Wednesday, February 24, 2010

# 17 Little People

You know it’s funny how wham-bam-thankyou-mam this whole album is. If you wanted to unjustly describe it you could just say it’s a lot of crashing and yelling and then it’s over before you really know what has happened. That seems like an unfair and negative assessment but I find it part of the appeal. It’s loud, quick and unpretentious, yet the adrenaline rush it provides justifies it as a classic. So when I come to these two ‘filler’ tracks it’s a good time to talk about the albums strength as a whole. Because as the old saying goes, an album is only as strong as it’s filler.

If Little People or Sicker Drips are your favourite songs then don’t get too upset I don’t use filler as a criticism, in fact Take Take Take is a perfect example of ‘filler’ yet it is probably my favourite song of that album. To me filler songs are the ones that have no ambitions to dominate the track-listing, to simply fit nicely into the context of the album, not jumping out at you. This is why so-called filler is such a good measure of an album because they feel like a product of the album instead of a building block. If you feel these songs aren’t filler, fair enough but neither of them are performed live with any regularity and are rarely discussed amongst fans.

So putting aside how modest the intentions of this song are, I genuinely love Little People. It’s positively bizarre with spooky gothic verses that are almost monotonous in nature, interrupted only by big and very unsubtle bursts of noise. And what the hell is with that theremin/slide guitar in the background? It’s just a very unconventional song, one that would have thoroughly scared off any major labels and enticed any indie music geeks for it’s novelty moments.

Lyrically it’s equally unorthodox. I’m not going to attempt to analyze these words because they are about as non-sequiter as you can be but there is a much more interesting discussion this song brings up. All White Stripes nerds will know that every album by the two has a song with little in it’s title. Uncovering some psychological reasoning behind this is far from hard. The minimalistic style that goes a long with everything the band does is also complemented by the DIY, community-based nature of Jack’s business mind. So as far as the little theme (along with home) it’s easy to see Jack has a love for the smaller things in life, not to mention a disdain for large conglomerate-centric thinking, from the Big Three to the death of the independent record store. Another little side note is that as well as introducing the little motif this song also features a mention of red shoes and Jack’s only song writing contribution to Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose was a composition called Little Red Shoes. Interesting, huh?

Wrapping up, what can one say about this song? The answer: not much. If this entry has seemed half-assed I apologize but I think this song is probably not designed to be dissected gratuitously. It’s the kind of song that makes my blog hard and my life fun. My suggestion is you go put on Little People, don’t think about anything and just enjoy yourself because, as little thought as it, I sure did.

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