The song that's been hanging me up the past few weeks, the one that stops traffic for me every time, is Chanel's "My Life (Haji & Emanuel Remix)." I got it from eMusic, off the scintillatingly titled Ultra Weekend 2. It is a house record that was originally released in 2005 but apparently got large last year. I adore house music but don't follow it with any real degree of ardency. This track exists in my life because I am a list freak; it placed 48th on the remixes list Mixmag ran in its year-end issue (whose Top 10 tracks I wrote about here). Those are the parameters, and if you simply cannot believe there's anymore to it than that, you know where the exit is. The rest of you should stick around. We have a lot to talk about.
Moments in love:
0:01--the entry of one of those blippy riffs that the post-electrohouse brigade (by which I mean Get Physical Records) have made hay with over the past few years, only as we'll see soon enough, it's been so juiced up it's ready to burst all over your hands--raised in the air, duh.
1:16--rising-siren whooshing synth begins worming its way up the mix, which now contains our star, Chanel, overdubbed a few times, chanting "My life" and "Want, you, in" in alternate patterns while the blip-riff has been abetted by its friend, the synth string section; the rising-siren is our alert that Something Big is about to happen, probably an explosion. Definitely an explosion.
1:25--Chanel's lead vocal jumps up: "I want you in my life!" The very soul of hopeful-sounding medium-sized-voiced almost-divas who transmit passion and authority without clobbering you over the head with it, because that's what the beats are for, resides in this utterance. There will, of course, be more, you lucky devil.
1:48--another synth-string overdub joins in, playing an extra note, a cue for that extra twitch that will keep us on the dancefloor, because we now have something to prove to the song.
3:03--the beat drops out so the full weight of the plainspoken lyric can settle over us like New Year's confetti: "It's not like me to be this way/But my love for you . . . "
3:08--Chanel's voice, filtered, pitched up a couple octaves, computery, joins her for the line, "'s got me so confused." Beat falls like meteor. Technology, yes.
5:37--the breakdown/buildup's been going on for about a minute. There's one tiny overdub of Chanel, like her singing along with the backing vocal, that occurs here, our signal that the mantra-spell is going to break. Even more than the chord surge, we're on alert now.
5:50--"Always in my life," with a little space echo--shall we testify now?
6:00--she's off now, confining her vocal fillips to slight variations w/melisma, the wannabe singing in the shower, the dancer punching through and around the available spaces, expressing herself, the act outweighing what's being expressed.
This record is eight-and-a-half minutes long and I always want to play it twice. In a world where (GRATUITOUS BITCHING ALERT) the motherfucking Arcade Fire gets taken seriously, don't you owe yourself something resembling actual pleasure?