The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life. — Ralph Ellison
This article is not one I had planned to write, but I think the music I have playing in the background sets the mood. Music from my teen years. The Ronnettes, Temptations, Marven and Tammy, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, the Four Tops, and many others. Otis Redding and his Sitting on The Dock of The Bay. I have to say, at the moment, I’m finding things in the world a bit worrisome, problematic, provoking, or the word I’m trying to avoid, scary.
Like all ages, the music of my generation was emblematic and representative of the times it was born. It was moving from Doo Wop to a more syncopated beat-driven storytelling process leaving indelible memories in one’s mind. Right now, When A Man Loves A Woman is playing. Here is a challenge for those kind enough to read this: leave a note in the comments section if you thought of your first love when I mentioned this song. I know I did.
Like all music, it is emblematic of one’s time. Not long we would be embroiled in the Viet Nam war, after just dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, seeming to lurch from one crisis after another. We were entering a time when The Gods of War and Confusion have seemingly come forth to disgorge from their bowels nothing but the seed of hatred, intolerance, greed, and disunity. The music also represented the technological advancements we would make and continue to make. Most of all, it provided a form of escapism and peace of mind.
Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding, which is playing now. His words are crucial. Especially considering the hate people are projecting because they are too afraid of books—a fear I never understood and never will. The Shirelles Will You Love Me Tomorrow now plays, causing me to consider what is happening in Congress. Republicans are trying to elect a new speaker of the House. Talking about a group of people who need to sit down and chill out, they are it.
Once In My Life, by Stevie Wonder, “For once in my life I have someone who needs me.” Maybe that’s why the Republicans are having difficulty accepting that they need to govern and not just be total dip-shits because they don’t have anyone in their life. One has to wonder what these fools want. No sooner do I type these words, The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s Respect, comes on in a way that provides a possible answer to my question. Is it possible all the Republicans want is Respect? Well, maybe if they stop sucking up to a bonafide liar, con artist, rapist, and the overall sleaze bag Donald J. Trump, they might get back to being a respectable political party.
Pain In My Heart by Otis Redding finished; how can one not think of all the pain mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles are dealing with because of the gun violence we have in our country? Then, there is what is currently taking place over in Israel. Damn, some things never seem to change. With all that is happening in Israel, They Want To Be Themselves by Sly and the Family Stone just started and seems appropriate.
Okay, this is for all the guys who may be reading this. Tell me if you didn’t try to imitate the Delfonics with La-La Means I Love You, and if you didn’t, then you’re chumps if you did thumbs up. And for all you women, be honest and let me know if you didn’t laugh your asses off when your then-boyfriend tried. Look, it takes a lot for anyone to try and sing that song and hit the notes.
For all you former hippies—or still—how stoned were you when listening to The Age of Aquarius by the 5th Dimension? When that song started playing, it was the cue for me to leave, but no disrespect to those who stayed and had an out-of-body experience with the assistance of a little Mary-Jane.
But, all in all, listening to these tunes has allowed me to think about what Aretha is singing about right now, Think. Maybe the Republicans need to follow her advice, but who am I kidding? This version of the once-vaulted Republican party has consistently shown they no longer believe in the Constitution; they’ve replaced their fidelity to the Constitution with abject obedience to Trump and their dark money donors. They’ve become nothing more than what Aretha sang about a Chain of Fools!
Would you have known that the music of the 60s and 70s has been somewhat prophetic? I certainly didn’t.
Ain’t No Way by Aretha is playing. Thank goodness for the oldies stations.