A few folks registered surprise that I am a fan of Sly and the Family Stone. Well, you can blame Glenn Reynolds for my running Sly — he slapped the band up on his Facebook page, first — but the truth is I’ve always been a fan of funk. Really, who isn’t? All you squares, go out!
The other day I pulled up to the house with windows open and the CD player blasting “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five. It was blasting because I am over 50 and losing my hearing, but also because I can’t resist the song, which sounds fresh in every decade, and never fails to raise my spirit from that first skim down the piano keyboard. The young Michael Jackson is remarkable, and the minimalist rhythm guitar — chiming that one chord, throughout — just kills me.
My son Buster, hearing the racket (I was singing along…) wondered if my hearing loss was well-served by the high volume and I told him to shut up because “I Want You Back” is the best pop song, evah.
He disagreed. He likes the song, but doesn’t think it’s the best ever of course, insisting on subjectivity, which I know is reality but can be tiresome when one simply wants to declare a thing the “best ever” and move on. All week he’s been throwing songs at me — by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson, U2, The Supremes and that one great song by Katrina and the Waves and saying, “how is that not the best pop song, ever?”
Then he surprised me with this one, yesterday. It’s not a pop song, per se, but damn, it’s every bit as irresistible and fresh as anything by the J-5; it has a cocky beat, tight syncopation and a free vocal that just dances around the horns like another trombone. It’s a pop song, yeah. And it kills. Best ever? Oh, man. Who can say? This artist alone would have a few hits in the running, then.
Enjoy. And then tell me — what do you think is the best pop song, evah?