Random Song: The Motown Song
So, I'm putting together a playlist on Spotify at the moment and I've been fiddling with it over the course of the past few days. In general, there's no overall theme, just- and I say this reluctantly because I'm old and don't want to seem overly cringe about this- real, solid bangers (as the youth say, or so I'm told.) I just wanted songs from all over my personal timeline of music that just rocked my face off and you could get a good groove onto.
When it comes to playlist construction, I am criminally guilty of using some of the same songs multiple times over and over again- it's partially why I try, now and again, to do deep dives into random things on Spotify just to futz with my algorithm a bit. (Given this lengthy Stereogum article on Paul McCartney, I think a deep dive on Macca might be in order, but that's another post.) So this playlist (the current year playlist, helpfully titled 2022 Jams) features some songs I've been grooving to a lot of late: Rings by Aesop Rock and Prisencolinensinainciusol by Adriano Celentano* are probably the chief offenders here, but I added, I deleted a few times and then I remembered The Motown Song.
Look, Rod Stewart has probably had more memorable hits- in fact, I know he has. But weirdly, this song has managed to transcend its original purpose (nostalgia for a lost youth in the 60s Motown era, which involved sitting on the roof and listening to The Miracles echoing through the alley down below) to reach a new level of nostalgia where I'm instantly transported back to the early 90s where I seem to remember hearing this a lot on the old Mix 96.5 out of the Quad Cities. (I'm sure it was played on Q103 back in the day as well, but I seem to remember 96.5 having more of a... gentle flavor? It wasn't quite soft rock/easy listening, but it wasn't straight out Top 40, this is what the kids are listening to today the way Q103 was- at least in my memory.)
And you know what? This still slaps (again, as the youth say, or so I'm told) even after all these years.
I didn't grow up with Motown, so I'm not sure it quite has the same hold on me as it does on folks of the older generation and if I was more musically inclined, I might go back and see if there's anything to the notion of the beat or the rhythm or something in that music being so universal that you just can't help but bop along to it and maybe that's the secret sauce with this song-- just enough nostalgia and just enough of that Motown feel to transmit the groove along to the next generation as it were. Maybe that's the magic of the song, though: I never had Motown as a kid, but I could imagine doing just this on a warm summer night- which would probably rank as some of the less weird and relatively tame shit I did as a kid.
(By the way, this song sent me down a mild rabbit hole to the Buster soundtrack. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best soundtrack of a movie you've probably never seen- starring Phil Collins, no less! Growing up, my Mom had this on compact disc (so fancy) and would play it now and again on our stereo system (again: so fancy) but I must be on a weird the late 80s, quasi-Motown kick or something because it's a damn good soundtrack and a couple of tracks from it are currently gracing my playlist.)
*I love this song because apparently-- I have heard tell, that he wanted a song that sounded like an American rock song back in the day, but didn't, you know, speak English, being Italian and all. So none of the words in this song are real. (That's what I read, anyway.)