If popstars were… runaways

Salsoul Orchestra & Loleatta Holloway – Runaway

Where are we? There’s a funky bass, some parping brass, swooning strings, bongos, and the vibes solo by which all other vibes solos must be judged. We have arrived in the golden age of disco.

What are we running away from? You better not hesitate! Loleatta warns us to get running because she’s going to mess around (that’s the way she wants to be), she doesn’t want our love (it’d just slow her down), and she can always find another clown if she changes her mind. What a cow.

Where shall we run to? To be honest, after hearing that big gospel & honey voice we’re going to be running straight back into her arms to be mistreated. :(

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

Where are we? A classic wandering bassline pumping up and down the octaves, the best keyboards that the early 80s had to offer, and Jimmy Somerville’s unearthly wailing over the top of it all – it is the golden age of synthpop.

What are we running away from? Disowned… disowned… You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case. We are fleeing small towns full of small minds and their prejudices, especially — according to the video — swimming pool-related homophobia.

Where shall we run to? We will be running to a bedsit in London and hanging around in Soho, on this occasion.

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

Where are we? We are anywhere in the world, but definitely in the golden age of earnest, angsty rock.

What are we running away from? How on earth did I get so jaded? Life’s mystery seems so faded. The lyrics are as vague as anything, but I guess the band would say ‘universal’. For the video showed a montage of actual missing person appeals, and was released in a variety of locally-relevant versions around the world.

Where shall we run to? Well some of the real life runaways came home after seeing the video. It didn’t always work out for the best and there are some awful horror stories, but there you go. It’s only music.

Devlin (featuring Yasmin) – Runaway

Where are we? We are in the golden age of have-a-go rap. I’m not a big fan of Devlin’s, but there are some nice timpani rolls in this one and getting Yasmin on the track immediately adds a certain class.

What are we running away from? Pain on all the faces of multi-cultural races! According to the lyrics, Devlin’s got a theory that urban violence will end if he leaves the slum behind, and Yasmin’s a bit bored with her job. So it’s a fair swap.

Where shall we run to? There’s talk of of being free and just being yourself, of a path of rediscovery, of the fruits from the lost garden of Eden. They also mention a train from Victoria and the English Channel so I guess it’s a ferry to Calais then.

Kanye West – Runaway

"Your girlfriend is really beautiful." "Ha, thank you." "Do you know she's a bird?" "No I never noticed that."

Where are we? We’re in the depths (or the heart) of Kanye’s twisted fantasy now. The plinky-plonk piano of doom, those gorgeous big rich synthesiser lines, jagged pain coming out as a robot voice, all that territory. And in the video we’re at a surrealist feast with ballerinas, where there’s a terrible misunderstanding involving Kanye’s avian new girlfriend and a roast turkey on the dinner table.

What are we running from? FROM KANYE HIMSELF. Because lyrically we’re back where we started with Loleatta; we should save ourselves because the singer’s full of shit and scared of intimacy. But while Loleatta had an imperious surety about her, Kanye’s just in the mood to squat in his own self-pity and toast his own douchery.

Where shall we run to? As Kanye keeps finding out on his recent albums, there’s nowhere to go when it’s yourself that you’re trying to outrun. We can only run, as always, to music.

This post was never meant to be a tribute to anyone. But Loleatta Holloway died, in-between my writing the text on Monday and sorting out the pictures on Tuesday. So GOODBYE NICE VOICE LADY, I’m sorry I called you a cow, and you’d better have the last word:

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One response to “If popstars were… runaways

  1. To be fair, Loleatta sung those words in 1976, when to be single and dating was akin to being a dog in heat running around a park all night. It was the perfect song to dance to in the disco with that special person you’d spend the night (and a bag of coke) with, without bothering to exchange names.

    Hilarious entry, by the way.

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