Friday, May 08, 2009
ABF Friday: Really Catchy Edition!
OK, this is a tough one. I was thinking the other day about “Groove is in the Heart,” which I believe was recorded by an East Coast liberal elite outfit called “Deee-Jon.” And then I was thinking about “I’ve Been Thinking About You,” which was released by Dijonbeat at almost exactly the same time, the waning months of 1990 to be almost exact.
So here’s the problem. Which one is catchier? Take the groove test at home:
On the one hand, an infectious groove, great club-diva vocals, Q-Tip, Bootsy Collins. On the other hand, an infectious hook, great Levi-Stubbsian vocals, synchronized crouching on “what can I do.”
Indeed, what can any of us do? In Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul DeMan—which, coincidentally, was published at the same time these songs hit the charts—David Lehman wrote, “Deconstructionists would obliterate the differences between Roger Rabbit and Henry James. The function of criticism is reduced to description and analysis; the task of evaluating works of art is left undone. Abandoned is one of criticism’s foremost responsibilities: the making and revising of critical discriminations.” Yow! At the time, I believe I remarked that Lehman had chosen a truly unfortunate pair of examples: since Roger Rabbit is by any reasonable measure a virtuoso piece of work, one suspects that Lehman was unaware of the truly significant differences between Roger Rabbit and Huckleberry Hound. ABF Friday Fail! But the larger point remains. We don’t want to be like those deconstructionists! We have to make and revise critical discriminations! And yet when we come up against a world-historical question like which is catchier, “Groove is in the Heart” or “I’ve Been Thinking About You,” we confront the awesome possibility—previously considered unattainable except in the Tevatron—that the two songs, released at almost exactly the same time, are in fact equally catchy, both hitting 99.99999954 out of 100 on the Groovimeter.
What are the odds? Don’t answer that.
For those of you Grey Pouponians who shrink from the making and revising of critical discriminations when the going gets tough, I have an alternate video just for fun:
That would have to be one of Ringo’s first appearances with the band. Stuff like this makes me think that it’s just a matter of time before the entire Alexandrian Library turns up in Google Cache. And I think we all can agree—even you deconstructionists—that that’s gonna rock.