Music

Good Mood Music: Expression

You know life
Is all about expression
You only live once, and you’re not coming back
So express yourself, yeah…

Salt-N-Pepa exhibited “Girl Power” years before the Spice Girls hit the music scene. “Expression” off the Blacks’ Magic album is my favorite Salt-N-Pepa track. It was the first song Salt (Cheryl James) wrote and produced herself — and it happened to go Platinum. Not a bad debut.

Recently, the group (which also includes Sandra Denton as Pepa and DeeDee Roper as Spinderella) highlighted 15 songs from their over 3 decade long career and told Rolling Stone why they tell the tale of their career. “Expression” was one of them. Of the song, Salt said:

Personally, it was me trying to see if what I witnessed and learned was something I could actually implement. And liberation from being Hurby’s girlfriend. I wanted to start taking over the voice of Salt-N-Pepa more in the studio – more in control of what we wanted to say. And that might have been because of “Twist and Shout.” That might have been a backlash. [Laughs.] I don’t know. I just know I had it in me.

For background, “Twist and Shout” is a cover of the Beatles tune. Hurby Azor, a producer and songwriter who up until that point was very involved in the creative direction of the group, suggested the song. Salt-N-Pepa basically recorded the song under protest, feeling it wasn’t right for them. They hardly ever performed it in the U.S. because of a lackluster response. The response was a little better in Europe, but eventually they’d stop performing it all together.

A factoid about the video is Pepa was pregnant and wasn’t quite feeling her normal, expressive self on set. But what are friends for?

I remember having a hard time doing the video and I remember Salt having a little “pep” talk with me – literally – like, “Pull it together girl, you could do this.” You know, I’m feeling all big and fat and just crazy. I’m usually being sexy or something in the video, and now I know even being pregnant is sexy, but back then, I’m thinking, like, “What?” I didn’t feel it at the moment. … She had the little talk with me, and then something just came over me and I just took charge and I owned it, and I killed the video.

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Music

Good Mood Music: Do Your Thing

Issac Hayes was a master of mood music. Most well-known for the blaxploitation movie soundtrack Shaft, Hayes was a fixture of the 1960s and 1970s music scene — particularly as one of the primary songwriters for Stax Records.

Hayes’ catalog can only be described as soulful. “Do Your Thing” has an almost laissez-faire vibe as it encourages listeners to follow their intuition and do what moves them.

If the music makes you move, cause you can dig the groove
Then groove on, groove on
If you feel like you wanna make love under the stars above
Love on, love on
If there’s something you wanna say, and talkin’ is the only way
Rap on, oh, rap on
Cause whatever you do, oh, you’ve got to do your thing…

An edit of the nearly 20 minute song, of which only around 2 minutes has vocals, was one of two Top 40 hits spawned by the Shaft soundtrack in 1971 (the Shaft theme was the other).

Of special note, Hayes was recently honored in his hometown of Covington, Tennessee with his own celebratory day.

Music

Good Mood Music: Stronger

Did you see these scars
Trying to eat through this flesh?
Making its way to my heart
Wanting to destroy what’s left.
What you saw was at the start
Of destruction at its best…

Tank is one of a myriad of singers that probably doesn’t get the play that is deserved for how talented he is (the story of present-day R&B, right?).

The former Ginuwine backup singer has been singing solo since the early 2000s (in addition to limited engagements with Ginuwine and Tyrese as TGT). “Stronger” is his ode to the transformative power of love from his 2014 release that bears the same name as the song.

…Wait ’til you see my smile
Wait ’til you see what’s next
Wait ’til you see this light
That’s burning through my chest…

Music

Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 4

This is the 4th and final part of the songs I chose for the 30-Day Music Challenge I completed on Twitter last month. Part 1 (songs 1-7) is here. Part 2 (songs 8-15) is here. Part 3 (songs 16-22) is here.

DAY 23: A song that you think everybody should listen to

DAY 24: A song by a band/group you wish was still together

DAY 25: A song by an artist no longer living

Continue reading “Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 4”

Music

Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 3

This is part 3 of the songs I chose for the 30-Day Music Challenge I completed on Twitter last month. Part 1 (songs 1-7) is here. Part 2 (songs 8-15) is here. Part 4 (songs 23-30) is here.

DAY 16: One of your favorite songs from a movie

DAY 17: A song that features your favorite artist

DAY 18: A song from the year that you were born

Continue reading “Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 3”

Music

Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 2

This is part 2 of the songs I chose for the 30-Day Music Challenge I completed on Twitter last month. Part 1 (songs 1-7) is here. Part 3 (songs 16-22) is here. Part 4 (songs 23-30) is here.

DAY 8: A song about drugs or alcohol

DAY 9: A song that makes you happy

DAY 10: A song that makes you sad

Continue reading “Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 2”

Music

Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 1

It’s a 30 for 1 special!

Last month, I did the 30-Day Music Challenge on Twitter. So instead of picking just one song for this month to feature, I’m listing all of my responses from the challenge. Below are days 1-7. Days 8-15 are in part 2. Days 16-22 are in part 3. Days 23-30 are in part 4.

DAY 1: A song you like with a color in the title

DAY 2: A song you like with a number in the title

DAY 3: A song that reminds you of summertime

Continue reading “Good Mood Music: The 30-Day Music Challenge Part 1”