The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Glamorous Life by Sheila E (1984)

"She wears a long fur coat of mink
Even in the summertime
Everybody knows from the coy little wink
The girl's got a lot on her mind

She's got big thoughts, big dreams
And a big brown Mercedes sedan
What I think this girl,
She really wants is to be in love with a man

She wants to lead the Glamorous Life
She don't need a man's touch
She wants to lead the Glamorous Life
But without love it ain't much

She saw him standing in the section marked
'If you have to ask you can't afford it' lingerie
She threw him bread and said make me scream
In the dark what could he say

Boys with small talk and small minds
Really don't impress me in bed
She said I need a man's man baby
Diamonds and furs
Love would only conquer my head

repeat CHORUS

They made haste in the brown sedan
They drove to 55 Secret Street
They made love and by the seventh wave
She knew she had a problem
She thought real love is real scary
Money only pays the rent
Love is forever that's all your life
Love is heaven sent it's glamorous

repeat CHORUS"

A cautionary tale (Madonna's "Material Girl" with added humility) set against, and perhaps negated by, the continuous punctum of the music, which drives the seventh wave like a chariot through the inner wreckage of the heroine's thoughts.

Crucially there is no bassline for most of the song, a signifier for the lack of love in her life; the bass (synth?) eventually enters midrange during the final verse, undulating and undeniably sex-inducing. It is made for movement but (as with her "glamorous" life) too fast for real love (physicail and spiritual) to happen.

The tremulous onset of massed percussion overdubs ("Blue Monday" Linn drum hammering undrummable rhythms against the timbales) accentuates her keenness mixed with dread; David Coleman's 'cello moves a crucial shade slower, imploring the heroine to slow the illusion down and let reality in. The "Starr Company"'s crucial midriff is there throughout - the strangely regretful chorus-verse bridge and the defiant escalating minor thirds which augment the final declarations of the chorus. Synths squirt as you would expect; Larry Williams' amazing alto sax squirts as you wouldn't expect - could almost be John Tchicai, squealing freely (and clearly metaphorically).

Of course, the latter provides the crucial key to the bridge between the Ze Records legacy and what Prince then went on to do with it; the sax itself reminds us of James Chance, the lyric matter is very Cristina circa 1980 (and when oh when is Mutant Disco, or No New York for that matter, going to be re-released on CD?) but the drive is that of 1984, en route to its 1990 logical Vogue-ing conclusion.

In some ways "The Glamorous Life" scarcely exists as a song at all. It's an impression of a song. But its punctum is transparently apparent.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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