By S. Lucy
As you may or may not know, this little doll here is a music junkie. Literally junkie, as in will experience withdrawal. So the other day, when I was searching for a new fix (otherwise known as “artist”), I came across this fantastic musical beast: the collective works of one Grace Jones.
A little history on this fine lady: not only was she at one point a muse to Andy Warhol – seriously, this woman has been everywhere – but one of the Conan movies (yes, with the Gaahvernaytahh), Pee Wee’s Christmas special, and A View to a Kill are just a couple highlights from her rather impressive film career. She has also released 11 albums in the last 35 years, the latest in 2008. This is even more impressive when you consider that she was roughly 30 when she started this ride.
For the most part, her sound is…. well, her sound is the soundtrack you needed that one afternoon you were smoking up with your girlfriend’s parents in their basement, and discussing acid trips and sexual philosophy… just for, you know, a random, nonspecific example. She has this deep, blackened steel sound to her voice that simultaneously evokes images of Lauren Bacall in the Big Sleep and post-apocalyptic robot run worlds where you’d get vaporized for thinking. Just like any self-respecting artist who’s practiced in their medium for more than a decade, her sound develops astounding differences. Starting off with a more dance-clubby type of sound, she’s now made her way into that Brian Eno- influenced (did I mention they’ve collaborated?) sort of dark trip-hop-jazz-funk-early punk rejuvenation orgy that you’re starting to see a lot more of nowadays. Still, she manages to keep it her own, between her outrageous style and really spotlight voice.
Here’s my personal favorite of hers, “Corporate Cannibal”:
It’s, in a word, creeptastic. Dark, almost to the point of nightmarish, the song reminds me of exactly what it sounds like: the cannibalistic personification of the corporate system. With lines like “pleased to meet you, pleased to eat you” and a technically inharmonious harmony repeating “I’m a man eating machine”, this song immediately brings to mind every game I’ve ever played, or movie I’ve ever watched, where the human race is the underdog, and you run or become dinner. Then all of a sudden it jumps into the instrumentation. Think Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” making a baby with “Zydrate Anatomy” from Repo!, and you have some idea of where this is going. Admittedly, not all of her music is like this, so if this is your bag, prepare for variation. If just the thought of this gives you shivers, she does a spectacular cover of “La Vie en Rose“, too.
Seriously, this woman is fabulous. And not just because she reminds me of the Yang to David Bowie’s Yin (a post/ novella detailing my obsession with THAT man soon to come), but she has such an iconic, really genius sound, that hits those primal, unspeakable parts of you that nobody should know about, let alone be able to capture with a few instruments and cleverly hooked lyrics.