Monday, December 22, 2008

You like soca??? Part 2

So I got a chance to wheel and come again and now I'm on to the second part of this topic. Some stuff happened between then, yuh know: Patrick Manning recovered thanks to Cuba, a man made a very informative and intelligent comment on the first part of this series basically knocking the foundations of soca and Iwer George released some more music that makes defending soca harder than defending innocent people from crime in Trinidad. Sigh. Still, it has been a good two weeks.

Now is two things I want to say: firstly, I believe soca is our culture and secondly I don't think everybody has to like soca music. Most people try to leverage the fact that the radio stations blast hip hop, dub, reggae and rock year round and only dedicate three or four months to soca in an effort to disprove its importance to the culture and heritage of Trinidad and Tobago but nah...dats irrelevant. Soca has an indelible effect on all products of these shores which is proven by the great love or contempt Trinbagonians have for it and strangely the effect is never nonchalance. Whether dominant or recessive it's there; like genes.

And similar to hip hop... in the golden age, soca has a culture around it. If you didn't get break dancing, graffiti, reebok classics, Adidas sneaks without the laces, kangol hats or at one point, big gold chains, chances are you would not have gotten hip hop in the eighties as this was before it became mainstream. How then do you expect to get soca if you don't/can't wine, don't know how to wave a rag, never been to a fete, never 'chipped' behind a truck, never walk down de road carnival Tuesday following a Carnival band or never play mas? At the end of the day, this is a music that has its roots in an annual event otherwise known as Carnival. Basically, if you don't get Carnival, you don't get soca.

That aside, I do acknowledge that this insularity of soca is more of a curse than a blessing. The side-blinded focus on the Carnival event in song topics is expected but is a short-coming and a mold that needs to be broken. In recognition of this, I want to highlight some of the soca songs that I think have broken this mold and are songs that I believe can successfully exist outside the context of Carnival. Who knows, this list may be more convincing than anything I have said before despite the fact that changing people's minds is not the purpose of this article.

1) Carnival Darling by 3 Suns - Non-preachy social commentary in soca. A classic.

2) Bonnie and Clyde by Destra - Uses the metaphor of a rag being a sidekick. Vocals and concept hit the target.

3) Amnesty by Machel and Benjai - Mr Conscious Soca and Mr Machel team up against violence.

4) Wishful Encounter by Bunji Garlin - Mr Alvarez gets introspective...we need to hear him in that mood again.

5) Wrong Timing by Blazer Dan - Blazer elevates the sub-genre of situational soca songs.

6) Love Generation by Maximus - Maximus explodes on a big chorus.

7) Luv u tonite by Machel and Maximus (back when he was know as 'Magga Dan') - Machel and Maximus team up to further blur the lines between soca and dub.

8) Spanish Fly by Ataklan - Men might argue that this is rapso but the beat is soca and the song is classic back and forth seduction.

9) This Feeling by Kees the band - This is recent but will be revolutionary.

10) Like 2 Wine by Multi-Symptom - Extraordinary vocals elevate this song to one of the most unfairly overlooked soca releases of all time.

Nice, so I want all you soca haters to ponder on this list. Listen to this list of songs and let me know if you still feel the way you do. And to all the soca lovers - don't forget to comment and let me know what should and should not have been there. Face out.

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