|Design by Rachel Auriemma.|
(Because this is who I am.)
The bulk of the music was provided by my friends, The Votaries (of Rock and Soul), a group of talented graduate students whose version of "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" is now located deep in my heart.
But some of the music was provided by me, in the form of a dance playlist to which I devoted way too much blood sweat and tears (because that's also who I am).
And this is a song from that list that didn't get played, so I'm going to play it here. I think it says what I want to be about.
The song: Aretha Franklin ft. Dizzy Gillespie, "Integrity"; 1985
Firstly, looking up the exact date this was released reminded me of a thought I had the other day which is that, I would like the chestnut that there was no good music released in the 1980s to be retired. There was SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC IN THE 1980s. It is maybe one of the most interesting decades for music (to me). So that's that rant.
But more specifically, I want to say that I love this song. Partly because this whole album, Who's Zoomin Who, is a testament to the force of nature that is the great Aretha Franklin, who was 43 when she recorded it. I feel that she sounds her age in the best way, in the way that Tina Turner sounds her age. In the way that has such confidence and a feeling that she has earned what she is telling you.
This song, which features jazz great Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, was written and produced by Aretha herself. I can't name another dance jam on the subject of integrity (but if you know of one I would like to hear). Like authenticity, "integrity" is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. It is comforting from me to hear from Aretha, who has really lived, on the topic.
I increasingly think that integrity is one of those things, those bright lines, that separate those truly make it in the world from those who don't. And I guess I should clarify what I mean by "make it in the world" which is not in this case a matter of material success, but more about the ability to stay in the present without being overwhelmed too often by the never-ending pain-in-the-ass-ness that is life.
I also think that integrity and authenticity are both not actual destinations but more the hills shimmering in the distance, that seem to get only a little bit closer as you continue walking.
But, as I have learned in the past few weeks listening to it, this song is a fantastic one to walk to. (If you turn it up.)