Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Certain Songs #942: LL Cool J – “Goin’ Back To Cali” | Medialoper

Album: Less Than Zero Soundtrack
Year: 1987

While I don’t remember a single damn thing about either the film or book of Less Than Zero, I do remember that the film happen to coincide with the most hipstery and druggy period that me and my social circle went through.

So in my head, anyways, I think of it as “our Less Than Zero” period, despite nobody having any kind of aspirations of being like anybody in the film.

Having very little to do with any of that was the soundtrack to the film, a weird melange of offbeat covers (The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter”, Slayer’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”), previews of 1988’s best album (Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise”), and right in the middle, LL Cool J’s brilliant dis of my entire state, “Goin’ Back to Cali”

I’m going back to Cali, Cali, Cali
I’m going back to Cali, hmm, I don’t think so
I’m going back to Cali, Cali, Cali
I’m going back to Cali, I don’t think so

It was LL Cool J’s pause just before he said his utterly dismissive “I don’t think so” that made the whole song so fucking hilarious.

But what made the song eternal was the horns.

Starting off with a muted trumpet battling Rubin’s reliably big, weird, scratched beat and ending with a goddamn sax solo, the horns in “Goin Back To Cali” were a fresh innovation — Rick Rubin has said that it was the first time he’d used them — and it paid off. The horns are always surprising: playing off and around and against the beat as well as adding commentary to LL’s rap about not wanting to come out to California, even though there are girls waiting for him here.

The whole thing adds up to yet another undeniable classic that still sounds fucking great 30 years later.

“Goin’ Back to Cali” official video

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