Random Jam of the Week 011

Joel returns to the RJOTW with a glorious one hit wonder from the 90’s.

There are so many great things about this song, and no, none of them have anything to do with that bizarre Charlie Chaplin tribute music video.

Great Thing #1: “Your Woman” was one of the first (and only) songs recorded in an artist’s bedroom to take over the international airwaves. Made by one guy with cheap equipment, the song improbably reached the top five on fifteen different countries’ charts in 1997. Take that, hipsters: White Town was on the do-it-yourself one-man band train a decade before it was cool. (Note: by “one-man band” I don’t mean someone like this badass. I mean someone in the rapidly expanding genre of artist I like to call “a dude with a laptop”.)

Great Thing #2: You may have noticed that while the singer is male, the lyrics appear to be from a female perspective. It sounds a little weird even in 2013, and we have 16 years worth of warming up to the LGBT community on listeners in 1997. As you would expect, the song’s release was met with a lot of questions like, “what is it about???” and, “hey — are you gay?” The White Town explanation:

When I wrote it, I was trying to write a pop song that had more than one perspective. Although it’s written in the first person the character behind that viewpoint isn’t necessarily what the casual listener would expect. [The lyrics to “Your Woman”] are about being a member of an orthodox Trotskyist / Marxist movement. Being a straight guy in love with a lesbian. Being a gay guy in love with a straight man. Being a straight girl in love with a lying, two-timing, fake-ass Marxist. The hypocrisy that results when love and lust get mixed up with highbrow ideals.

Was it just me, or was that about the douchiest explanation of song lyrics you’ve ever heard too?  There were several more references to revolutionary socialists than I anticipated. Also I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who falls into the dangerously specific category of “lying, two-timing, fake-ass Marxist.” The bottom line White Town, is that I just judged you. Hard.

But wait! Then I discovered something. Queue Great Thing #3.

Great Thing #3: THIS IS A PICTURE OF WHITE TOWN. He is an Indian-born Brit named Jyoti Mishra, and he refers to himself as a “fat bloke” and a “computer nerd.” Likeability: fully recovered.

Great Thing #4: Everything about the track itself. The star is obviously the intro’s incredible trumpet sample from a 1932 blues track that hints a little at the Darth Vader death march. Then those synthy eighties drums come in, and Mr. Mishra’s barely-there vocals, and you’ve got a timeless track that could have come out this morning, or a few years before I was born. It’s one of the coolest one hit wonders ever, really.

The only not-so-great thing? Our tragic genius everyman hero lacked the resources to properly clear the use of the sample, and due to copyright infringement the vast majority of royalties from “Your Woman” are going to Lew Stone and Al Bowlly’s record company.

Great Thing #5: He’s in a bar somewhere right now, banging out an acoustic version of his gender-bending classic for a bunch of people who aren’t sure they heard him correctly. He’s also being ex-Marxist as fuck.


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