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Paradise: Impossible?

Take Me Out of My Zip Code: Single Again

I was listening to Teena Marie's "Shangri-La" from Emerald City and instead of indulging in my usual speculative philosopher-style hack-work by wondering aloud about what songs called "Shangri-La" have in common, I decided to actually tackle scientific method by wondering aloud about what songs called "Shangri-La" have in common and then listening to a shit-ton of them. My only conclusion is that most of them are boring and nothing like how I imagine paradise, which shouldn't surprise me except that "Heaven" by the Talking Heads is an Eternal song and I thought that maybe because seeing the cover of Belinda Carlisle's Heaven is a Place on Earth when I was about five was the first time I had a boy-girl thing that someone could've nailed "Shangri-La" or at least sort of smeared it.

As of right now, Teena Marie has the best version of "Shangri-La" I can find (and it's not all that amazing or even the best song on Emerald City), though if the Kinks version had more syncopations it might win. I used to like it a lot, but I've been sorta tired of Ray Davies lately. The Nightmares in Wax (not on) is pretty good too, it's like no wave except the tunelessness seems more accidental. I can't decide what the worst one is. Right now, I think it's Gift Culture's, not because I take total offense at the idea that paradise sounds like lite pan-Asian trip-hop, but because it's all synth portamento, which is sort of like someone trying to forcefeed you a bowl full of parsley while telling you it's salad.

Billy Idol's is really terrible too, but it's actually not the worst song on Cyberpunk. That distinction goes to the crap techno cover of VU's "Heroin," remarkable only for the greatest perceived-time to actual-time ratio in any song I can think of (and not because of the song's imagined bulletproof vests/dumb guardian shrieks of "heresy" and not even because of idea, which, if you think about it for a split second, is actually a pretty good one). The ratio is either 9 or 10, which makes the experience long enough to listen to "Keeper of the Mountain" by the Flatlanders at least 21 more times or "I Wanna Dance Wit 'Choo" by Disco Tex at least 13 more, which are lowball figures, because I've diregarded the time-flies-when-you're-having-fun factor out of pity. Quantify your love, it's spring.


Blogger Alfred said...

I simply must buy more Teena Marie, for which I blame Chuck Eddy and you, in that order.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Mike Powell said...

Well, I'm blaming Frank Kogan right now, though maybe Chuck Eddy was the Teena Marie cult seed-originator. Not sure. Either way, she has some reallllly great music.

9:44 AM  

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