Friday, 7 May 2010

2004 Eric Prydz: Call On Me

Well I can start by saying that here's not a lot to 'Call On Me'; the all encompassing hook from Steve Winwood's 'Valerie' set to a pneumatic French house bass beat just about sums it up. Add a provocative video featuring close-ups of equally pneumatic women perform (equally pneumatic) aerobics in tight leotards (giving it the feel of a Spacedust or a DJ Casper) and the whole becomes a concoction in microcosm of everything in popular music that's left a bad taste in my mouth over the past fifteen years. So I should hate it, right? Well not quite; in the same way it's possible to drink yourself back sober, the concentrate of so many 'wrongs' in so small a space somehow conspire in a chemical reaction to create something that I actually find a lot of fun.

Mr Winwood himself must have thought so too - the repeated "Call on me/I'm the same boy I used to be" vocal lines aren't samples or Steve soundalikes but a fresh lyric recorded by Winwood that fit the tune better than a sample from 'Valerie' would, and in so doing it gives a neat twist to the overfamiliar. Even that video too has an inbuilt sly subversion; the women drip in sweat, estrogen and the aura of Amazonian power to the extent that the lone skinny male working out with them looks hopelessly outgunned and I'd suggest he only remains on his feet for as long as those women tolerate his presence. That's not to argue that 'Call On Me' is some genre twisting, KLF type prank - I think that would be crediting it with rather too much intelligence. No, 'Call On Me' and its channel phasing, twisting vocoders and relentless bass thump is generic to a fault and knows it; Prydz doesn't pretend he's offering any new take on the genre and within that (House) genre 'Call On Me' has the feel of a Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II - that is, a knockabout 'sequel' that needs both a love/knowledge of what came before - along with a suspension of pretension - to enjoy it to the max.

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