Album: Dee D. Jackson - Cosmic Curves (1978)
Song: Automatic Lover
Before I had heard this song, I didn't know that Italian Disco (Italo Disco) was a genre. Most noted for it's use of synth bass playing in staccato doubled down up octaves. It was actually this very youtube clip that ended up being my first exposure. While I was more or less just looking for synth music in general, the screen capture thumbnail seemed to promise something grand.
This track did not disappoint in any way. In fact, this may be one of the finer Italo Disco tracks I have heard, by virtue of it being well made, and well thought out. As the years went on, and consumer electronics got cheaper, the quality of Italo Disco acts was slowly being averaged toward the bland end of the spectrum. It appeared to be losing a lot of the charm that made it so popular.
Which is where this song comes in. The performance is about as powerful as you will ever see in Italo Disco. Dee D Jackson is really belting out some iconic and memorable lines, with a lot of character, but also technical skill. To my further delight, her performance on the video is also pretty spot on. It might be silly looking now (that outfit really isn't helping), but it is completely genuine. She owns it without a shred of doubt, even 40 years later. The chorus, though, is chillingly angelic, but thematically very cold. This really plays in to the theme of the song and album concept as a whole.
The entire album appears to be loosely based on a concept of a future world where love has been automated. Removed from the culture completely. In sort of a Demolition Man style world where a lot of the human connection has been deemed either too dangerous or unnecessary for whatever reason. The concept of the album appears to follow a sole female who eventually awakens to concept of human connection and begins to question everything.
While an entire story appears to unfold over the course of the album, this track, while it may appear to be completely ridiculous (especially when the robot starts dancing "The Robot") actually features some shockingly poignant lyrics that in many ways reflect the direction a lot of our world has been headed.
In almost literal instances, the lyrics are almost pleading for a human to love, rather than an autonomous robotic lover. The more I ponder this future scenario, the more it kind of hits me in the gut to imagine a world where you are forbidden connection with other humans, either culturally, or legally.
One particular lyric that for some reason almost made me tear up:
"He's programmed to receive automatic satisfaction. After love is dead where's a true reaction?"
My state of mind these days has me thinking a lot about history and politics, and the many examples of collusion in government and industry that shape our future. The nature of advertising and a constant agenda toward some form of propaganda. Where is the true reaction when we are not given access to all the information? If nearly everything we hear stems from some agenda, that stems from an agenda even higher, then is anything that actually shapes our times based on anything real?
The real reaction only comes from choosing to connect with other human beings. I feel like we are constantly informed to consider ourselves different from other groups of people. Divided by countries and regions, religions and ideologies, sex, sexual preference or just plain preferences of any kind.The more segregated we can be made, the less we can connect as a whole. The less true reaction can affect the outcome of this world.
I don't know, it just hit me pretty hard the other day. Bottom line. This track is a perfect Anomaly!