Monday, 7 March 2016

I know you know. . .

I've written about Esperanza Spalding in a previous blog post (see Fall in).  I have great respect for performers who can play instruments while singing at the same time.  I think the most difficult instruments to be able to play and sing together in this way is definitely the bass and the drums.  I've had the great fortune of being able to watch many musicians live who can do this effortlessly.  It takes great skill, effort and constant practice to be able to do that.  I play piano and sing (not as often as I should) but people think that is difficult to do.  I don't think it's as difficult as with bass and drums.  I think this is because at least with the piano, you can play some melodic motifs that are similar to the vocal, whereas with the bass and drums - it's all purely rhythm and for the most part, this goes against what the voice is doing.  I'm not saying it's entirely impossible - it just takes work.  But I know you know.

The way you look at me when you think I'm not looking, tells me
Your heart's a sleeping giant worn out by someone you loved before me
I see you're scared I'm unconvinced by what I've tried to say
That I am yours and that nothing will take me away

Listening to jazz in this way brings back so many memories of playing jazz in high school.  There's something about the way the rhythm, harmonic accompaniment and melodic line weaves its magic around me that gets me every time.  It's a perfect backdrop to the mood of the lyrics, the mystery of the situation and how you're unsure just as the unsettling bass line which is meant to keep you off balance and a little bit off centre - but it feels good doing that, so why change it right?  I wonder if you have the same confidence that the singer possesses, especially when you can name or label something faster than the other person who seems to be moving from the outskirts or fringes of your life and making his or her way closer to your epicentre.  Why epicentre?  Because I know you know.

The way you always call me with some question, and every time
Try to pretend that you didn't just call me just 'cause I was on your mind
Too soon for you to say out loud but I know
You love me and though we don't say, it already shows

Has that happened to you?  When someone has called you with some question and you've sat there thinking - what is this question really about?  You kind of know but you don't say anything, instead you consider the question and think about an appropriate response to give.  It's ok to love in whatever way possible - the kind of love that doesn't exist by society's standards and it shouldn't either.  Why conform to something that you don't subscribe or ascribe to?

You already know but I'll sing it again
I love you babe and nothing will take me away
I know that you know but I'll sing it again
I love you babe and nothing will take me away

This is the chorus and I just love how hectic and intense it sounds in comparison to the easy flow of the verses.  I wonder if this was deliberate on the part of Esperanza to show us that even though the chorus is meant to be the hook that everyone remembers and is drawn to, it isn't necessarily meant to be smooth sailing. The melody line makes me smile because I think about it taking me away, not anywhere far, just enjoying the ride and not really worrying about where things take you.  It seems tricky to articulate but I know you know.

I wait for you to open up, but it's not a bore
You're just what I've been looking for, why do you keep your head in the sand?
Whoever you loved before me, that ran's nothing like me, nothing like me, nothing like me

In this bridge section at 1:39, you get a sense of the dream like state, with more intensity in the drums to highlight the change in the scene, wrapped up by the piano solo at the end.  I love the way in which the piano accents the syncopation of the song with its harmonic accompaniment before eventually coming to a close with the bass exploring the fuller extent of its range and rhythmic diversity.  When you come across someone who is hard to get to know or doesn't really seem like they're not bringing everything to the surface, that they're in fact keeping their head in the sand - are you equipped to bring them out?  Have they asked you why you're so different yet you can understand them?  You probably shrug your shoulders and smile and when they ask you repeatedly, yet refuse to answer in a satisfactory manner, you know they're thinking in their heads - I know you know.

The way you look at me when you think I'm not looking
The way you call me up just to see what's cooking
The way you look at me when you think I'm not looking
I look at you that way too you just don't know that I do

You know when people look at you or call you or have your voice in the back of their mind and know that you would think something is funny if they relayed back to you - they are just things that happen and things that either make you smile, laugh or cry.  There's something enigmatic about knowing things about each other but you can't explain it.  I know some people would need to have the answers and need to be able to understand why things are.  Do you need to know what's cooking?  Are you the one doing the looking?  Do you look that way but they are oblivious?  Whatever the case may be, just enjoy life, connect as often as possible with whoever as much as possible as we all eventually come to realise that, despite your protestations, I know you know.

I know that you know
You already know. . .