The Grateful Dead celebrates 50 years since the band's start this year.
As he does every week, NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings us new music.
This week, Thompson shares Sylvan Esso‘s “Hey Mami” from the band’s self-titled album.
Thompson says it’s catchy but there’s a deeper message
“‘Hey Mami’ is a really interesting song, in part because it’s doing a lot of things at once: It opens with a long, mostly a cappella stretch, but it evolves into a throbbing dance song; it’s commenting on guys who make leering catcalls toward women, but it also functions as a catcall itself,” Thompson told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “It’s very coolly seductive while also commenting on less-cool attempts at seduction. It’s smart and playful and surprising, and you can hear the way it’s going to live on in dance remixes for years to come.”
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
Well, it's Monday. We are in need of a new song. So who do we call? NPR music writer and editor, Stephen Thompson. Stephen, what have you got?
STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I've got a duo called Sylvan Esso that makes really smart, haunting, electronic pop music. The members of Sylvan Esso are known for other projects. The singer, Amelia Meath, has sung rustic, kind of a capella folk in a group called Mountain Man. While the producer who does all the electronics is a guy named Nick Sanborn, who plays base in the psychedelic rock band Megafaun. But together, they make this sleek, inventive, artistically far-reaching music that's got a real snap to it. I don't usually think of either member of Sylvan Esso as someone who didn't inspire a dance remix, but this music totally would. This particular song is called "Hey Mami."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY MAMI")
AMELIA MEATH: (Singing) She walking so fast. She walking so fast. She walking so fast. Oh, our lady, she don't know how she going. She walking so fast. She walking so fast. She walking like a pale. Look at that (unintelligible). And I know she floats along as she goes. She owns the eyes as she flies right through the sound, moving her body all around town. Hey, hey, mami. Hey, hey, mami, I know who you are. I know who you are. I know who you are. Sooner or later the dudes or bodegas will hold their lips...
YOUNG: How interesting. You know, you say it inspires dance remixes, but it sounds like a dance remix.
THOMPSON: Yeah. But you can imagine it - it's getting deeper and baser and dubbier and kinda really thumping. There's sleekness and a sway and like I said, there's a thump to it. "Hey Mami" is a really interesting song, in part because it's doing a lot of things at once. It opens with this long, mostly a capella stretch but it evolves into what we heard, this throbbing dance song. And it's commenting, you know, lyrically on guys who make leering catcalls toward women, but it also functions as a catcall itself. It's very coolly seductive while also commenting on less cool attempts at seduction. So it's really smart and playful and surprising. And you can hear the way - like we said - that it's going to live on in dance remixes for years to come.
YOUNG: The song is "Hey Mami" from the self-titled debut by the band Sylvan Esso, NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson's offering for the week. Thanks so much.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Robin.
YOUNG: And you're hearing it in HERE AND NOW.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY MAMI")
MEATH: (Singing) I know what you want. I know what you want. Hey, mami, I know what you want. Hey, mami. Hey, mami, I know what you want. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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