Thursday, April 15, 2010

Uptight Religion

This is one of my all-time favorite Stevie Wonder tunes. It has enormous nostalgic powers for me, triggering a host of childhood memories as well as the emotions associated with them. But it's also an ever-potent feel-good dance track in its own right, quite aside from any throwback value. This mash-up re-imagining, set against R.E.M.'s classic brooder "Losing My Religion" underscores the plaintiveness of the song's lyrics and pushes the recording's sense of urgency in a deeper, grittier direction. The new musical bed bounces a darker subtext that complicates the cross-class differences outlined in the lovers scenario of the song, suggesting that everything may not really be "alright," and "outta sight" after all. (The sample of Michael Stipes chiming in with the line "That was just a dream..." is so perfectly deployed as a sobering Greek chorus reality check.) It's just fucking lovely.

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