This would have been a smash on the ROQ of the 80s. Back when the weird was purveyed and embraced, when music heads were still the hippest in the world.
And in that bygone era, KROQ embraced a Kraftwerk tune, “Pocket Calculator,” and suddenly the act blew up in America. Now they’d had a hit nearly a decade previously, but “Autobahn” was seen as a novelty track, back when Mike Oldfield cut a record that was two sides long and built Virgin Records, not long after Jethro Tull did the same thing. But Tull’s “Thick As A Brick” was an extension of what Ian and the band had done before. “Tubular Bells” was brand new, and when the voice came on to announce…
Sure, “Tubular Bells” blew up because it was in the “Exorcist,” but I bought it before that, because of the reviews and…
I must admit, I found Marie Davidson’s “Work It” in the “New York Times.” That’s right, I rail all the time that their reviews are meaningless, and I still believe that, with too many tracks, but I’m stone fried, after being in three countries in three days, I flew from Toronto to New York today and was at Sirius for hours recording and I got to the apartment and was sitting on a pile of e-mails and…
I just couldn’t focus. There’s so much happening, so much I want to write about. I walked around the corner to buy some sustenance and when I came back I was catching up with the newspapers online and that’s when I discovered “Work It.”
The rest of the cuts in the “Times” playlist were not as good. Some were laughable, like the St. Vincent track, but that’s modern music, certain acts are championed and others are ignored.
And Marie Davidson comes from Montreal. Far from the beaten path. In Canada you can be an artist, in the States you’re a vehicle for exposure and cash. In the States you don’t focus on the art, you focus on the commerce. And if, by chance, you focus on the art, you keep bitching that you can’t get noticed or paid. But in Canada, the government helps you out. And you can be known in Canada, but can you cross over here?
Now first I was hooked by the sound. You might dismiss it as EDM, but you’d be missing the point. This is not mindless drivel made to dance to, not that all EDM is, but if you paint the whole electronic scene with a broad brush you’re gonna miss this, and what you’re missing is a hypnotic groove, and that’s the essence of great music, that which has your head nodding involuntarily, your whole body shaking and then Marie says…
You want to know how I get away with everything?
ALL THE FUCKING TIME!
Whew! I thought this was an instrumental tune. And then I get this viewpoint and attitude.
There’s this image that all women are snowflakes, but the truth is they just want to be free of abuse, to pursue their life’s desire.
So Marie is talking and you’re locked into the groove and then…
How does that feel, tell me how does that feel.
Is sweat dripping down your balls?
And then she laughs!
You’re drawn down the rabbit hole, the music is no longer background, you want to get to know this woman, WHO IS SHE?
But if you look up pics online you don’t find someone showing skin with surgical enhancements, rather she looks like someone in your French class. Proving once again, it’s not what’s on the outside, but the inside.
Now you’ve got to know, these records used to have a place in the firmament, not only with Kraftwerk in the eighties, but Frank Zappa in the sixties and… We were enthralled by experimentation, people testing limits, it reflected our society, music fans, the youth, were all about having the music set them free and take them on an adventure. And believe me, “Work It” does, it’s like going inside your iPhone and meeting Siri in person.
And “Work It” is not the only good track. Nor the only track with lyrics that’ll have you going HUH?, and thinking about what it all means. It’s like going to a museum, but in this case the museum comes to you, a safe, sacred space where all the usual precepts don’t apply and people can be humans and explore.
Now I only discovered this tonight, I’ve got to go deeper, and I want to, Marie Davidson’s “Working Class Woman” isn’t one and done. It’s just like the way it used to be, but without being retro.