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Day 358: Sly & The Family Stone – Greatest Hits

21 Feb

Hot Fun in the Summertime

“Before you bitch, it included three new songs–three of the best–that weren’t on any other album, so sack up.”  My father, ladies and gentlemen, preemptively halting the complaints that would otherwise have come from me upon being assigned a compilation record for Dad Rock Tuesday.  Always a charmer.  While I have heard quite a few Sly & The Family Stone songs before, “Hot Fun in the Summertime”, “Everybody Is a Star”, and “Thank You,” the three that my old man refers to, were new to me.  While quite a few, if not most, of the tracks on this record have been engraved into the collective consciousness of music enthusiasts, I must admit that it was cool to get to hear them all together, not serving as the background music in some uplifting montage or tacky commercial.

If funk were still prominent, I’m confident that it would be subjected to all of the identifiers that currently plague most genres.  For example, it’s ignorant to describe music as just “rock” today.  There needs to be something in front of or behind it, whether it’s “indie”, “post”, “punk”, “pop”, “chamber”, “hard”, or one of a million other options.  Perhaps, with funk, these identifiers have died out by now, leaving all music in the genre to fall under the big umbrella identifier.  But, if all of those Parliament and Funkadelic records that have been forced upon me over the years are funk, then it’s not fair for Sly’s music to have the same label.  Today, this stuff would probably be called pop funk, or funk rock.  There’s only one track over 5 minutes in length, every single song features vocals at the center, and there are no obnoxiously long instrumental sections.

Now that I think about it, though, there’s no reason for solo-filled space-fillers on a greatest hits album . . . maybe compilation records aren’t all that bad.