Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Charlize Theron Funk Connection

I don't know if y'all have seen the J'Adore commercial with Charlize Theron, but it's one of the funkiest I've seen in a while, and not just because ole' girl strips down to her draws (!). Playing in the background is one of my favorite songs, "A Funky Space Reincarnation," from one of my favorite albums of all time, Marvin Gaye's Here My Dear.

Here My Dear
is one of those albums you got to know just because the story behind it is so good. Marvin was married to Anna Gordy, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. They got married when Marvin was young, although Anna was seventeen (!) years his senior. Things were okay for awhile, but in the late seventies, after years of drug abuse and infidelity, Anna called it quits and asked for a divorce. When it came time to divide up the assets, it turned out that Marvin owed a bunch of back taxes and he was effectively broke. So the judge decreed that Marvin would make an album and give part of the proceeds to Anna (why does that sound like a dumb Seinfeld episode?).

Marvin said at first that he was going to be spiteful and put together some trash, but his genius (and probably pride) wouldn't allow it. He put together one of the funkiest, most personal recordings you'd ever be blessed to hear: Here My Dear.

It's nothing like What's Going On, with it's clarity of purpose and beauty. It ain't smooth babymakinmusic like I Want You or Let's Get It On. No, this is a unique picture into the soul of a man tormented by his own pain, need, and immaturity.

Besides the three versions of "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You," the title track is followed by a song titled, "I Met A Little Girl," which is for real cold because it's all about the seventeen year old girl, Janis Hunter, who he later ended up marrying. But besides all of the emotional rawness of the album, there are some cuts on there, like "Time to Get It Together," and "Anger," that are worth listening to just because they are funky and brilliant.

And I'm not sure what Marvin was smoking at the time, but on "A Funky Space Reincarnation" he entices a paramour by telling her to try some smoke he got from Venus and how magnets will help his "love rise." It's about the strangest song you'll ever hear on a Motown label--and one of the funkiest. Peep:

Marvin Gaye - Funky Space Reincarnation [FUNK]
Uploaded by DjLordFunk. - Explore more music videos.


vanessa said...

I learn so much from this blog. Damn.

Have you seen the trailer for the movie Revolutionary Road yet? Nina Simone set to white people's middle class problems? Yeah.

Abdel Shakur said...

I haven't seen that yet, but label me unsurprised. What song was it?

vanessa said...

"Wild as the Wind"

Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpra9OEw6nQ

Abdel Shakur said...

Wow. That really sucked. It's one of those moments that really makes you want to teach W131 again.