Tuesday, June 04, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge (The Sequel), Day 4: A Song For A Sunny Day

Today's prompt in the 30 Day Song Challenge (The Sequel) is a little tough if you live in a place like Memphis. Why?  Because, if you live in a place like Memphis, your first question to yourself HAS TO BE: well, c'mon now, what kind of "sunny day" are you talking about?

Of course, we have the blissful, endorphin-producing, pass-me-my-shades while I soak-up-that-Vitamin D variety of "sunny day" that everyone knows and loves here.  But we also have at least three straight months (usually more) of those other kind of sunny days.  The I-really-SERIOUSLY-might-die kind.  The kind where the air is so hot, so heavy and so thick that you can count the steps of the Jurassic-sized mosquitoes as they walk their way across that air on their way over to suck the blood-life out of you.  The kind where nothing-- not love, not safety, nor friendship nor success nor riches of any kind-- is as valuable as locating the greatest possible quantity of air-conditioning BTUs and then parking your minimally-clothed, spirit-drained, sweat-soaked and (if you're lucky) half-intoxicated self directly in front of their output.  For that latter kind of sunny day, the miserable kind, I would choose Paul Robeson's "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen" for today's prompt.   And, to be honest, there's no runner-up in that contest.  But since Memphis has somehow managed to stave off its miserably-sunny summer days so far this year-- a truly unbelievable feat, given that we're already a few days into June-- and for the sake of staying true to the spirit of the contest's prompts, I'll pick a song today with the kinder, gentler version of sunny days in mind.

[I should say, first, that I looked ahead a bit in the list of 30 Day Song Challenge (The Sequel) prompts, so I know that tomorrow's asks for my "favorite song for driving around town with the top down" and the following day asks for my "favorite song for flying down the highway at top speed."  Both of those prompts, along with today's, ask for songs of the same ilk, in my view.  So consider yourself free to mix-and-match for the next three days.]

For today, a song that I would play on a sunny day, my criteria were pretty simple.  They are as follows: (1) Happy, (2) Feel-good, and (3) Happy.

Nevermind your pretty little head about the repetition in criterion (1) and (3).  We're talking about the most elementary execution of what is, by definition, a very elementary metaphor, after all.  (Yes, if sardonic irony is totally lost on you, I'm registering my complaint about today's prompt, which is lame.) Today's prompt is the sort of question that you give to kindergartners on their first (okay, maybe second) day of finger-painting exercises.  We're talking about comparing something to a sunny day, for Jesus H. Christ's sake.  If you think this is hard to figure out, you should really test your mettle at this this exam question.

In my neck of the woods, in Memphis, in June anyway, if a sunny day is not scientifically- or existentially-determinate as a bona fide humanity-threathening miserable day, then we consider ourselves for the most part as already holding what poker player call the nuts.   And, if we're talking about a sunny, non-miserable day in June in Memphis, well, you gotta believe that all Memphians are doing is putting our hands in the air and letting them stay there.

So, in a not-totally-ironic thumbing-my-nose at the ridiculousness of today's prompt, I'll register (obligatorily) that my pick for today was a dead-heat tie between Elvis Presley's "Little Less Conversation" (the '68 Comeback Special version) and the remix of the same song by Junkie XL (nĂ©, Tom Holkenborg).  The remix won out by a hair in the end, though, so here it is:

Despite all there is not to love about today's contest prompt. there's very little to not to love about Elvis' original recording of this song.  In fact, I'd actually recommend the whole of the '68 Comeback Special for any sunny day, but JXL's remix of this song somehow does the exact right amount of extra to put it over the top and bring all the sunshine out.  "Little Less Conversation" is just a rollicking good time of a tune.  The building crescendo of the song's bridge, in which every repetition of Elvis' "c'mon, c'mon" is more believable than the last, makes it practically impossible to refrain from flat-out hip-gyrating in the lewdest possible way when the chorus returns. And every time I hear this song, I mean every single time, I wish that "satisfactioning" was a real verb.

Elvis is so right in this song, of course, as always.  Sometimes, quite often, conversation is overrated and less of it makes room for far, far more of what you really want. Not for nothing, but this could have maybe been a good hint for whomever wrote today's 30 Day Song Challenge (The Sequel) prompt. (Okay, okay, that's REALLY the last time I'll complain about the prompts.  F'realz, you should read tomorrow's entry. I put on my very best Good Sportsmanship pants for it.) But, really, "a song for a sunny day" is like the very definition of the beginning of a conversation that I want NOTHING BUT A WHOLE LOT LESS OF..

Now back to this song,

Shut your mouth and open up your heart and baby, satisfy me.  Mad kudos to the King for these lyrics, really.  The only thing that I wish more than that it occurred to me at just the right times in my life to say those exact words is that, if I ever had, I could've gotten away with it.  Only Elvis can take care of business like that. 

Nostalgic?  Check out my Day Four entry for the 2011 version of the 30 Day Song Challenge.

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