Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Love me or Leave me

The other day, someone asked me what my favorite song was. Not a top 5, not a favorite old school jam, not a favorite remix, but what was the ONE song that I liked more than any other. Gahhh. I couldn’t even come close to an answer. All these artists’ names started swimming through my head; William Bell, Aceyalone, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Nas, Radiohead, ughhhh. And although I couldn’t come up with a song, one artist’s name kept coming up in my head: Nina Simone. “I Loves You Porgy,” “I Put a Spell on You,” “Baltimore,” “Sinnerman,” “The Other Woman,” “Love me or Leave Me.” All amazing songs.

Had Nina only recorded a few great songs, she would still be a standout, but the breadth and depth of her catalog is unsurpassed. In my mind, only James Brown comes close, but somehow Nina has a slight edge. Not because the Godfather of Soul isn’t a truly great artist, but I just don’t feel his music as much as I do Nina Simone’s. And that’s what it really comes down to for me. Nina’s voice is steeped in intensity. Every note simmers with emotion and tension. Whether pain, anger, longing, or love, you can’t help but feel her music and become absorbed and lost in her voice. Not only that, but she’s a virtuoso on the piano (check out her Bach interpolation on “Love me or Leave me.”)

[MP3] Nina Simone :: Love me or Leave Me
[MP3] Nina Simone :: Don’t Let me be Misunderstood
[MP3] Nina Simone :: Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair

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