Beat Jab: Richard Swift, Etta James


Beat Jab offers reviews in prose poetry form from 2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Emerging Author Award winner Micah Ling.

Richard Swift

Walt Wolfman

Secretly Canadian

I'm just getting the hang of Twitter; I know, okay? I'm a little behind. But for a long time, I just didn't GET it. Like, GET it, get it. Now I do. Now I'm following people like Richard Swift, and I feel like I know him. He "tweets" conversations I'd like to have. And his music is the same way. Like, you want to have a party and play Walt Wolfman, and just keep turning it up a little more, the later it gets. I'm learning how to play the drums (like I said, I'm a little behind: I never got to be in a garage band in high school). So, Swift plays the drums throughout this album, and that's the thing I keep noticing. Maybe that's like when you buy a new car and then all of the sudden you're like, "What? EVERYONE has my car: I'm SO hip!" Or, maybe it's just that Swift is really good at the drums, and is doing crazy-interesting stuff with percussion. Yeah, it's probably the latter. Swift is with Secretly Canadian, and maybe I'm biased, but it seems like they've got a pretty sweet collection of musicians signed. I can't pick a favorite track on this album, but "Laugh it up" is pretty great; somehow haunting and totally poppy at the same time.

Etta James Tribute

No doubt iTunes and Spotify have been blowing up with Etta James searches since the announcement of her death last Friday. She was a legend. She is a legend. These people never really die. But the news is crushing: just the knowing that we won't get any more from them - that we'll have to savor what we already have. The first thing that I listened to when I got the news was her rendition of Prince's "Purple Rain." I know: not "At Last" or "I'd Rather Go Blind?" I always think it's momentous when legendary artists try their hand at someone else's material. I like that. An acknowledgment of admiration for other artists. A reminder that even the most famous - the most admirable - absolutely love the creativity of their craft, and are constantly learning. (Also, I kind of have a thing for Prince).

But then I listened to "Something's Got A Hold On Me," and damn: such an anthem of dizziness that comes with falling in love. James has that intoxication; she gives me butterflies for real. Celebrate this woman and this voice - get the hell out of your chair and give the woman a movement.

More Beat Jab.

"Something's Got a Hold On Me," by Etta James


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