With February closing out today, it seems like a good time for an end-of-the-month/belated Valentine’s special. And thus, right now seems to be the best of times for putting forth what may be my favorite disco song.
Rock Your Baby
“Rock Your Baby”
Anyone who’s following this series for a long time may have already figured it out by now. When it comes to music, I am not a lyrics kind of person. Not that they don’t matter whatsoever, but they are low on the list of what I want out of a song.
In lieu of that, I am all about the sound. Let’s put it this way: It is exceedingly easy for me to overlook or forgive rote, uninspired, basic, barely-there, or (to a degree; I still have limits) bad lyrics if there is a killer musical backbone holding them up. The instrumentation, the arrangement, the singing voice, the production and mixing, and how all of that is performed will always elicit far more joy and emotions from my being than the pure content of the words.
Which brings us to “Rock Your Baby”, my choice for embodying the month of romance and love. Conventionally speaking, this is a dumb song to stake such a claim on; there are scores upon scores of lyrics that are magnitudes more romantic than the ones here. Few people would see these words inscribed on a card and swoon as their first reaction. Is “There’s nothing to it / Just say you wanna do it” really the best you can do?!
But oooh, when listening to it all...good lord, I cannot help it; I come down with otherworldly infatuation. Everything about this track is gorgeous, ethereal, magically lovestruck. George McCrae has a lovely falsetto, and his sweetly sung performance lends tender romance to words that would never achieve such a thing on their own.
The downright best thing, however, is how everything sounds like it came straight from a hazy dream. The words don’t form clear verses or choruses, but rather amble along sedately. Syrupy reverb pegs the singing as outside of the physical realm. A drum machine and a drum kit merge into a singular groove. Electric pianos gleam through many a glissando. The most beautiful set organ chords persist with constancy for almost the entire running time.
And halfway through the six-minute journey—no radio edits here, that is the only canon version of the song—the normal proceedings take a sharp turn into an extended instrumental break that puts the lush backing track, especially the rhythm guitar, front and center. By the way, relevant fun fact! Two of the members of KC and the Sunshine Band, including the titular KC, were the writers and producers of “Rock Your Baby” I had no clue about that until very recently, but it’s sooo obvious in retrospect.
Their work, in tandem with George McCrae, is masterful. And so I let the sounds envelop me once more.
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.