Monday, August 21, 2006

Look Back... with Mana?

D.J. in Deep Concentration

Dennis Brown - "Things in Life" (mp3)
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The Temptations - "There's A Definite Change In You" (mp3)
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Meeting the bar, as usual -- and on the cover, no less. Some things never change, LA.

I have about five different "I'm Back" draft posts, so I reckon that's the "Just Jump Back In" sign. Long short has been: been busy. Perhaps you were at one of the last parties? Maybe you now know about my two new hypest muses (f'real: get familiar)? One chapter has come to a close, but I left another unfinished so it's back to the scribbles and scratches.

Returning to the lede, today's themes are the peculiarities of time-space displacement, cognitive dissonance, and ch-ch-ch-changes. Which is the sophisticate's way of saying: "What a difference a few years away make." Revisiting old stomping grounds understandably blew the dust off the box of memories and revealed pointed observations like, "That's here?" and "That's still here?" While discombobulating given the gap between expectation and experience, they were both refreshing feelings (especially considering Ba's rant against American consumerist culture on the ride up, it's nice to see American cities hang on to their past). Like intermittently seeing a child grow from babe to child to adult, the face of all things go from smooth, general and unspecific to hard, detailed and bold. What were campus strolls, bike paths and record haunts -- simple, definable and compartmentalized experiences -- become five years flashing by in a blur. "It's not everyday we're gonna be the same way," so our eyes keep step by becoming attuned. Er, hopefully. At least that's what I saw: the whole scope of things. Which is why I love "Things in Life:" at once, a blue snapshot of the heart beating beneath the colonialist's fist; but also an all-encompassing embrace of what's to be. Here today, tomorrow your love.

That said, I'm sure many of you are familiar with this Wong Kar-Wai highlight, so I dug up a nugget from the family treasure chest. The Temps get away with the more expected "I'll be better when you change" fare -- which is fine, because Kendricks' beautiful-as-ever falsetto and the Funk Brothers' jump keep it movin'. But the coyness of that first verse can also be read as, "Ooh, you like my niceness now, don'cha?" Don't cha wish your man/woman/freak were hot like me? Don't cha? Eddie eases through the verse with oh-word wonder, pleasantly surprised the subject of his affection is now an open admirer, but is damn-right emboldened by the chorus that he was the man for the job this entire time. But, Eddie, you should know better: that "something there that I once knew" is just you realizing your own best qualities.

So, that's my motivation speech of the day: have a little faith in what you do.