I have to talk about ‘Fancy.’ I know I am L8, but I can’t stop thinking about it, mainly because every time my morning alarm goes off, the various ‘rhythmic’ NYC stations to which I’ve programmed the clock radio — mostly hot-9 – play Drake and/or this song. Even now that Lil Wayne is out and making music! DUDES, DIVERSIFY YR PORTFOLIO ALREADY. But having heard ‘Fancy’ 8 million times, both by choice and by force, in work and in leisure, in lucidity and in alertness, today on the train, I thought about the chorus and got a little emotional.
The atonality of ‘Fancy’s MJB and Swizz Beatz chorus, particularly on the sub-chorus [nails done/hair done/everything did] is a melon-carver to the guts. MJB has never been close to a pitch-perfect singer, but the sound of her reaching to harmonize with Swizz’s off-key monotone [dude’s got the all suaveness of a golfing loafer] attains some point of jagged perfection. It’s a jenga tower a piece away from toppling.
Swizz loves atonality. At first it seemed like pitch probs, but witness his vigilant blase-ness when rap-talking over his own beats, compounded by the fact that those beats, when perfectly Swizz, roil in their own cacophony. You’d think he was tone-deaf if you didn’t also think of ‘Roman’s Revenge,’ of ‘Ring the Alarm,’ even ‘Diamonds on My Neck.’ He likes parts to rattle and for the passengers to feel slightly uncomfortable. Imagine a sound installation of those three songs playing at once? Dude, imagine ‘Roman’s Revenge,’ the beat, as a sound installation in and of itself. [Well, maybe the beat and the chorus.]
Swizz elevates ‘Fancy’ with his inherent minor-keyness, broadening it to populace-size, reminding every woman that she can be fancy however she pleases. The uncomfortable celebration of luxury in third-step chords — the cosign of the tried, true tenets of vintage MJB-style upkeep and attitude. Before the Gucci, the Prada, the Margiela… there was the manicurist. Imperfection is the point, because most of us are not in the perfect percentile. All the subtext lies with MJB and Swizz, heavy on the clash. And even though I can never imagine gorgeous MJB without a floor-length white mink, glowing in a halo of highlighter and greatness, she really is forever just the girl with the doorknockers. In that mismatched harmony is an appreciation of ‘the regular’ that feels big even in Drake’s gentle repertoire.
ALSO, CAN I POINT OUT THAT SWIZZ IS SHOUTING OUT NARS???? Orgasm is a great shade of coral-pink that looks good on everyone. Mashonda/Alicia trained him well.
[cross-postered at ze tumblr, where i’m trying to only do short shifts and keep the longies here, but i became verbose.]