Thursday, February 14, 2008


Listen to LOVE'S HAPPENING by The Impressions.

Happy Valentine's Day! When I went to write this post, I found that I've done something (slightly) ironical. On a day where you should feel 100% about your valentine, I feel less than 100% about the music. Even though we haven't ever posted on The Impressions, or Curtis Mayfield (and I was embarassed about that), I have really mixed feelings about Love's Happening.

This is one of my favorite Impressions songs, but it's funny, sometimes I think it's a failed experiment! When you listen to this, do you feel like maybe Curtis wasn't completely satisfied with how it turned out? That's how I feel about it. It's a tough arrangement, in that it starts slow, then goes into that double time feel (and the tempo increases, too, by the end), and so it flirts with feeling disjointed. Sometimes I think it works brilliantly, sometimes I'm not so sure. The same with the harpsichord: I like it on Curtis's songs because it's a signature style of his, but I'm not convinced it works in this song.

I also know that Curtis also did the song with the Five Stairsteps, and that's why I think he was unsure how best to tackle it.

I really love the Impressions on this song though. On Love's Happening, they're more ornament than feature, but they're so pretty on the first section where they just do simple echoes of Curtis. Just listening to them is the best part of this tune.

Anyway, no more waffling, everybody go out and give your all to your valentine!

Photo: Life in Istanbul (4).



Corbett said...

I've always felt this one was a little forced...Like Curtis was trying to go psychedelic but didn't quite know how yet. He also does some counter-culture namechecking that seems a little forced.

Well, he soon figured out a way to brilliantly do psychedelia in his own style (see "If There's Hell Below").

Bill said...

yeah, hence my mildly psychedelic picture today!