Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Are U That Somebody?

Song: Are U That Somebody?
Artist: The Gossip
Album: GSSP - RMX

Here is something that I recently purchased, have been enjoying, and need to get the word out there! Two weekends ago I saw the Scissor Sisters perform at the Madison Square Garden Theater, another great show, aside form the first opening band (didn’t get their name and they are not even worth researching.) The Sisters awesome tour DJ, DJ Sammy Jo got the crowd really pumped for the headlining act as he always does, and often will introduce me to remixes that I was unaware of. That night was no different as he played a killer funky remix of the Gossip’s “Listen Up!” It turns out that the group recently released an EP entitled “GSSP – RMX” and included three mixes of “Listen Up!,” one of “Standing in the Way of Control” by Le Tigre and a cooler than shit cover of Aaliyah’s R & B hit “Are U That Somebody.”

Aaliyah was one of the most promising young talent to come out of the R & B scene in the early 90’s. At the tender age of fifteen her debut record “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number” was an out of the gate hit. She had a controversial secret marriage to R.Kelly who was ten years her senior and now officially the weirdest sleezo to still have a career (Well, maybe MJ still has that.) Her sophomore record also garnered many hits but it wasn’t until “Are U That Somebody” produced by a then relatively unknown Timbaland and Missy Elliot, from the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack that she cemented her reputation as one of the most talented and forward-thinking artists in R & B and pop Hip-hop. This continued with “Try Again” from the film “Romeo Must Die” which she starred in. She briefly turned her attentions to acting, starring in “Queen of The Damned” and landed a juicy role in the hotly anticipated two Matrix Sequels. She recorded her third and most accomplished self titled album, released in 2002. Unfortunately her career was cut short when she passed away in a plane crash just after completing the shoot for her second video from the album, crushing the Hip Hop and R & B community.

Here is Aaliyah's original video for "Are U That Somebody?"

What I love about The Gossip’s take on the song is that they don’t patronize it and perform it ironically. Aaliyah not only had the best beats of the time but was also lyrically ahead of what else was out there. “Are U That Somebody” tells the story of a woman with a secret, and a private fling that she is keeping from “everybody.” She needs to tell the boy that she is pregnant, but this is more about her and if he is the one meant for her. Really amazing stuff. I love the sexy slow-dance-punk vibe that The Gossip use for their cover, and Beth Ditto has a voice that really deserves more recognition.

The Gossip have been moving into a more dance-rock direction over their career and with the “GSSP-RMX-EP” I think it really proves that this is their true fit. I’ve been enjoying Le Tigre’s take on “Standing in the Way of Control” since the middle of last year and these “Listen Up!” mixes are just absolutely killer, with MSTRKRFT’s (the one Sammy Jo played) being the hands down favorite. Seek these out! (Available on iTunes as well as a CD single on Amazon.)

I also just need to mention the second opening act the Scissor Sisters had before Sammy Jo’s set. After the awful first band a couple stage hands brought out three microphones and placed them equidistant in the center of the stage. Then, three wooden poles with wigs on top positioned right in front of them. Suddenly, voices came from nowhere explaining “Hi, we’re Wigs on Sticks and we’re so excited to be opening for the Scissor Sisters, Yay!” Then lights started going and a recognizable (though a bit obscure) girl group track from the sixties began to play. The lights created the illusion that they were performing. Here is a crappy looking video someone shot of them, you’ll get the idea:

Well it turns out that Wigs on Sticks is the creation of Sister’s lead Jake Shears who even created t-shirts for them for sale at the show. (I didn’t see them, or buy one.) And now it turns out they’ve landed on MySpace! Hysterical.

So, big ups to The Gossip, the Scissor Sisters, and the dearly departed Aaliyah. We miss you!


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