Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Int'l Motown!

Hi Diana! Bonjour/Hola/Salve/Guten Tag!

I don't love nothin more than the glory days of Motown. I mean, other than the glory days of Rawkus, and Def Jux and Wild Pitch and Ninja Tune, and when I hit my personal glory days and peaked (August 2006). I'll take midwestern rhythm and/or blues in all forms I can get my dainty fingers on--even, what the fuck, the Supremes in Italian or Marvin in German. Behold the cosmopolitan versions of Motown hits below, which comprise part of “Motown Around the World: The Classic Singles,’’ a double-disc compilation out soon that features all of my record collection Detroit paramours singing in Italian, German, French, and Spanish. []

Pre-1964 (British Invasion), record labels had their most popular singers record singles in foreign languages for sale in international markets; they believed pop music sung in English wouldn’t be popular with audiences in non-English-speaking countries. The singers learned and sang the songs phonetically, which I admire and which must've been a real bitch to have to do. Fuckin A&R.

The songs just have that old-timey aura about 'em that reminds me that there was music and a world and people before the Internet. Stevie's "My Cherie Amour" translates most successfully, but all of them possess a charming innocence not unlike myself in a cotton sundress and all of them are a pleasure to listen to, even though it's universally recognized that Mef's flirty French lure at the end of "Ice Cream" is the greatest musical example ever of an English speaker attempting a foreign language. Parlez-vous francais, mi amour? Merci, oui oui, bon bons. OOH LA LA.

There's little more to say, really, other than a) melody transcends language, and now that I have these as the soundtrack to my life, b) this is, in fact,
life in marvelous times.


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