If you love me, you’ll give me a dollar, baby

Today, for the first time ever, I paid attention to the lyrics to the verses of Ray Columbus and the Invaders‘ 1964 hit “She’s a Mod“.

The song is about a guy who fancies a girl and he’s somehow promised to buy her some clothes, but she’s going through all these different fashion styles which is – whoa, there – costing the fellow a pretty penny.

The final verse laments:

Because I wanted her love
I said I’d buy her new clothes.
She took advantage of my trust.
Now I’m broke and completely bust.

The girlfriend finally settles on the mod look, and I think the guy is cheerfully singing this in the chorus because – rejoice – he won’t have to buy her any more clothes!

But as I read these lyrics, I recognised a familiar theme. In N.W.A.‘s 1989 song “I Ain’t Tha 1” Ice Cube warns:

And they’ll get you for your money, son.
Next thing you know you’re getting their hair and they nails done

As a lesson to less savvy men, Ice Cube cautions fellows that women are just after money, and then they’ll make excuses to not have sex with you. His advice is to keep them at a safe distance, just use them for sex, and don’t give them none of yo’ cash.

It’s as if Ice Cube went through a similar situation to Ray, but instead of being happy with his moddishly attired honey, she instead dumped him when the money ran out, leaving him heart-broken and determined to never let it happen again.

So what does a more contemporary take on this theme sound like? Destiny’s Child got there in 2000 with “Independent Woman Pt 1“:

Question: Tell me what you think about me.
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings.

The shoes on my feet – I’ve bought it.
The clothes I’m wearing – I’ve bought it.

So, the well-adjusted modern woman isn’t going to constantly bother her fellow for money to buy nice things – she can buy her own nice stuff with her own money. She’s a bit unsure of how this will affect the traditional male-female relationship, but she’s also quote proud of her financial independence.

Thinking about all this, maybe I’m a really modern woman or something, but the idea of a man giving me money to get my hair cut or buy some clothes, well, it seems really dirty. Beer, yes; frocks, no.

So now all I need to do is write a pop song and/or gangsta rap about my money policy, and I’ll surely be on to a winner.

Let me stick this 7-inch in the computer

Harvestbird tagged me to do one of those list things. Homie don’t usually play that, but this one was fun, and if it helps just one person give up drugs, well, then it will have all been worth it.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your livejournal along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
I had an intense craving for this and have been heartily obsessing over it. It represents everything that’s good about America, and makes me want to be in Manhattan.

2. You’re Gonna Lose Us by the Cribs
The Cribs are my new favourite band. This is one has a brilliant shoutalong chorus (“When I’m drunk I can be an arsehole, but that don’t mean I’ve got no class, no.”), that’s just right for boozing with your mates and/or the Jarman brothers.

3. Stars Are Blind by P**** H*****
I don’t care how much of this song belongs to the talent of its singer or not. It’s lovely and sunny and cheerful (though not without its dark moments), and frankly, we could all use a little sunshine right now.

4. Batdance by Prince
Unlike most of Prince’s hit songs, this one gets little radio play, probably because it’s kind of unusual and kind of needed the hype of 1989’s Batman film to prop it up in the mainstream. But it’s a corker nonetheless.

5. Grind Your Bones by Svelte
Svelte is a couple of guys who used to be in Supergroove and the cousin of that guy from Blindspott who used to go out with Nicky Watson. With that pedigree, you’d expect Svelte to be shit, but this one’s dirty and bluesy.

6. Slave To The Rhythm [Hot Blooded Version] by Grace Jones
It’s an 8.18 minute remix of Slave To The Rhythm, one of my favourite songs of all time. The extra times comes from the first half being instrumental which means, yes, it’s karaoke time. Slaaaaaaave!

7. Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty
I revisited this in the wake of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ controversy. The song is apparently about Mr Petty giving up the marijuana drugs, but the video had Kim Basinger necrolove. Like Mr Petty says, oh my my, oh hell yes.

In lieu of tagging others, just, like, do it if you want, man.

This is jam-hot

Oh, look. It’s the itunes so-called meme, where the victim mucks around with their iTunes and writes some stuff down and then goes to bed.

How many songs? 2771
A few are living on borrowed time. I’m making a list of songs I’m going to remove from my iPod because whenever they come up on shuffle, I always skip them.

First artist 4 Hero
All I know is that they did that song that’s on that zero-gravity Bailey’s ad. It’s just as well I have this mp3, otherwise 8 Foot Sativa would be here instead.

Last artist Zed
While “Renegade Fighter” is a splendid pop song, I will instead pay attention to the four Young MC tunes that come before it, three of which (“I Come Off”, “Keep It In Your Pants”, “Pick up the Pace”) are my personal anthems.

First song (And She Said) Take Me Now – Justin Timberlake (Featuring Janet Jackson).
The brackets foreshadow the wardrobe malfunction where Mr JT exposed Ms Jackson’s ( * ).

Last song Youthful Expression – A Tribe Called Quest
Hips, they gyrate; scripts I narrate. No banana – I ain’t a primate. I dunno. It’s probably about being on the cusp of adulthood in the early ’90s.

Shortest song House Music: pt1: ?theories… – ESL (45 seconds) There were a few mp3s before this, but they weren’t songs – usually skits, spoken pieces, introductions to songs or preview-length bits of songs.

Longest song Yoo Doo Right – Can
It could possibly be another ESL song, “Island Man”, (25 minutes) but that’s more like several bits amalgamated into a glorious life-affirming performance piece, so I’m going for “Yoo Doo Right” (20:22 minutes), which is a love letter.

