Fancy Clown
by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Chuck Jackson - "Any Day Now"*
Z.Z. Hill - "That Ain't the Way You Make Love"**

One of the rarest and most magical kinds of songs is the one that taps into a feeling so universal everything in your body rises to meet its meaning when you hear it - but that also, at the same time, tells its own story, shades it in with details that couldn't ever belong to anyone else. Soul music is the greatest genre for this, and one of the best things about getting really into its most obscure corners and crannies is that the more songs you know, the more expansive and sympathetic and complex your vocabulary for talking and thinking about love becomes. It's true that there are only so many ways to say you adore someone, that you want them or that they are breaking your heart, but it's also true that there are one million different sets of circumstances that can give rise to those emotions and each one deserves an anthem. They exist; all you have to do is go diving. The more soul music*** you listen to, the more your knowledge of love and heartbreak expands, gains texture; your record collection becomes an index of subtypes, theme and endless variation.

I had heard this Chuck Jackson song a lot of times without ever really listening to the lyrics, and then a few weeks ago it came up on shuffle and I stopped. It lingers like an average love song - a little longing, plus that organ at the beginning, come on - but it's really a song about what it's like to be in love with someone when a basic unit of that feeling is the bitter conviction that someday that person is bound to see you for what you are and leave you for someone better. The Z.Z. Hill song is about being in love with someone so desperate to avoid you that she asks her brother to tell you she's not home when you call, but still, here you are, writing her a song, pleading while you try to play it cool; there's that low float of desperation in the background, something a little darker underneath the smooth, smooth surface. So many ways to conjure and configure it. So many different ways to dissolve love into heartbreak, or do it the other way around. Anthems for a single feeling each, parts of a whole that always shifts but never changes.

* This is a rip from a video because I'm having a tough time tracking down an mp3, but the video itself is very worth watching if you have a minute - the stage! His suit! Burt Bacharach!
**M.F. Doom - "Fancy Clown"
*** Or pop music, or music, or poetry, or art; the more people you kiss, the more sweet-hearted dogs you make eye contact with, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by Emma at April 24, 2016 9:58 PM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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