an example of what influences my playing style
Periodically I'll make a video that has some serious funk to it. Obviously my funk influences aren't from the rock and metal I listened to but rather something else.
This is an example of that "something else."
In the early 90s there was a resurgence of sorts with decidedly black R&B music. One shining example is the girl group En Vogue with the song My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It).
Right, yeah, I understand - this is not the most manliest of admissions - especially for a pasty white guy such as myself that plays a Strat. I don't care because the song is awesome.
This is the video for the song, and I apologize in advance if it gets yanked from YouTube in the future - which it most likely will. If that happens, go to YouTube and search for the song there.
About the song
The first thing that sticks out is the booming bass guitar track. It's purposely overdriven slightly (either that or big-time compressed) and it works.
The beat is your typical early 90s electronic/analog drum track for R&B of the time.
The flute you hear is dry as a stone - also works.
The guitar heard right from the beginning of the song are little two-string funky licks. It's not a Strat but probably a semi-hollow bodied guitar that makes that sound.
In a few parts you can hear a Rhodes-style electric piano. Unless you're specifically listening for it you'd never notice - but it's seriously cool sounding.
The voices are almost dry as a stone. There's some very light reverb there. Or it might actually be natural reverb from the recording room.
About the video
This is one of my most favorite music videos of all time because it's very rare that one is executed in a way that works like it's supposed to.
Matthew Rolston directed this vid, and as far as I'm concerned Matt is a god because of the way he put the film together.
They are seen in two different ways:
- 50s era hairdos with early 70s era short silver dresses
- Black lingerie
In the silver dresses scenes, Matt did something really interesting. He put them in front of a blue screen, left it blue and didn't bother putting in a keyed background. For all intents and purposes this should have looked horrible. It didn't. It worked perfectly. This is partially due because the lights were not directly pointed at the girls. I'm assuming this was to add interest to the scene and because the dresses were highly reflective.
Those are some seriously hard shadows just for effect.. so hard that they literally put stripes on the girls (in the shot above, two of the girls' faces are almost shadowed out completely), but for whatever reason it works.
In the lingerie scenes, Matt used black-and-white but added in a blue tint:
I'm guessing the reason he did this was to match the silver dress scenes somewhat that had a ton of blue in them.
Best part of the song, and the video.
Matt did face profiles for this part of the film - and even threw in a disco ball. Worked awesome. Again, he did something that totally should not have worked, that being rapid-fire fade in/outs. That must have been a pain to edit because I'm fairly certain this entire film was editing old-school style, meaning in the cutting room with no digital edits whatsoever. I might be wrong, but I don't believe that's the way it was done in the early 90s because the equipment to do it was still too wickedly expensive back then.
Here's a few shots from the breakdown:
It's the simplicity of the shots that makes it work. When you have women that are naturally pretty, you don't need much else for the shot.
What effect this song had on me
I'll be blunt honest - I don't even know what the song is really about. I think it's supposed to be about a woman's friend telling a man that he will never be able to get her friend back no matter how bad he wants her again. I think. Not sure. 🙂
There is one lyric, or rather a word, that I really do pay attention to however, bop. Yes, bop. I dig it has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrical content and everything to do with moving the song along. Bop is only there the same as a guitar would play a chord. That's just cool.
Anyway, what matters to me is how the song sounds and the video that gave an image to the music.
Early 1990s black R&B was some really good stuff. Lots of funk, soul and the good stuff that makes black music worth listening to.
When I think of black music, I don't think of rap or hip-hop because that crap sucks. What I think of are artists like En Vogue. Classy girls singing classy music with funk and soul in it. That's what makes My Lovin' an awesome song.
If I ever had the chance to play in a backing band for them, I'd do it in a heartbeat because it's the kind of music that moves you.