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Five years ago I popped a Parliament disc into to my old (crappy) stereo and decided to crank turned up the bass for the first time. (Before this I had previously been stogged down in the conviction that a stereo’s equalization should always be left flat.) As Bootsy Collin’s infectious rubber bass filled the room rising above the rest of the band (where it rightfully belongs) I felt a strong ebullient groove overwhelm me and had a sort of musical revelation. For the next six months or so I began to constantly listen to Parliament and Salsa (particularly Los Van Van’s ”Azucar” and Cubanismo’s ”Malembe”). During this time I found that rhythm and groove were far more than something I just wanted to dance to – they embodied the idea that one could simply embrace and exist within the positive.
Both these Parliament tracks are perennial favorites of mine. “If It Don’t Fit (Don’t Force It)” has become one of those few little creative mantras I tell myself when things aren’t working out in a composition or anywhere else for that matter. “If It Don’t Fit” doesn’t imply disappointment or resignation. You’re not supposed to give up or necessarily presume that it work at all, you’re just supposed to relax a little and simply “[not] force it.” It’s a simple message, best stated briefly. I think that if it went on any longer, it might seem as though it were forcing its perspective on you.
In contrast I could care less what “The Motor Booty Affair” is about because this song probably has the best bass line I’ve ever heard. I often wish that this song went on much longer simply so that I could hear the bass line continue. But, like “If It Don’t Fit (Don’t Force It)” maybe it’s better if infectious songs like these don’t force their presence by lasting too long – one can always just go back and revisit them.