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Wednesday 12 January 2022

I've Been Playing Concerts In The Mud

I've posted this song before but it always cheers me to hear it when it returns into my musical orbit. Back in the early/ mid 2010s Converse had a marketing project called 3 Artists 1 Song where they, yep, got three artists to collaborate on one song and hoped everyone would buy a new pair of pumps after hearing the results. Often product tie in makes me run a mile but I appreciate I'm of a generation where this type of thing is seen differently and that music- product synergy is broadly acceptable now. Also Converse can't be too near the top of the list of evil mega- corporations, we've all pairs of Converse haven't we? (I'm now worried that if I run a search for Converse I'l find all sorts of unpleasant things I didn't want to know involving child labour, shady union practices and Nazi gold). In 2014 Frank Ocean, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, and producer Diplo came up with a song called Hero. It looks like they were grouping the two former members of The Clash together as one artist. In 2014 Mick and Paul were coming off the back of touring together as Gorillaz. Frank Ocean was hot news but has been very quiet for the last few years. Diplo I don't know much about other than his work with M.I.A. (and depressingly having just done a Google search I've read that allegations were made against him in 2020 from three women including singer/ rapper Azealia Banks regarding sexual behaviour and revenge porn). 

Hero is a blast, a splicing of old and new sonically with guitars and beats and a stuttering effect. Frank's voice is both honeyed and raw as he sings of being young and black in the USA in the 21st century- 'I'm a bad boy/ I'm a punk/ I'm a black man/ I can dunk...' Mick and Paul''s bass and guitars swim around, clanging heroically through the chorus. Then the West Los Angeles Children's' Choir come in and the second half goes all California sunshine and 70s TV. Lovely stuff. All over in under three minutes and it could easily be longer without losing anything. 



keepingitpeel said...

Well then! What a song. Hadn't heard until now.

Nick L said...

That is brilliant. Something of the "Sandinista" about it too...

Khayem said...

This song (and the Converse project as a whole) completely passed me by. I love it, especially the wonderful Jones/Simonon interplay.

And yep, I've had a pair of Converse high tops since my late teens. My current colour is the rather pretentiously named "Deep Bordeaux", dark red to me.