Sunday, June 17, 2007

Song of the Week: "Cha Cha Cha"

Download: The Little Ones - "Cha Cha Cha"

It seems as if I've been choosing too many downer songs. One after another the Songs of the Week have been about unrequited love, death, addiction, with only a couple of chipper songs tossed in for variety. This week my mission was to find an upbeat, happy song from my collection. I didn't think it would be a tough thing to do, but I couldn't settle on one for a few days. The Cold War Kids/Little Ones show on Tuesday changed all that.

Listening to the Little Ones perform their magic, I just about slapped myself on the forehead and said, "Duh." It was obvious. In their brief life, the Little Ones have become leading purveyors of shiny, happy music, songs that make you shake your booty. As with most of their songs, the biggest of many selling points is Greg Meyer's enthusiastic drumming. It's even more impressive in a live context as you see him clobber the drum set, but even in their sole recording thus far, Sing Song EP, the vibrant intensity of Meyer's drumming carries the songs--including "Cha Cha Cha"--along.

Which is not to say that the rest of the band are just in it for the ride. The drumming is one thing, but without the Reyes--Ed and Brian--brothers' infectious vocals and rapport, Ian Moreno's excellent guitar work and multi-instrumental support, and Lee LaDouceur's youthful exuberance, the Little Ones' magic would be incomplete. As stated in their website, the band follows what they call Uncle Lee's Rule of Feet, which "stated that a song was deemed appropriate if, and only if; each of the Little Ones’ feet could shuffle. Once they adopted this new rule they began to realize what they had right in front of them." They've succeeded well under this rule thus far, but I wonder how long they can stand by it and how far they can stretch it?

As for "Cha Cha Cha," I have no idea what the song is about. I imagine it's about a bright, shiny day, with its bouncy calypso feel and delirious "la la la's". The song also demonstrates the Little Ones' unique ability to write a pop song that lasts well over four minutes without it ever wearing out its welcome. The songs are sophisticated in the sense that they don't rely on one hook of a melody. The songs turn and evolve so that they are never predictable; the beginning is never like the end. With a song like "Cha Cha Cha," for example, most bands would have coasted on the feel-good vibes of the beginning and taken it all the way to the end. The Little Ones, though, ride it for a bit but then sends the song soaring near the end with the aforementioned "la la la's" and turns into an anthem for the "waking people."

Wow, I really thought this would be a brief post. It turned out to be the longest one I've written yet for a Song of the Week, and I still dont' think I've done the song justice.

Just listen to it.

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