Friday, June 11, 2010

One Word: Satellites

Rickie Lee Jones: Satellites


Whatever became of Rickie Lee Jones? She burst on the scene thirty years ago with her huge hit Chuck E’s In Love, and then vanished, never again coming anywhere near that kind of success. Of course, I’m sure many of our readers know that she’s been here all along. Jones has released a steady stream of albums ever since that debut. She has even managed to stay on a major label. And she has proven to be a brilliant songwriter and a very good interpreter of other people’s songs. But Jones has always had a distinct persona, (her detractors call it an affectation), of this jazzy street urchin. Her best songs are poetry with mostly acoustic musical settings that suit the characters and moods perfectly.

All of this is on display in Satellites. The song seems to me to be a celebration of a friendship that is deepening into something more, but, as happens with the best songwriters, other interpretations are possible. The joy of the moment is unmistakable. The musicality of the piece is revealed in Jones’ use of dynamic shifts; the song goes from louder to softer sections in unexpected ways. Get to know the song though, and you won’t be able to imagine doing it any other way.

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