Saturday, December 16, 2017

Certain Songs #1074: Magnapop – “Slowly, Slowly” | Medialoper

Album: Hot Boxing
Year: 1994

If Magnapop’s 1992 debut was the sound of a band getting their act together, then 1994’s Hot Boxing showed a band firing all of their guns at once.

Which is why it became not just one of my favorite records during that weird transition period after I had moved away from Fresno, but one of my all-time favorite indie-pop albums, crunchy guitar division.

Produced by Bob Mould, who knew a little bit about putting loud guitars on top of singalong melodies, Hot Boxing unveiled song after song that contrasted Linda Hopper’s clear-minded voice with Ruthie Morris’ fuzzy-distorto guitars.

“Slowly, Slowly” typified their approach: after a full-band opening salvo, it almost instantly dropped into a new-wavey staccato guitar part — think Paul Collins Beat or even “Just What I Needed” before the synth came in — as Hopper sings the opening verse.

I feel coarse and strain
Interrupt my mind again
I am being clear
I am sad to say I’m living here

And then, WHAM! the guitars come in, loud and on cue, for the chorus.

They do it all the time
They do it all the time
They do it all the time
They do it all the time

And so it goes, almost a dialog between singer Hopper and guitarist Morris during the ongoing transitions between the loud parts and quiet parts until near the end, where they synch together and Hopper chants “slowly, me again” over and over as drummer David McNair popping disjointed rolls on his snare for emphasis.

Magnapop made a video for “Slowly, Slowly,” and even released it as a single. None of it went anywhere, of course, as the post-Kurt world was already shifting away from the heady days where bands like The Breeders or Sugar could have big left-field hits.

“Slowly, Slowly”

Official video for “Slowly, Slowly” (slightly watery sound)

“Slowly, Slowly” performed live in 2017


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