Monday, December 26, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Thirty Three: Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper

Yes, that song...

There's a reason why this song has endured for so long. I've talked in the past about certain songs that have been so imprinted by their originators, and this is one of them. The way the man originally known as J.P. Richardson keeps sliding between spoken word, conventional singing, and idiosyncratic shouts and noises is very unique in and of itself. Sure, you could argue that all The Bopper was doing was borrowing from then-peers such as Little Richard, but I think what makes this song endure is the simple exuberance in his voice. Listening to it now, I get the impression that this is a guy who was loved being up on stage acting like a goofball--he was apparently a ham in all the best possible ways, someone who gave it his all whether on a record or live.

And the other great thing about this pop song--unlike the so-called pop that we endure on stations such as 'the Now' or Z100, which just goes on and on, twisting itself into all sorts of permutations in an effort to convince you that the thin musical concept it's presenting is worth four or five minutes of your time, this song is done after two minutes. And that's all it deserves; at its core, this is a song about a girl the Bopper is going out with tonight that, you know, he thinks is swell. It's a very basic concept to grab, and the Bopper presents it, let it wiggle a bit for our enjoyment, and ushers it off stage. That's all pop music needs to be. It's the reason I believe, as many pop music aficionados do, that the ideal length for any pop song should be three minutes. I shudder to think what Richardson would have produced in this landscape of autotune and over-the-top epicness; it would most likely be so bloated that I wouldn't be able to stand it.

As it is, this is a little bite size nuggest of pop rock, and that's all it needs to be.

Here's the video!

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