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Songs That Touch My Soul (And Other Places), Number Three

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We all have them, songs that seem to speak right to that secret place in your soul – sometimes secret even from you. They flow into you, through you, whirling, swirling around until they completely surround a tiny spot deep down inside of you. And then they never leave. They can grow and occasionally fester in you like an open wound, or they can heal you, fill you up, and inspire you.

Many times they don’t even reflect your normal musical tastes. They can be shameful secrets that you keep from family and friends – in my case it’s Janet Jackson – sneaking listens when no one is home or when you’re alone in your car. You feel like a drug addict craving your next fix. Thank jebus for MP3 players – the syringe of those suffering with this terrible and often embarrassing affliction.

This is my list of some of the songs that speak to me in ways (and places) no person can (or has yet). This is the third installment of Songs and I will leave you to delve the depths of my musical depravity. My dirty little secrets seem to go on and on — some are dirtier than others and some are just head-scratching or eclectic — and some of them are VERY dirty, and I probably need a BBFC rating of 15.

In no particular order:

"Glory Box" – Portishead

This steamy, sultry jazz/trip-hop tune frames lyrics that I think mirror all women’s feelings about love, life, and men eventually. “I'm so tired, of playing/ Playing with this bow and arrow / Gonna give my heart away / Leave it to the other girls to play / For I've been a temptress too long / Just… / Give me a reason to love you / Give me a reason to be, a woman / I just wanna be a woman”. Those lyrics combined with the jazzy sensual melodic music and Beth Gibbons distinctive, eerie, mournful voice create a song that reaches out and grabs my soul in its silky, sensuous grip.

“Warmth” and “Moist” – Janet Jackson

Yes I know. But as I said in my first Songs article I love Janet. I’m a very naughty girl and Janet sings to that side of me like no one else ever has. No woman has ever made me as, umm… “Moist” as Janet does. And I believe the following lyrics explain why that is. I also believe they are self explanatory but if you need me to draw you a little map just let me know.

Warmth

“My hands, wrapped around / Strokin', up and down / But nothing can compare to / The warmth of my mouth / I love, every sound, you make / When I'm down / Nothing can prepare you / For the warmth of my mouth.”

Moist

“Feeling your anatomy breaking me down / Sucking on my (mmm) with ice in your mouth / Hurry and undress me take me right now / I'm wet for you boy / Caught up in the waves of passion up and down / Love the way you movin' my body all around / Boy you know you make the rain come down / You know how to make my rain come down.”

“Bitch” – Meredith Brooks

Cliché? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it any less true. This now classic pop rock track was written by a woman about being a woman. This song celebrates the amazing diversity of women. Women can also be – well, I know I can be – exciting, contrary creatures. I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child and a mother just like the song says and I love that this song makes it okay, even cool, to admit that.

“Crazy” – Patsy Cline

This song, written by Willie Nelson, is perfect for a very first dance with someone very special. Do you really need more of an explanation than that? Okay, here’s one.

You’ve known him (or her if you’re a man and so inclined) for a short time; a few weeks at most. You’ve been gently flirting , shy glances – the moment he notices, you only just make eye contact, then give a sweet little smile and look away. The soft occasional brushing of hands and a few lingering hand shakes while you smile into each others eyes. And now after weeks you want to touch him, kiss him, you have a physical need to feel him up against you.

“Crazy” is the perfect song for that. It demands that he pull you in close, so close that there’s no light between you, your legs entwined, his warm cheek, rough with stubble, pressed against your soft, smooth cheek, one arm around your waist holding you gently, your small delicate hand in his tucked up against his chest, feeling his soft breath on your ear while you sway back and forth together. And there, wrapped in each other's arms, even if you are in the middle of a crowded dance floor, there will not be another living soul for a thousand miles. Just the two of you.

“Son of a Preacher Man” – Dusty Springfield

For sleepovers, “Son of a Preacher Man” was always a must for me and my punk/goth friends. Even then we knew this song was something special. With towels wrapped around our heads (to create long hair of course), wearing just our PJs, we would grab a hairbrush and meet in the middle of my bedroom floor. There we would stand right in front of my blaring stereo speakers and sing as loud as we could and usually off key.

Whatever that something special is, it is undoubtedly the reason so many have covered this song. Aretha Franklin turned it down originally but after hearing Dusty Springfield’s husky, bluesy voice signing it, she, too, recorded it – although she never released it as a single. It is an R & B/blues classic that is sheer perfection. Who could have done it better? The answer to that is: Not even Aretha Franklin.

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About A.L. Harper

  • Michelle

    I enjoyed your post and how we have those songs dear to us that we may not want to share with others for whatever reason. The main thing is, the music speaks to us and soothes whatever needs we may have at the time.

  • http://clatch.blogspot.com A.L. Harper

    Thank you Michelle. I know we all have them and they do change. Well some of them change some are static.

  • Joan Bias

    Great songs. But why? Why is “Crazy” the perfect song for that new-love, flirty, first-dance situation? Is it something about the beat, the melody, the harmony? You don’t say. It can’t be the lyrics; the song is a classic lost-love lament.

    The wonderful situation you describe so sweetly would be just as sweet with any song playing, as far as I can tell. Why is “Crazy” the “perfect” song? How does it “demand” what you say it does? Your comments don’t really say much about “Crazy.”

    I want more.

  • http://clatch.blogspot.com A.L. Harper

    Joan, If I knew why I had that reaction to “Crazy” it would probably break the spell for me. Like sitting in the front row at the ballet or watching the making of documentaries in the special features on the Lord Of The Rings DVDs. You can’t do that and still believe the magic.

    I didn’t go into the song much, assuming that everyone would have heard it so many times. There was nothing I could add. I can only tell you how it makes me feel.

  • http://clatch.blogspot.com A.L. Harper

    Joan – You said:
    “The wonderful situation you describe so sweetly would be just as sweet with any song playing”

    But it wouldn’t. It could only be that song in that situation. Maybe it’s the haunting and ethereal vocals, or the touching, heart-rending lyrics. Or maybe, and more likely, it is a combination of those things. The way Patsy Cline sounds so alone and needy. It makes me feel the need to reach out and touch someone.

    No it could only be that song in that situation. No other song would do. You can’t expect me to explain such a visceral response to a song.

  • Joan Bias

    Oh.

  • gregg

    ur out of your mind if u truly think dusty did ANYTHING better than aretha. Dusty herself preferred arethas’ version to her own.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    The Portishead song is a masterwork- it creates such a great ambiance.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    My last post got away from me. What I meant to say was how I love the mood “Glory Box” creates.

    I really need to go to bed for the day.

  • http://clatch.blogspot.com A.L. Harper

    Gregg – I think Dusty did it much better! And by the way most artists thinks someone else can do it better. Because it was never as perfect as you know, deep down inside, that it could have been.

    Poor DJR – I know what you meant about “Glory Box”. Such a fabulously atmospheric song. Like seduction in musical form.