LINER NOTES: Faces
Physiognomy may be a "beautiful pseudoscience," but in popular music the face is still seen as a key platform for translating one's innermost feelings. Numerous songs sing the face's praises, while others use the face to deflect the unwanted. In other words, the face reigns supreme as the gateway to a musical soul.
In a stroke of convenient coincidence, the weather in New York chilled considerably the week of our December LINER NOTES, so every attendee arrived ready to crawl out from under layers of coats and hats to take a peek at our model's mug.
We started by dropping the spotlight firmly on the evening's theme. Ronson's retro soul take on "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" is all breaks and triumphant horns, an energetic rallying cry for an open window to a person's soul. It's also the only palatable way to listen to an otherwise dreadful Coldplay dud. Egg on my face for not knowing this until recently. Such is the advantage of replacing Chris Martin with a horn section.
To keep us warm we followed this fuzzy vein of celebrating the face. Little Richard gave a full-throated endorsement of his baby's. The Who—temporarily changing names to The High Numbers—took pride in being the sartorial face of the Mod nation. Later in the evening we devoted an entire section to artists ranging from Chris Elliott to Angel Olsen admiring the loveliest visages.
Of course the face can communicate any number of thoughts. 3rd Bass and KMD found two opportunities to expound on the different ways to brush off a sucker with a choice gas face. Lily Allen smiled through the pain of her ex's infidelities, but Mariah and Missy couldn't even be bothered to give a smile or a smirk to keep the unwanted out of sight, out of mind. Baby Washington gets the A for confronting her problems head-on, practically licking her lips at the chance to call out her basic bitch.
Rounding out the set were two pet project jams celebrating the face's ability to communicate. Thank Gerald Levert for many things, particularly the discovery of The Rude Boys. I can't name another song from the quartet, but they SLAY their only hit, "Written All Over Your Face," by bringing the line—"Just smile for me / it's better than any word I've ever heard"—to life, whooping and vamping to an orgiastic climax in the song's back-half. Arthur Russell moved on from the Loose Joints moniker with the quickness, but not before crafting the classic late-night seduction, "It It All Over My Face?"
This isn't the first time we've covered the face and there's plenty more to explore, so expect a return to this theme soon...