Thursday, September 12, 2013

About "Sally Ride"...

Around last week, the incomparable Dr. Nathaniel Irvin III predicted on Twitter that there will many people will be forced to blog after hearing Janelle Monae's "Sally Ride" from her new album The Electric Lady. It behooved your humble blogger to take up the challenge, and will thus muse on the masterpiece here. Firstly, this is one of my favorite tracks on The Electric Lady. It is a soul stirrer from start to finish, hitting the spirit like the waters of Victoria Falls (Yes, Victoria Falls)hitting the rocks at its base. Powerful doesn't even begin to describe it. This is due to the quality of each and every single element that went into the song. Kellindo Parker's masterful guitar notes bring you into the track, followed by Janelle's gut-wrenching wailing of the first verse. Speaking of, the lyrics pack their own one-two punch from first line: "Take me the river/ My soul is looking for a word from God". It only goes uphill (in a good way) from there. Every line is delivered with an intensity that makes it undeniable that they are coming from the heart and moves the emotions in a singular manner. This movement is one where word and sound is expressing what the soul couldn't say otherwise and prompts the imagination to action. Contemplation is the primary action that comes to mind when listening to this song. The blending of the aforementioned vocals with the stellar instrumentation of Kellindo, Nate Wonder, Roman GianArthur and Terrance Brown turn the song into an almost a magic wand. This wand conjures a desire for a place where soul and nature meet, like sitting on a secluded rocky beach during high tide at sunset. Part of that may have to do with the fact that the sound of flowing water is layered in the background of the song towards the beginning. In sum, it takes you to a place of transcendence. This mood continues towards the end, in which Janelle, Nate, and Roman sing a verse that fades out. Returning to the water metaphor, the experience of listening to "Sally Ride" is deep in every sense of the word. Be prepared to enter into feelings you may never know have existed. Guaranteed, a Kleenex or two will be needed on hand for the tears that may roll out. Granted, the entirety of Janelle Monae's "The Electric Lady" is an experience. If one song could be chosen to demonstrate why that is, "Sally Ride" would be one of them. Every part of it comes perfectly together to take the listener to a place beyond the mind or soul's comprehension. It serves as a prime example of why music should never be underestimated in it's power to move the human spirit.

1 comment:

  1. I think your thoughts are similar to mine. The water is a sign of a cleansing to me. She's been to the river, been baptized in the truth, she tried and heard the pride (the pride may be a reference to the ego or the "pack" ie society) she tried the pride that is supposed to give you worth and make you feel good. Pride can come from accomplishments, but if there are no accomplishments, do you not have any worth? Having pride in yourself denotes greatness or nobility, but if you are not of noble blood etc, you can't get real pride because IT MUST BE GIVE TO YOU BY OTHERS. So true pride comes from within by valuing yourself and knowing your worth. I too see Cindi at the top of a mountain, or a high place where she can declare that she's done waiting-she's declaring her independence. I tried to spread the message, but no one is listening. She's not angry, rather it's a battle cry, a crying out that she's done, she has to save herself "I know you love me, but I'm still gone".
    She's trying to wake you up and get you to see what's going on and how your beliefs are shaping your thoughts and your thoughts shape your reality. "To get lost in your thoughts is a very very complex thought. It's the way you believe that becomes the very thing you see"
    Your thoughts/beliefs shape the way you see and categorize the stuff of life, why people behave the way they do or how you wish they'd behave and a host of other thoughts that are racing around in that beautiful brain all competing for your attention..."I gotta find my peace"
    She wants to escape this confusion and leave the lies, mistrust and frustration behind. She wants to be able to trust others the same way she trusts herself. She's realizing that each person must identify what bars they constructed for themselves, and then they have to get real and get honest and start breaking through to free themselves. You have to examine your thoughts, they surprise you and lead to other thoughts but the real thing is you get stuck in all that thinking and it gets all tangled up so you don't know what you are thinking anymore. She wants to clear out, know peace and be free. My own personal belief is that lots of things try to get your attention and most times we can just stand there moving your head around trying to see which one is the most important. It's a 3 ring circus and you always miss what's going on in the other rings when you choose one to watch. But the real thing is you need time alone to wait all that out, till the noise starts to settle, and then you begin to hear yourself. Proof of this is how when you have something really important to say, you whisper it, right? You don't go out in the street and start yelling your innermost thoughts and dreams to anyone. The message is so important, it must be carefully delivered, so it gets whispered and you can hear yourself better when it's quiet in your head. That is usually how you get right with stuff, hear your God, the Universe, the message. The more you do it, the easier it is to hear though all the noise. The more familiar it is to you and the easier it is to recognize the voice of God, because it's YOU.