Thursday, February 23, 2012

Songs of Evil: Notes on Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You"

A few weeks ago they released the 25th anniversary edition of Whitney Houston's debut album, Whitney Houston.

Whitney is sort of fascinating as a human embodiment of the philosophical conundrum of "Theseus' Ship (props to Jen Dziura's one-woman show for reminder on this).

The Ship of Theseus paradox poses questions of identity and authenticity in the form of a riddle/parable: If a ship leaves the port -- in this case Theseus' ship -- and while out at sea has all its planks replaced over time, piece by piece, when it returns to port with all new parts is it still Theseus' Ship?

Now you may or may not know that some scientists will tell you that our cells are regenerating every 7-10 years. In effect, we all have a little Theseus Paradox in us: our whole bodies are renewed over time, piece by piece, but we stay (in some essential way) the same person.

In the case of the fourth best-selling female artist, the paradox is striking: If when we met Whitney she was a god-fearing, clean-cut, singer from heaven, and then twenty years later all of her cells have changed, and she's a crack-smoking, Bobby Brown f'ing, reality show ghetto diva doing very little singing. Well, is that still Whitney Houston?

I don't know.... But, uh, ANYwhitney, I didn't want to unpack our enigmatic angel in this post, but rather her song, "Saving All My Love For You" which got stuck in my head upon revisiting her debut album.

Have you listened to this song recently? I personally had not, and after being briefly enamored with the parodic possibilities of turning the song into an ode to eye-crust called "Saving All My Crust For You", I realized the song is one of the most purely evil songs I've ever given my attention. It's selfish, obnoxious, and pretty much morally reprehensible. If that proves to be a harsh assessment, then it's at the very least disingenuous. Like some sort of romantic Trojan Horse purporting the spirit of true love, when it's no more than the the deranged fantasy of an intolerably narcissistic lunatic.

The title of this song suggets a paean to waiting, pining, fighting, and willing ones way into someone else's heart. In a different context, perhaps a noble sentiment. But as per the setup of the song, you get a sense of some rather questionable pathology lurking beneath the surface. Some notes on all this after the video below.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

'Twas the Month After Negropedia

'twas the month after negropedia, and all through the sphere 

a few people were talking, but not fully three cheers 

the new yorker said yay, the daily beast says a hoot 

but some say "he’s racist, why give him my loot?" 

he’s not lindsey lohan, he’s not herman cain 

more often than not, that TAN just hurts my brain 

posts come without rhythm, no rhyme, little reason 

sometimes he’s long-winded, the blog is practically wheezing 

he’s trying so hard, as he sits and tap-tappers 

about race, about rap, how you might be a rapper

and so if on your roof you hear the sound of a clatter 

don’t call the po-po, get some wine and let’s chatter

let TAN into your homes, your hearts and your minds 

let TAN sing his song for four wings w/ some fries 

le book on the shelves, buy it now before noon 

and then go to steamboat, he’ll be reading there soon


Saturday, February 04, 2012


Born October 4th (a Libra!), weighing in at, uh, a few ounces, (even less if you cop the digi-baby). A bundle of joy, you have your mommy's eyes, and your daddy's, well, CENSORED TOO HOT FOR TV/INTERNET, and as of this moment you're all future potential YAY, SALES:

Why We Need Negropedia [The Daily Beast]
Gawker Book Club: Negropedia [Gawker]
The Exchange: Patrice Evans on "Negropedia" [The New Yorker]
The Clair Huxtable Code [Jezebel]
Talking with Michael Eric Dyson [The Michael Eric Dyson Show]
How to Build the UltimateBlack Comedian [Splitsider]
Most Exciting New Books Coming Your Way This Fall
 + Interview: Patrice Evans Talks Negropedia, Gay Rappers [Flavorwire]
Also: You Might Be A Rapper: Steve Jobs (RIP) [Grantland]

(more coming...)

The Root Recommends [The Root]
Playing 9 Questions w/ Patrice Evans [Examiner]
Talk w/ Shawna Renee [Cocoa Mode]


Related Posts with Thumbnails