Only These
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.


Smokey Robinson - "You Really Got A Hold On Me"

I've seen the Platonic form of the pop song and it closely resembles "You Really Got A Hold On Me." It's as if Smokey is singing about how I feel about his song. Except my relationship with his song is not so tumultuous: it has all the loving, kissing, squeezing; but none of the fighting, crying, wanting to split.

A few notes on restraint and simplicity:

1. The piano's insistent 1-4-5 is a strong argument for the merit of that progression.

2. The bass rises and falls with Smokey (nothing fancy), underscoring the contradictory nature of the subject relationship.

3. The guitar - one strum on every second downbeat and an occasional riff (minimal in space and time, maximal in effect) - remains physically unexerted, while emotionally exhausted.

4. Technically speaking, Smokey is no Marvin or Sam, but when he sings it, he means it.

Will this song still be here tomorrow? Did I dream its existence in a fit of idealistic revery? I post mostly to confirm the suspect data given me by my senses. [Buy]


Magnetic Fields - "All My Little Words"

A long day of banjo playing leads me to post this banjo-flecked ballad about the frustrating limitations of our influence over others.

No matter how much we love someone, we cannot make them ours. "Not for all the tea in China." Though I understand that to be a great deal of tea (some of it quite good-tasting, I'm sure). [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at April 27, 2005 3:12 AM

That guys voice in the magnetic fields song is terrible... It would be an okay song otherwise. I think Ryan Adams could probably pull it off better.

Posted by Brandon at April 27, 2005 12:29 PM

i think Stephen Merritt's voice is great!

Posted by Jorge at April 27, 2005 12:59 PM

I'm with Jorge!

Posted by jay at April 27, 2005 1:05 PM

I'm with Jorge and Jay and Jordan.

Posted by vaucanson at April 27, 2005 1:43 PM

That's actually LD Beghtol singing that song - there are a lot of guest vocals on "69 Love Songs".

Posted by Michael at April 27, 2005 2:01 PM

what i find funny is that michael's comment need not necessarily be a correction; jay might have been making a non sequitur. :)

loooove the smokey robinson (obviously!)

Posted by Sean at April 27, 2005 4:07 PM

Man i love that Magnetic Fields song, as i do pretty much all of 69 love songs. Sooo good.

Posted by Martin at April 27, 2005 9:09 PM

"You've Really Got a Hold On Me" is-- sometimes for months at a stretch-- often atop my Greatest Songs of All Time list. Also, it recently struck me how minimal most of the guitar parts in pre-psychadelic Motown are. I wonder if the guitarists ever got bored with their parts, but I imagine it would be difficult to be anything less than entertained when playing amongst the Funk Brothers.

Posted by Jeff Reguilon at April 27, 2005 9:43 PM

All my little words = amazing.

How many bands try to write songs about relationships that don't work out? How many of them make it work this well? He's meaningful without being maudlin and he makes up the word "unboyfriendable"! Instead of playing the stereotypical "there's nothing left in the world" type this song's character is REAL. He knows that life will go on, even though he doesn't really want to give up on the relationship. The song is so powerful because the singer's character is so well written. The character escapes the stereotypes. I could go on and on, but I'm not sure I'm even making sense at the moment.

One last point, though. He even plays with us, saying "now that you've made me want to die," but he isn't dying from sadness of being left. He is dying to date her; he is dying to be in love with her, not because she rejected him. Most people, I think would use the whole death thing in the other way.

ps - I love this song.

Posted by Dan at April 28, 2005 1:38 AM

i still think his voice is great!

Posted by Jorge at April 28, 2005 3:28 PM

Well, I think they're both brilliant. Though the Beatles/Live at the BBC version of "You Really Got a Hold on Me" is tip-top too.

Posted by Tuwa at April 28, 2005 3:47 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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