Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Heavy Rotation on iTunes

Strong Enough (Club 69 Future Anthem)

A few weeks ago, MTV Real World’s Karamo announced that he was a card-carrying member of the Silly Young Queens of America. In case you missed it, he dissed a love interest because of his choice in music. Dorian was too Banana Republic, not down enough for Karamo’s advanced sense of urban culture and aesthetics at the ripe old age of 24. He is looking for someone who he can bond with over Akademiks and Lugz, and debate the merits of The Firm versus Junior Mafia. Afetr announcing this, he put on his Timz and big t-shirt, and bounced off to the club with that hard core, ultra masculine buddy of his—Willie.

The great thing about labels is that anyone can apply one to themselves, or have one applied to them. Four or five years ago, I was hanging out with a group of similar brothas in NYC and DC, and we considered ourselves DL, and A List. Why? All of us were professionals and educated at good schools. We owned condos or brownstones, or were in the process of trying to buy one. All were gym rats, some more so than others. We obsessed about sets, reps and bodyfat percentages. Oh: and even though all of us had graduate degrees and were from bourgeois families, when online, we insisted on using ebonics, and acting like we were from the ‘hood. We thought we were keeping it real.

But apparently, I wasn’t. In late 1999, two brothas in this group—a Bethesda, Maryland raised lobbyist, and a suburban Dallas raised lawyer—told me that they had concerns about me. They noticed I was listening to lots of “white circuit boy” music, Cher in particular. This became a reason for them to ease me out of their clikque. Boo-hoo. (Anyway: I know for a fact that today, the lobbyist is sans boyfriend and has a waistline exceeding 38”. I’ll just leave it at that.)

I’ve always admired Cher. She’s a survivor. She was fierce in the 60s, stylin’ in the 70s, made a huge comeback in the 80s, and today is a living legend. I won’t even try to front like I’m some uber-DL brotha that hangs out on the corner, drinks gin and juice, and plays spades every weekend. That’s not me, yo. I do levels.

And just like I enjoy a good workout, eating BBQ and laughing at Steve Harvey or Cedric the Entertainer, I still read Martha Stewart Living and shop Pottery Barn and (gasp!) Banana Republic. So I suppose, there is that part of me that admires a diva who’s had a hard-knock life and has survived the odds. Go figure.

I go cuckoo for any Peter Rauhofer or Club 69 mix. The beginning of Strong Enough is true to form: repetitive treble, a strong bass line that is eased in, and a clever reverb on a hook. It’s the basic structure of any anthem. Here, the synthesizer is a little loud, almost kitschy, but it works.
What works even better are the lyrics: Cher sings about a man who has done her wrong. No ifs and or butts, she’s let it slide before, but he’s cheated for the last time. She talks about getting herself together, gathering self esteem, and moving on.Who can’t identify with that?

I think the song debuted around the time I discovered my then-boyfriend on the box-cover of several DVDs in the adult section of the neighborhood video store. But that’s a separate book story, right there. So, I think it’s more than obvious why I had instant identification with the catchy lyrics.

I don’t need your sympathy
There’s nothing you can say or do for me
And I don’t want a miracle
You’ll never change for no one
I hear your reasons why
Where did you sleep last night
And was she worth it?

‘Cause I’m strong enough to live without you
Strong enough
I quit crying, long enough
Now I’m strong enough, to know that
You gotta go