January 03, 2005

Introducing: Goth & B

The first great single of 2005 comes from a former make-up artist who sang backup on OutKast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Tori Alamaze's "Don' Cha," produced by Cee-Lo, is a weird, mournful amalgam of R&B and goth-house -- like gospel modulated through Swayzak, or a Kompakt Pop record reconfigured for an Atlanta strip club.

It really is a strip club kinda song: it swivels and grinds at a pace seemingly much slower than its actual 120 BPM, building up button-popping suspense with every glacial side-to-side. And speaking of glaciers, the mid-range organs -- has Cee-Lo been listening to Ada or something? -- flare up like sun flashing off a blinding ice shelf; the only signs of a thaw are in the detuned ride cymbals, which soften and drip with every bar. (While we're pointing out techno analogues, they sound uncannily like the sour rides in Richie Hawtin and Steve Bug's "Low Blow".)

The track's secret crux is in the disconnect between the lyrics and the tune: the chorus goes, "Don' cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me/ Don' cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me," but for all her sass, Alamaze sounds mostly sad, and the instrumental behind her is utterly downcast. What might have been just another pole dancer's "crunk & B" jam is, instead, something much more complicated: a funeral march for erotic love.

Posted by philip at January 3, 2005 04:17 PM

rad song indeed. i didn't realize cee-lo was involved -- solves the question of what genius decided to tweak sir mix-a-lot's decidedly unsexy "swass" hook into hot hot heat. mad wunnerful!

Posted by: steuer at January 5, 2005 07:42 PM

whoa, wait a minute. that's built on a sir mix-a-lot sample? which part???

Posted by: philip at January 5, 2005 07:54 PM

also, another contender for "first best single of '05" is that new amerie jawn. HAWT!!!

Posted by: steuer at January 5, 2005 08:38 PM

yessir. from the first album. the song's called "swass."

"don't you wish your boyfriend could swass like me?"

it's a kinda lame/great song/album. the mix-a-lot one, not the tori one.

Posted by: steuer at January 5, 2005 08:40 PM

Great description Philip. This song is so damn good!

Posted by: Michael F. Gill at January 8, 2005 10:09 PM

I listened to the Sir-Mix-Alot album until it wore out. Years later I bought it on CD and it had a new song on it, F the BS. Sir-Mix-ALot is a genius! And to think that 'Tori Alamaze' bit off of Mix-Alot boils my blood. How could they take that classic title track and turn it into something dirty and unclean? It just goes to show you that "artists" these days will bite off anything. Long ago I tought I could make a mix of all bites, but I uncovered much, too much. There is no number to measure them all. To this day I still refer to myself as Swass.

Posted by: Mikey at January 11, 2005 06:26 PM

One of the ultimate blood-boiling bites w/out enough respect to not cover the song has got to be Gwen Stefani trying to sing 'It's my Life'. And the video's so terrible/Talk Talk's video so gorgeous. Her new LP is bite after bite in excess, though I can't quite i.d. any of the old school riffs.

But I originally wanted to comment on Goth-house. I just realised Mathew Jonson's (2004) shit is so Goth if nothing else-

Posted by: SLAYER at January 14, 2005 10:28 PM

OK, so i just checked out the goth-house link on ILM, which is amazing. Thanks for posting that! Wow a year long discussion on this german produced music that i had always loosely referred to as 'heroin house' (though i acknowledge that's a theo parrish/Moodyman thing proper) but which alternately makes sense to call 'Goth'.

Posted by: SLAYER at January 14, 2005 10:54 PM

Is there anywhere I get her CD?

Posted by: Amanda at January 29, 2005 10:55 PM

i love it! it's gonna be big, worldwide, i'm sure!
somehow reminds me of r. kelly and sparkle's 'be careful'.

Posted by: nils at January 31, 2005 11:37 AM

when will tori alamaze cd don't cha be out

Posted by: donna at March 17, 2005 03:56 PM

when will tori alamaze cd don't cha be out

Posted by: donna at March 17, 2005 03:56 PM
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