popular mixes on MixCloud thanks to TNOCS. I'm thinking of finishing my mixes I've started for other years from the 80s, so if you have a preference, reply below. Last thing, have any of you run into other Stereogum fans in the wild? Yesterday I did, and I won't go into specifics, but it is someone I think a lot of. It's a small world.
1. Jimmy Jam said that Prince was singing "Nothing Compares 2 U" to himself. There is a whole lot of narcissism in Prince's lyrics, so it's possible that the title came to him and he fleshed it out. 2. This review automatically enters 10/10 territory for Tom. Bravo! 3. After Tom's review of Taylor Dayne there was discussion that mentioned cancel culture. 1990 sees two popular, talented artists that will face cancel culture on a major scale, Sinead and Janet. Cancel culture is a new term favored by those who are pissed that their bad deeds are being questioned and they aren't able to have someone else under their thumb. if you FAFO, that isn't cancel culture, that's consequences for your actions, 4. This song is, was and shall always be a masterpiece.
Happy Birthday Guy. I don’t remember hearing it much, and even after seeing the video I don’t remember how I goes. One caveat, we are coming up to the day when soundscan enters the chart methodologies and there has to be reasons they started being more transparent about why a song hit Number One. Not saying this one benefited from chart Tomfoolery but…
For some reason I connect Last Date with my mom so automatically it’s a 10/10
But I somehow survived the shoulder pad scare of the early 90s.
Narrator voice: “He in fact was my nothing.”
Taylor Dayne defines vocal histrionics for me who’s is okay on the dance floor, but this… ABC is joyous and loose. Michael would lose both strengths over the years. Janet maintained both for far longer 10/10 til infinity Let It Be is a hymn, but the guitar solo is what takes it to heaven.
There is a house remix of Elvis is Dead that will appear on my 90 mix.
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