Sunday, August 24, 2014

Len -- "Steal My Sunshine" (1999)

I was lying on the grass
On Sunday morning of last week
Indulging in my self-defeat

The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said "Less is more."  The reverse of that aphorism -- "More is less" -- is equally true.

If you don't believe that, just look at the most recent 2 or 3 lines -- the one that featured Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs."

I jumped from a tiresome discussion of another Carrie Underwood revenge song ("Before He Cheats"), to a tiresome rehash of Bill Clinton's shenanigans, to a tiresome presentation of some of the implausible interpretations (or "interoperations," if you prefer) of "Two Black Cadillacs" that were posted on a popular website by fans of the song, to a tiresome rant about Ralph Waldo Emerson.   

And what did all the time and effort I invested in that post produce?  

A big steaming pile of hot mess -- that's what it produced.

To date, I've written about over 600 songs on 2 or 3 lines.  You would think things would be running pretty efficiently by now, but I seem to be backsliding into excess blather and wasted motion.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the venerable hymn, "Come, Labor On," which certainly was apropos -- because 2 or 3 lines is seemingly becoming more and more labored.   

The next few posts are going to be very different -- tight and economical and sans the excessive excess that characterized the "Two Black Cadillacs" post.

Siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo
Len is a Canadian band that is the brainchild of Marc Costanzo (who later became a successful record company executive) and his sister Sharon, who played bass and shared vocal duties with her sibling.

I may have heard Len's "Steal My Sunshine" when it was released back in 1999, but I certainly don't remember it from then.  Lucky for you that I heard it on the radio last month, when I was vacationing on Cape Cod -- it's a pretty irresistible record.

The idea for "Steal My Sunshine" was born when Marc Costanzo went to a rave with some friends and happened to hear the old disco hit, "More, More, More," by the Andrea True Connection.   He decided to loop part of that record's bridge and use it as the basis for a new song.

After Marc wrote "Steal My Sunshine," he and Sharon recorded it on a half-inch tape recorder.  (Sharon plays bass and shared vocal duties with her brother.)  Marc was underwhelmed by the recording, and Sharon stuck the tape in a closet -- or maybe under a bed.  (Sources vary.)  Eventually the song ended up on Len's first major-label album, You Can't Stop the Bum Rush.

Marc Costanzo modeled "Steal My Sunshine" on The Human League's 1981 hit, "Don't You Want Me."  Both songs feature alternating male and female vocals.

The lyrics to "Steal My Sunshine" are pretty random.  Here's an example:

Now the fuzzy stare from not being there
On a confusing morning week
Impaired my tribal lunar speak

(Say what?)

Here's the official music video for "Steal My Sunshine":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. I am a fan of Len and love their song Steal My Sunshine. In 2012 I visited Daytona Beach where the video was filmed and put together a blog entry on my Wordpress account about the filming locations then and now. Here is the link, let me know what you think!