Welcome to Musical Appreciation. I fucking love Earth, Wind & Fire. They’re one of the top 10 greatest R&B bands of all time and have contributed to some of the best music of the 70s. Their musical compositions and harmonies are out of this world, expanding the sound of R&B and soul to something more universal and at the same time, being unapologetically black without beating it across your face. Themes of love and peace are present in their music and they’re part of the soundtrack to nearly every party across the world. The classics they have under their belt are endless: Shining Star, Boogie Wonderland with The Emotions, Let’s Groove, Sing A Song, Fantasy, Can’t Hide Love, and today’s Musical Appreciation. This is September.
One thing someone might notice about the song is its instrumentation. This is one of the best produced songs of the entire decade with the late Maurice White bringing the best out of every instrument in the song, from the guitars, the percussion, the bass, the keys, the horns, even the strings in the background adding some extra texture to the mix that gives the song a more uplifting feel. The atmosphere is just bright, fun, and is perfect to dance to. We can’t forget about the interplay between the vocals. Maurice White’s tendor on the verses contrasts the falsetto of Phillip Bailey on the chorus very well. Speaking of the chorus, it’s very infectious. In a lesser song, the constant “ba da ya’s” would get annoying real quick, but with great vocals and a doo-wop style that’s executed perfectly within the song, it never does.
I find the first line of the song really interesting, “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” Think about this: The 21st is usually when the seasons change and in the case of September, the season would change from summer to fall, signifying change. And then it’s followed up by this:
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away
Now clouds are normally used as a negative connotation, representing life problems. Basically, this line, and the rest of the song, says that not only will love warm even the coldest hearts, but it can sometimes make you forget about the problems you face and for a moment, you can just dance the night away with no worries. I might be reading too much into it because it is just a party song at the the end of the day, but that’s just my interpretation. Regardless, this song is a staple for every party, especially the ones with a lot of black folks. You put on this song in a black family reunion, everyone’s getting down: parents, kids, grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts, cousins, even the babies will quickly learn how to walk and dance at the same time. It’s just that great of a song.
So that was Musical Appreciation. Next time, we’ll talk about Somebody That I Used To Know.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
Boogie Wonderland-Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions
Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)-Erykah Badu ft Common
Buddy-De La Soul ft A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, & Queen Latifah