First album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis
[I can’t think of anything to write here.]

Last album Your Arsenal – Morrissey
I haven’t even heard this entire album. It’s only come up because of “Glamorous Glue”, which I never tire of listening to.

First song that comes up on shuffle – Pania (Of the Reef) – The Hollow Grinders
It’s a lovely, slightly sad, infinitely hopeful surf instrumental song. Slightly different from the live version, this has some eerie organ accompanying it, suggesting that perhaps this all takes place in an undersea world on another planet.

Search for ‘sex’
Eight songs, my favourite being “Sexual Health Clinic” by MSU. I’m also surprised at the inclusion of “Sex Poddle” by Mente (Mr John Murphy’s band).

Search for ‘death’
14 songs, and the one that gets closest is “O Death” from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. I like Martin White’s accordion version of the Smiths’ “Death of a Disco Dancer”.

Search for ‘love’
118! It’s all about the love, including the magnificent pairing of Captain and Tenille’s “Love will keep us together” alongside Joy Division’s “Love will tear us apart.” By the way, those would be my two desert-island tunes. There’s no need for anything else.

Proper Top Ten

Recently the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) announced the top ten New Zealand songs of the past 75 years, as voted by its members and a group of 100 others. Not everyone agreed with the winners, and various publications have come up with their own “we was robbed” lists of people who they reckon should have been on the list.

I too have been thinking about worthy recipients who seem to have been inexplicably been left of the list. So here is my list of what I reckon truly are the top ten New Zealand songs of all time:

10. Zed – Daisy
People are always going on about Zed being a pretty boy band, but I’d never really given that much thought until I saw the “Renegade Fighter” video. And oh, yes, Zed’s bass player. He’s niiiice. But anyway, I think that “Daisy” is worthy of being on this because Zed cleverly rhyme “cow, yeah” with “go figure.” Also, their bass player is a spunk.

9. Supergroove – Can’t Get Enough
I was trying to decide between this one and “You got to know”. Even though the latter has plenty of dodgy lyrics, in the end I picked “Can’t get enough” because it’s funny when you change the chorus to “can’t get it up, can’t get it up, no!” Also of significance, they pronounce ‘can’t’ the New Zealand way, where as many lesser bands would put on a bad American accent.

8. Tex Pistol and Rikki Morris – Nobody Else
Remember the video for this one? It was more ironic than the Alanis’ “Ironic” video. The song was called “Nobody Else,” but the video featured the dude singing it, his brother, his wife, a choir of children, then a behind-the-scenes sequence showing the entire production crew. Well yeah, I don’t think there was anybody else left. So for a textbook example of irony, this song gets included.

7. Double J and Twice the T – Mod Rap
This song is actually officially known as “She’s a Mod/Mod Rap,” but we can’t count the “She’s a mod” part of it because that was not written by a New Zealander. Instead I’ve chosen to honour the rap from this song by these two lads. They skilfully transformed the song from a pop song about a mod chick, to an ode to their mother, a former mod chick who was bringing her modness to the dinner table. There was also a beat-boxing solo.

6. Fan Club – Sensation
Remember when laser light displays in nightclubs were really new? I don’t, but I like to think of “Sensation” as being the soundtrack to mid-late eighties night clubbing. The killer synth intro, the catchy chorus, and, of course, “bright lights, good times!” The Fan Club paved the way for other bands of guys with dodgy hair, fronted by a good looking chick. Without Fan Club there would be no Stella, no Fur Patrol, and certainly no Tadpole.

5. Delta – Slather
Exploding onto the Auckland rock scene with their bombastic single “Slather,” Delta sadly didn’t survive long enough to release an album. But “Slather” made its mark on the New Zealand music scene like a red hot branding iron on skin. Delta may have broken up, but the rockin’ scar tissue of their power remains.

4. Blackjack – I Don’t Have A Gun
Feeling shocked and betrayed by the death of grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain, Hamilton’s hardest working rock unit penned this tender ballad. Cleverly rhyming “pain” with “Cobain,” the song deals with the devastation that Cobain’s death caused to the world of hard working rock units. After all, Kurt said he didn’t have a gun, but he shot himself.

3. Push Push – Trippin’
So imagine a school dance, circa 1991. There’s a crappy covers band playing crappy covers. The band takes a break and a mix tape with the current hits of the day comes on. Just as “Trippin'” starts, the band is ready to come pack on, so the tape is stopped. The crowd boos, and yells “put the tape back on!” The tape is put back on. The crowd rocks out. That is why “Trippin'” is worthy of inclusion on this list.

2. MSU – Bob
“Hi, my name is Bob. I have got no job. People call me a knob, and they smack me in the gob.” Allegedly called “Bob” because nothing rhymes with Rohan Marx, “Bob,” by Hamilton good time fun band Mobile Stud Unit has a special place in the hearts of many student radio listeners since the song first came to the public’s attention in 1993. For the sheer joy and drunken revelry that “Bob” evokes in the face of adversity, “Bob” had surely earned its place on this list.

1. MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave – Joined at the Hip Hop
The question wasn’t “should OJ/Slave be in the top ten,” or “should one of their songs be number one” but rather, “which song of theirs?” I think “Joined at the hip hop” is the obvious choice. It laid down the beats and laid down the law. It established the rappin’ duo in the New Zealand music scene and paved the way for all white boy rappers who came after them.