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Ata Kak Yemmpa Aba from Obaa Sima (Awesome Tapes from Africa) Add to Collection
by Eddie Sayago
As we are halfway through April (I know, it doesn’t feel like it.), I noticed how many songs there are about the month (or the woman named after the month). Here are 6 songs about the month that some enjoy while other wish it could end so summer will arrive. (There's no rush, it's not like you have places to go right now.)
April is a weird month in Chicago. It’s technically spring and yet snow always falls at some point. (There was a snowstorm just two days after we had a sunny day with a high of 80 degrees last week.) But at some point, we always miss that special someone. “Are you out there somewhere?/What are you up to?” It should be weird to still pine for and miss someone who is no longer a part of your life, and that it’s alright to feel this way. Beach Bunny lets you know that it’s alright to feel whatever you’re feeling right now. It’s a weird time for all of us.
All trips have been cancelled due to the current crisis, and chances are you know someone who was planning to go to Paris at some point. (If this person is you, my sincerest condolences.) I’d like to think that if they were alive today, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong would be providing us with a duet to live-stream on a regular basis, perhaps gracing us with this beautiful song. Both of them collaborated on three albums released during the 1950s, including the motion picture soundtrack for Porgy & Bess (1959).
One day, I will make my way to Paris during April. Take a stroll on the Champs-Élysées. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Visit shops and museums. Grab some bagettes from a bakery and eat them while walking. Sit at a cafe for some wine and a sandwich (I’ve been told by some that the best sandwiches ever are there.) Perhaps see a jazz or blues concert at a cafe late at night. Drink more wine and eat more bread before I go to bed.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of April: the precipitation. April showers bring May showers, though in Chicago sometimes those showers turn into snow, and then we all collectively curse at the sky as we bust out the shovels we thought we were done with. “April Showers” is a track from a French producer who goes by ProleteR.
Though technically a cover of the Al Jolson song that was performed on Broadway in the 1920s, ProleteR makes it his own thanks to his beats and mixing on this 2011 release that has been streamed over 30 million times on various platforms.
While the song title is “April 29, 1992 (Miami)”, the date mentioned in the first verse is April 26. It’s said that it was a mistake, yet the take was good enough for Sublime to accept it. Why this date and year? It has been said by some that this song is about the day that singer Bradley Newell and the rest of the band went out to do some of the things they mention in the song, breaking into stores and grabbing whatever they wanted, causing anarchy. (“First spot we hit was my liquor store/I finally got all that alcohol I can't afford”)
April 29, 1992 was the day that a jury acquitted four L.A. white police officers of the beating and arrested of a black man named Rodney King, despite widely-spread video of the beating that outraged many around the world. Thousands rioted in the L.A. area for the next week, and some people committed acts of arson, robbery, and murder during this period.
By the end of the riots, 63 people were killed, 12,000 people were arrested, and over a billion dollars of property was damaged, nearly half of that were businesses and property owned and operated by Korean-Americans. This event caused many of them to become more politically active in L.A. Just a week after the riots, about 30,000 participated in a march denouncing police violence.
The first single off their second album, Darklands, The Jesus and Mary Chain, I’m trying to figure out why this song hasn’t appeared in a movie where the guy is trying to get the girl (or guy) back, knowing that he screwed up and he definitely needs to be a better human being. Picture it: He has his epiphany while on a lousy date with someone at a park. He’s running across a park as it starts to rain.
By the time he leaves the park, it’s pouring, there’s thunder and lightning and strong winds, but he’s still running down the street, bumping into people trying to get inside and dodging traffic. Maybe he gets hit by a cab. He rolls over and continues to run. He reaches his loved one’s place, runs up the stairs (in the movie, they live in a brownstone), and pounds on the door.
The person walks out, he delivers his speech about how much he’s sorry about messing everything up and wants another chance, promising he’ll strive to be a better person now that they are around. Will they give him another chance? Will they slam the door on this face, knowing or hoping that there is something better out there in this terrifying world?
While some may think of the pool scene in The Graduate when this song comes to mind, my favorite pop culture moment for this song and sweet song belongs to Parks and Recreation (the greatest comedy of the 21st century and I will fight whoever disagrees once it’s acceptable to take this out in the parking lot.) In the Season 3 episode where Andy and April have a surprise wedding during a dinner party they host for their friends.
“I vow to protect you from danger, and I don’t care if I have to fight an ultimate fighter, or a bear, or him, your mother, I would take them down,” said Andy in his wedding vows. May we all be lucky enough to end up with someone who will fight a bear (or a mom) to be with you always.
Continue to stay safe and at home, wash your hands, and listen to whatever music you enjoy (and us at CHIRP Radio! Request a song from your DJ!) We will get through this, perhaps as better folks, at least I hope. -ES
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