Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Song of the Day #317 - The Avalanches - Frankie Sinatra (Extended Mix)

We can keep it irie, or we can keep it irate

Alright yeah new Avalanches after 16 years is about the most exciting news imaginable, but we're only getting to this now cause... I dunno. Really, the biggest reason is that I was hoping to escape the curse of catchiness that this song has infested me with. If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't feeling this one so much at first. I had started listening to Since I Left You on a daily basis as soon as rumors of the new album had started (not that you need an excuse to listen to SILY in the summer), and this just didn't seem to measure up.

Sure, a big part of it is the "electro swing" issue (or "electro calypso", or whatever)... I sorta came around on big hit "We No Speak Americano" after I heard it in The Great Beauty, having associated it with the jaw-dropping cinematography with the accompanying scene, but the genre overall still seems pretty annoying and fedoracore to me. It isn't something I can be unbiased about, though... it is definitely an opinion largely founded on /mu/. If someone has some great electro swing they want to share with me, please do. I don't like the idea of dismissing an entire genre.

But the important part wasn't the content, but the structure. The real magic of Since I Left You doesn't have anything to do with any given loop or sound or sample (although, of course, they're all pretty godly), but with how they're presented... it really captures this essential "vacation feeling", where the more you're enjoying something, especially if it's a really simple, blissful, relaxing enjoyment, the more acutely you're aware that it will end, which both heightens the visceral pleasure, but mixes it with just a tinge of sadness, and anticipatory nostalgia, which creates a really deep golden blend of feelings, out of what seemed at first a simple day at the beach. That's what's really great about SILY, imo.

"Frankie Sinatra" isn't like that. It's more like staying for a year at the same resort, until every aspect becomes routine, every item on the buffet standard, every song on the PA's loop memorized... Hey though, isn't that why it's an extended mix? I feel a lot of confidence that the album cut won't have any of this feeling. The proof is in the outro, when they segue so smoothly in and out of that almost crushingly tender "My Favorite Things"... every time I hear it, even embedded only in these 4 minutes, it feels too far from me, ending too soon, too fragile to hold... the very ideal of the SILY appeal. It's beautiful. I have faith.

And holy shit the rest of the song is catchy. Like yeah it's corny and blatant but every aspect of it just works. Danny Brown is a master of bizarre bouncy beats like this... he even went in on an ICP track (sorry to link you this... don't read the comments). The juxtaposition of the sort of timeless, or omnitime, and generally "pleasant" Avalanches sound with Danny Brown doing Danny Brown things might take me a bit to get used to, but I love Danny Brown things so much that it doesn't really matter. And DOOM? DOOM??? New DOOM is always an unexpected treat, but I had never even dared to dream of a Danny x DOOM collab, and I had never once had faith in new Avalanches... so all of this combined is like... the earth itself has won the lottery.

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