Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From Quentin Tarantino to Jayne Mansfield in Three Songs

You probably remember the’s from the finale of Kill Bill: Vol. One. They’re the all-girl rockers covering “Woo Hoo” and “I’m Blue” onstage before everyone starts losing limbs. You may also know them as the band that all those Vonage ads made you start hating, but they seem to have stopped, and thank god for that.

But they have this other, better song called “I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield.” It’s an original, and even if I shuffled “Woo Hoo” off my iTunes — again, because Vonage — this one remained.

Just recently, I found what, precisely, the’s were playing off with that track: Mansfield’s side career as a singer and, in particular, the 1965 track “Suey.”

She’s not singing, exactly. She’s sing-talking. If you wanted to get weird about it, you could say that what she’s doing is kinda-sorta a progenitor to rap. Though she certainly wasn’t the only one to do it, she is sing-talking over a beat, and what else is rap, really?

By the way, that’s Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar.

If you’d like to hear Mansfield’s actual singing voice, she had a B-side that same year, “As the Clouds Drift By,” which also features guitar work by Hendrix.

For a song that should be melancholy, it sounds ridiculously saccharine to the point that it’s trying to cover up for something dark. But then you realize you’re watching a slideshow of Mansfield’s heyday while listening to lyrics like “How you left me alone” and “Why’d you drift away?” and “I wonder where you are,” and it gets dark.

Also, after having heard the’s version of “Woo Hoo” a million times, it’s strange to hear the original. Ladies and gentlemen, The Rock-a-Teens!

Side note: If Casey Wilson wasn’t born to play Jayne Mansfield in a biopic, I don't know what to believe anymore.

Musical connections I should have made earlier, previously:

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