Anatomy Of The Groove For 2/27/2015-Andre’s Pick: “Waterfalls” by TLC

As readers of this blog may have noticed? I’ve done previous little coverage of the 1990’s in Anatomy Of The Groove. My reasons for that,complex and subjective as they are,can be found over a number of my music reviews on Amazon. At the same time? I was very caught up in loving the music of TLC: T-Boz,Lisa Left Eye and Chilli. These were a trio of very funky divas who came around just after En Vogue with their own particular take on the music of that era.

Beginning with a loping drum shuffle and round keyboard warble,the music takes shape into a wah wah guitar playing the basic melody of the sung accented by a horn section of muted trumpets playing a jazzy counter accent. T-Boz throws down her best Sly Stone style vocal drawl  into this and with all three singing the chorus together of “don’t go chasing waterfalls/just stick to the rivers and the lakes that your used to/I know your gonna have it your way or no way at all/but I think your moving too fast” before the song fades on the same instrumental phrase on which it began.

One of the deepest things about this song for my personally is that 1994 was the year in which I had totally embraced the funky soul jazz spectrum of music as the sounds which influenced my own creative heart,mind and soul. Even than I recognized that this song,completely contemporary for it’s time,was completely embracing all the elements of that music. The vocal delivery was directly out of the trio’s Southern fried funk roots and it actually had a live instrumental backing of wah wah guitar and horns-which were just as distinctive and memorable to the song as the vocals and melody.

Thematically it is only recently that the wonders of this songs virtues actually revealed themselves to me. In a very poetic 70’s funky soul style? It finds TLC rhapsodizing the tale of a contemporary male urban teenager from a good family whose mother has concerns about the secrecy about his life,yet remains in the dark about the gangsta lifestyle he’s become involved in. It’s basically an image right out of what Maya Angelou refers to as “the thirteens”-seemingly a specific word for black American Generation X’ers.  This song takes the street sounds of mid 70’s hard funk,mixes it with a hip-hop style beat,live instrumentation and a message to young black men in particular what it might really to keep it real.


Filed under 1990s, Chilli, Funk, Generation X, Lisa Left Eye Lopez, T-Boz, TLC, wah wah guitar, Waterfalls

2 responses to “Anatomy Of The Groove For 2/27/2015-Andre’s Pick: “Waterfalls” by TLC

  1. Great blog and great song choice! Of course, I remmeber very well when this thang came out and it was a landmark in my life as well. There was a local video channel I’d watch around the time after school and when they broadcast this video, the deep, moving soulful funky music along with the Hype Williams narrative video always had a supreme impact on me. It was totally different to all the other partying videos that would come on during the course of an afternoon. The only equivalents for it at the time would be 2Pac songs like “Dear Mama” and “Keep Your Head Up.” Of course, very central to it is the musical contribution of Organized Noize. Organized Noize was probably my favorite musical force of the ’90s, providing the live band sound for early Outkast and Goodie Mob music. Their old school oritentation, based on live instrumentation, made this song possible, and a song I consider it’s companion, “Don’t Let Go”, which turned out to be the last great hit by En Vogue. Also another tidbit I didn’t find out until much later is that the great Cee Lo Green was singing background vocals on this track! It’s a total triumph of a message song that stands out not just as a hit, but as a truly great song as well!

    • Wonderful historical information on those involved making this song that…even today I find myself singing to. As Cleota Mae Davis once told her son Miles the 3rd? Gotta always play something you can hum!

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