“Day Dreaming” by Aretha Franklin (1971)

“Day Dreaming” finds Aretha taking it down a notch, toning down the trademark intensity of her initial run of Atlantic classics in favor of a smooth groove. She’s ably assisted by a crack band, including newcomer Donny Hathaway accompanying her on electric piano. Aretha herself provides the song with the tasty and memorable opening acoustic piano lick.

Allegedly (Wikipedia and David Ritz’ definitive biography both say so), “Day Dreaming” was written about occasional Aretha paramour Dennis Edwards, one of many Temptations lead singers and future maker of one of the most ridiculous music videos of all time.

More on Dennis in just a few entries.

Anyway, “Day Dreaming” perfectly captures the feeling of being lost in a reverie, consumed with good feeling about spending time with someone you care about. It’s not desperate, not lonely, but confident and comfortable. The more I read about Aretha, the more I realize that those moments were few and far between.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“Date Rape” by Sublime (1992): The lyrics of “Date Rape” in a nutshell: guy meets girl, guy sexually assaults girl, girl clocks guy in the head with a rock, girl presses charges, guy goes to jail for 25 years, guy gets sodomized in prison by another inmate. Moral of the story, courtesy of Sublime lead singer Brad Nowell: “it does not pay to be drunk and horny”. A simple message, delivered simply and danceable-y. Granted, the thought of getting sexually assaulted yourself shouldn’t be the only deterrent to going out and taking advantage of someone physically, but I’d have to imagine-especially given Sublime’s original college-age fan base-that these lyrics made at least a few dudes check themselves before they wrecked themselves (and, of course, others).

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