Sunday, November 13, 2005

My favorite song for the past several hours

I have a tendency to get fixated on certain songs. When a song gets under my skin, I'll listen to it on repeat anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. That time can be spent jubilantly dancing to "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior or wallowing in depression to The Smiths' "Oscillate Wildly" (that's the two hour one).

Tonight I became entranced again by a song I've loved for years, White Town's "Your Woman". It's the very definition of a one-hit wonder. A fantastically catchy pop song come out of nowhere, zooms up the charts, and then vanishes. Nothing I've else I've heard from Jyoti Mishra (the sole member) comes even close to matching the sheer brilliance of this track.

After listening to it some 30-odd times and riding the gush of endorphins that flowed from my head to suffuse my whole body, it's forever more going to be lodged in my personal top 25 songs of all time. Rationally, I know it objectively can't be that good of a song, but why would I care about objectivity right now? There's a really, really good song playing.

Recorded on an 8-track at home, it's a marvel of ingenious production. The elements make me shiver: a '30s-era horn sample, the stutter-roll synth bass, the Buggles-esque vocals, the Casio-beat breakdown, the relentless handclaps. And then there's the great you-done-me-wrong lyrics with the clever twist of a man singing a "woman's song". Sure Stephin Merritt does that too and is an admitted and obvious influence on Mishra, but Merritt himself cited this song as the best of 1997 in his list of the best recording of each of the past 100 years.

Does anyone understand when I say this song gives my auditory cortex an orgasm?

Listen again: White Town - Your Woman

Here's the lowdown on the horn sample, the meaning of the lyrics, and other explanations straight from Mishra.


  1. I absolutely know what you mean. It's a good song, but probably one that I'd need to put on my ipod and have come up unexpectedly while I was walking somewhere for me to get truly addicted to it. I've been obsessing on "Never Goin' Back Again" by Fleetwood Mac and Paint it Black as covered by the Animals lately.

  2. Definitely a great song (and like Proust's madeleine can take me right back to my post-college bar crawl year). Be glad your song of entrancement is one of quality and not, say, a-ha's "Take on Me." Or the theme to Stargate. :goosebumps of no shame:

  3. I like "Take on Me", but mostly for the video and memories of playing my sister's LP on 78 rpm for the insanely high falsetto that resulted.

  4. i've held onto this album for years and eveyone asks me why and i say, "because that song is genius." i have to go have a listen now, if i can find the cd amid all the damn boxes. i'm sure i could get a lot of unpacking done to that song...