It’s Beginning to Feel Like . . .
Prolegomena Beginnings and introductions are occasions for
sonic events orapparitions—and song intros are no exception:
the soft, mid-tempo, yet insistent drum-machine rumblings
and water tap sounds of Mtume’s ‘‘Juicy Fruit’’ that prolong the wait for
the grand entrance of the bass, especially in the extended twelve-inch ver-
sion; the lengthy cinematic string section of Phantom/Ghost’s ‘‘Perfect
Lovers (Unperfect Love Mix)’’; the looped invocations of ‘‘love ya babe’’
in conjunction with the crisp, syncopated snare drums and sampled bird
sounds that introduce Aaliyah’s ‘‘One in a Million.’’ I could continue this
list indefinitely, but I trust that you get the picture, or the sound as it
were, of the allurements that lurk in the crevices of sonic beginnings,
those sonorous marks that launch new worlds, holding out pleasures to
come while also tendering futurity as such in their grooves. My all-time
favorite in this category is Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ ‘‘Wake
Up Everybody,’’ which gently burrows into the tympanum with its harp
swooshes, a tambourine, and two different piano motifs, to then guide us
into the pièce de resistance: a very subtle bass solo that never reappears
in the duration of this 7:33-minute masterpiece. These fifteen seconds
invite repetition by virtue of denying the listener recurrence and as a re-
sult haunt and shadow the remainder of the track, compelling him/her
to return the needle to the first grooves of the record, rewind the tape,
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