Anatomy of THE Groove 6/27/2014 Andre’s Pick: “Over My Shoulder” by Chromeo

Since there has been an ongoing disco-dance revival that’s existed pretty consistently since the late 1980’s? Its not surprising that so many of the most groove-centric and funk oriented instrumentalists have actually emerged out of the club/DJ scene that helped spawn the original disco era in the first place. France’s Daft Punk are a perfect example. One thing that evident about modern funk artists who grew out of the modern DJ/electronic scene is their admiration for the sleeker “sophistifunk” style that emerged during that late 70’s period. As for me,I discovered what was to me a totally unknown example of this via a friends recommendation of an artist called Magic Man. The act was called Chromeo. And hearing sound samples of them made me want to seek out more of their music. It was the song “Over Your Shoulder” from their newest album White Women that caught my ears the most.

Beginning with a growling,revved up bass the song goes straight into that a heavy bass/guitar interaction courtesy of David “Dave 1” Mackovitch-one half of this duo. The bass line to this song in particular is very perpulsive-bouncing and dancing along while almost jazzily improvising over the chord changes of the grooving lead guitar line and the drum rhythm. Because the basic song is so stripped down,this bass stands out very strongly. On the end of each chorus as sung by Dave on,the bands keyboardist Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel plays a melodic synthesizer solo with two different and exciting parts. One is very much in the vibrato oriented Bernie Worrell/P-Funk “video game” style and the other part more in the flamboyant,progressive style scaling similar to what Steve Miller Band used on “Fly Like An Eagle”. As the song fades to a close, Dave 1’s guitar solo takes on a somewhat more pop/rock oriented tone as well.

In the 1970’s Montreal had bought the world the exploitative jazz/funk delights of Gino and Joe Vannelli. And from what I hear Dave 1 and P-Thugg would appear to be bringing a similar impulse out of this Atlantic Canada city. Only thing time focusing in on that late 70’s sophistifunk and early 80’s boogie funk sound with an occasionally minor jazzy and psychedelic twist. Another captivating element of this song is its lyrical content. It tells the story of a man coming onto a woman who defines herself by the insecurity she feels about her looks and attraction to others. While traditionally classic funk and soul traditionally celebrated emotionally and sexually confident female virtues? The more visually conscious and often superficial modern outlook on youthful femininity is reflected lyrically in this song.

With lines such as “Oh the grass is greener everywhere you look/ So many people stare they got you scared of the girls out there/ This one’s cola-bottle size/And that one’s more of a model size/I know you heard this a hundred times” and especially “You see, your problems of self-esteem/Could be self-fulfilling prophecies/So arguably your best policy should be talking to me”? Dave 1 offers empowerment,rather than mere co-dependant enabling to his female romantic interest in the song. The polished,sleek yet instrumentally minimal nature of the song is equally reflective of the healthy and nurturing male attitude towards women this song projects. So this is not only strong modern funk with a heavy sexual subtext. But also one where a modern man is encouraging a modern woman to be confident,feminine and sexual all at once without losing anything.

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1 Comment

Filed under Chromeo, Daft Punk, Disco, DJ's, Funk, Funk Bass, Late 70's Funk, Women

One response to “Anatomy of THE Groove 6/27/2014 Andre’s Pick: “Over My Shoulder” by Chromeo

  1. Excellent write up of an excellent song! Chromeo is certainly one of the groups at the forefront of modern funk. They have always done good music but they also have a vital message with a great humor and irony to it as well. You bring that out here, their lyrics are right in the vein of funk. Sometimes we forget Funk had a unique position of being a strongly masculine music within an America that was undergoing a feminist revolution. Coupled with the often testy male female relationships in the black community in particular? Funk was an interesting staging ground for the “battle of the sexes.” I always got an attitude from funk that was strongly macho but appreciative of female power as well. Songs like “Brick House”, “Freak of the Week”, or “Knee Deep”, do not simply objectify women, they WORSHIP women almost like the old mother Goddess cults, as an awesome force of human life. Great that Chromeo has picked up on something you talk about often, Funk is not just a music, it also had thematic content!

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