Monday, August 31, 2020

Physical | Lefsetz Letter

Spotify remix
Spotify original

YouTube remix
YouTube original

No, not the Olivia Newton-John track, although Freddy Moore played that every time we had lunch at Los Tacos, with or without Demi.

It’s rare that the remix is better than the original, but that’s the case here, the star is Mark Ronson. Ronson turns “Physical” from an upbeat, mindless track into a dreamy dance floor trance that sets your mind free, has it drifting, in your own bubble, thinking of your own life even if you’re dancing elbow to elbow with others. The original pops along, it’s mindless, it’s pure energy, you’re bouncing like you’re on uppers, Ronson’s take is more of a downer, and that’s what makes it great, it adds meaning, density, possibilities that are absent from the original. It’s one thing to just pop the question, do you want to get physical, do you want to have some exercise, bump bodies and forget about each other tomorrow or…the physical attraction is there, maybe this could evolve into something deeper, it’s the darkness, when it’s just the two of us we’re gonna dig down deep and connect. Not that we’re not gonna achieve the Big 0, Ronson’s chorus contains enough energy, enough stimulation, and then about a minute and a half into it, you’re in the throes, you’re building, the track is imploring you to peak and then the energy starts to dissipate, it’s positively post-coital.

You can’t get this mood, this energy, anywhere but music. Not in any video game, not in any streaming TV show, not in any TikTok video, you see this track is sans images, it’s something you hear, like the best music, you can make your own visuals, live your own life, this isn’t paint by numbers, this is a blank canvas, with inspiration built in. As for Gwen Stefani’s contribution, it’s not a feature, not a star turn made to gain attention, her voice is just another layer of the track, making it denser, entrancing you into its movie.

Now there is precedence for this. Albeit thirty years ago, before most fans of Dua Lipa were born. I’m talking of the remix of “Express Yourself” on the “Immaculate Collection.” The original, the hit version, is bouncy, Madonna is a cheerleader, you can sing along mindlessly, participating without paying attention to the lyrics, you don’t have to be old enough to understand the message, but the remix…


The track no longer lopes. It’s more direct, the synth faux-strings add seriousness, but I must admit the “Immaculate Collection” was released when people still owned stereos, before the earbud craze, and it was released in the ultimately failed QSound, and we can debate the merits of that technology, but the truth is it made the percussion dance around the room, and the bottom in the remix is more emphasized. The track is more mature.

Now the funny thing is in the case of “Express Yourself” it’s the remix that survives, since it’s part of a greatest hits collection. It has eclipsed the original. In addition because it’s more womanly as opposed to girly.

There’s just a power in the remix of “Express Yourself,” as there is in this remix of “Physical.”

Now the great thing about Mark Ronson’s remix of “Physical” is you don’t have to know the original to get it, even if it’s brand new to you you’ll get it.

Now the truth is many men are too inhibited to dance. They’ll pogo in the dark club. They’ll explain they don’t dance because they don’t like disco, but the truth is they’re just too uptight to let loose. As for myself, if you ask me to dance, I’ll probably say no, I get no joy from the raw physical activity, but if a track comes on that I like, that hits me…I’LL RUN TO THE DANCE FLOOR! The music penetrates my epidermis, goes straight to my heart, the blood starts pumping through my body, I’m alive!

Want to thrill your girlfriend/wife/partner? Push play on this remix of “Physical,” you’ll be unable to stand still, you can leave the room, make excuses, but if you just let the music pour over you you’ll find it irresistible. Don’t analyze, don’t overthink it. Don’t say you don’t get it, that this is not your kind of music, just let go. That’s what women do better than men, let go. And when you let go and they let go then…

You get physical.


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