[6] Missy Elliott, ‘Get Ur Freak On’

Get Ur Freak On

Here’s something we prepared earlier:

What makes ‘Get Ur Freak On’ so great? Is it the much-imitated-but-then-truly-original bhangra shake turning hip hop inside out? Is it Timbaland’s beats cutting up sharp enough to slice through Run-D.M.C.’s gold chains? Is it the punctuating “holla”s that stop the record stone dead to let you catch a breather before the nagging resumes at twice the power? Is it hindsight – or even prescience – that Missy and Timbaland have reached their creative peak here and all that’s left are old skool retreads and a steady stream of career revivals for Furtado, Ciccone and whoever’s next? Is it the “hach-TOO” flying in your face? Is it the pie-eyed mix of vocal tics and screams rubbing up against punishing techno twangs that makes you think you’ve stepped into some sci-fi jungle nightmare, shortly before you realise you actually have?

Yes.

Junior says: “I need more fingers.” She means thumbs; two thumbs up isn’t enough for this, apparently. It is also “good”.

Best bits: “IN YOUR FACE.” Although it’s one big good bit of pop culture, so picking a particular moment might be slightly, erm, reductive.

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Animal Collective, ‘Summertime Clothes’

Animal Collective

So it’s Junior’s fourth birthday. It seems only three and a half years and a bit since we were reviewing Antipop Consortium records together and plumping for Kanye West over Missy Elliott in the 2005 chart. How time flies, innit.

And in those few short years, Animal Collective have gone from quirky indie electronica nerds to quirky indie electronica nerds with something approaching proper tunes. There have always been squirts of brilliance, but 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion has pulled together more than most and set them to some full rave dynamics. The jaunty ‘Summertime Clothes’ isn’t the best single on it – mayyybbeee we’ll save one for the year-end chart – but it’s a ray of hope as everything goes haywire outside the window.

Newly grown-up Junior is more interested in the flashy magic eye madness on the album sleeve, gracing the song with a mere handclap or two. She’d have loved them at Glastonbury though, where they stole the show with disco lights and hands aloft and sent all my mates packing to buy their album.

AndIwaaaaannawaaaaalkarooouuundwithyou:

N.B. Coming soon(ish) – The Top 50 Singles of the 00s

[1] Missy Elliott, ‘Get Ur Freak On’

For all my efforts, Junior doesn’t quite have the weight of cultural history on her small shoulders, so true innovation won’t astonish her just yet. To her, ‘Get Ur Freak On’ has a slinky groove that makes those unburdened shoulders shimmy, but – as far as artistic impact goes – it faces tough competition from the Rice Krispies.

So, what makes ‘Get Ur Freak On’ so great? Is it the much-imitated-but-then-truly-original bhangra shake turning hip-hop inside out? Is it Timbaland’s beats cutting up sharp enough to slice through Run-D.M.C.’s gold chains? Is it the punctuating “holla”s that stop the record stone dead to let you catch a breather before the nagging resumes at twice the power? Is it hindsight – or even prescience – that Missy and Timbaland have reached their creative peak here and all that’s left are old skool retreads and a steady stream of career revivals for Furtado, Ciccone and whoever’s next? Is it the “hach-TOO” flying in your face? Is it the pie-eyed mix of vocal tics and screams rubbing up against punishing techno twangs that makes you think you’ve stepped into some sci-fi jungle nightmare, shortly before you realise you actually have?

Yes.

[2] Missy Elliott featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop, ‘Lose Control’

Ciara returns the favour. Until yesterday, this was going to be Number One. It’s dropped because the other record still gets better with every play, months after I first heard it, while this has maybe lost a tiny bit of its sheen. Also – as Junior’s mum has pointed out – ‘Lose Control’ is enhanced by its video, and I shouldn’t be swayed by that kind of thing. It’s a fantastic video, unsettling, scary and inspired.

Whatever, it’s still a great record. We can forgive Fatman Scoop for his past sins, and we can marvel again at Ciara’s honeyed tones. All that plus Missy telling us she’s got a “cute face, chubby waist”. Bit like Junior, but we don’t say that too loudly when she’s around. I’ve heard people get itchy about the track being based on Cybotron’s imperious ‘Clear’, but Missy uses it to whip up even more excitement, not as a crutch. 

Junior listens from the launchpad of her breakdancing mat, kicking legs and flapping arms. She’d fling herself backwards onto the wall Ciara-style if she could. I cover her ears whenever there are rude words. No one wants their child’s first word to be, er, “mummajumma”.

Just one to go then. Can you guess what it is yet?

[17] Ciara featuring Missy Elliott, ‘1, 2 Step’

This is Ciara’s year, we just live in it. Junior is puzzled to see her dad try to sing along with what the nice lady is saying, but you can see she wants to get up and dance. The song has a minimalism to it that wouldn’t take much effort to move with. She could do those press-ups that she practises on her mat before rolling over and doing that slightly astonished face before she sees that her mum is smiling. Missy Elliott could try that in the next video. I’m not entirely sure she hasn’t already.