Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #68: "Gangsta" - tUnE-yArDs

I am chronically confused by tUnE-yArDs. Like, seriously. I don't know what the hell is going on half the time. Maybe even most of the time.

But sometimes there's a moment of clarity enough. OK, maybe not even clarity. Hell, I'll say it -- I STILL don't know what's going on in "Gangsta." But I still love this song. Maybe you will too.

The song begins with the sound of sirens, followed by a driving drum loop and bass. And then project leader Merrill Garbus recreates the siren sound, using her own voice. And then layers onto it a harmony to that siren noise. Yeah. Harmonizing human siren noises, basically. And it's all looped.

"What's a boy to do if he'll never be a gangsta?" Garbus asks, thereby asking the real questions in life. Add in saxophone and more drum clicks.

Garbus has always been labeled as experimental, but this is an oddity in the best sense of the words. It's almost as though there's no rhyme or reason to the song. It follows no set pattern. Sometimes she'll start singing the chorus, and then she'll stop. And then she'll begin it again. And stop again. The whole song is delightfully unbounded. Garbus is just doing whatever the hell she wants, and somehow within the cacophony, she makes a cohesive song.

And you know what? It's a great one. Strange sirens and all.

No comments:


Blog Archive