YESNYOU – Funk: Then and Now

Hi everyone,

Funk bannerSome things just go together, and apart they’re just not the same. Imagine a fideuá without the alioli. Or a cheesecake without the biscuit base. It’s just unthinkable.

The same is true of me and The Funk. Some people call it Funk, but if you’ve got as much respect for it as I have, then you call it The Funk. Funk music is probably the only type of music that I can listen to without immediately praying for silence.

I Brown funk editThe Funk: Now

Last year Mark Ronson, a British music producer, released a song called Uptown Funk (featuring vocals from Bruno Mars). It was a great success and won a lot of awards. I knew it was popular.

But imagine my surprise when I went on YouTube today and saw that Uptown Funk has had more than 1.3 billion views! That’s as if 1/5 of the world’s population had seen the video! Or as if every man, woman and child in China got their funk on! So here it is (and you can click here for the lyrics):

James brown funkThe Funk: Then

At the end of the first verse Bruno Mars sings “Gotta kiss myself I’m so pretty”, which is an abbreviation of the phrase “I’ve got to kiss myself because I’m so pretty”. One of the first singers to use this expression in a song was James Brown in the song Super Bad. Now, James Brown is often called “Godfather of Soul” but he is also recognised as the “Founding Father of Funk”. Check out this amazing performance on Soul Train in 1970, and try to listen for the phrase “I jump back, I wanna kiss myself”.

Did you hear it? Or were you too busy watching the amazing dancer?! Click here to read the lyrics and then try again!

Darth funkWhich do you prefer? Old funk or new funk? They’re both bass-heavy, high-energy songs, and they’re the traditional mixture of soul, jazz and rhythm and blues (R&B) that defines funk music. In fact, there are a lot of different funky derivatives. If you don’t like the old-school funk of Sly and the Family Stone maybe you like the funk rock of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or the funk metal of Living Colour. There’s even ‘Timba‘, a type of funky Cuban dance music, and many more styles. There’s funk for everyone!

It must be said that most funk lyrics are nonsensical. But then, lots of lyrics in songs make no sense at all. The important thing is the feeling that you get when you listen to the songs. You can also practice making the sounds of words, even when their meaning isn’t clear.

My favourite funk track of all time is The Message by Cymande. Unfortunately, they never made a music video for the track, but here it is in all its funky glory.

I love the simplicity of the song – there’s nothing better to do the washing up to! Now come on, reach out to me and let me know what your favourite funky tracks are. You can leave us a message (or a link to a youtube video) in the comments section below, write on our facebook wall (YES ‘N’ You Spain), or send us a message on twitter (@YESNYOU_es).

Keep it funky until next time,

Al

 

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