EMBRACING THE SQUIRM Oh My Goodness will make you think about the why of things.
Obviously, abbreviations, shortcuts, and acronyms like TTFN, YVMV, and FTW will eventually end our civilization as we know it, but in the meantime it’s hard not to admire the creation of new shorthand, maybe a new dialect, in realtime. Maybe there’s always a new language of some sort being created, but our current moment is seeing leaps forward with English into something more universal.
Because infinite connectivity. (The kids are constructing sentences like that, nowadays. I like it.)
Similarly, there may be too little appreciation for what’s happening to recorded music via the combination of inexpensive, everywhere computing power and storage as a commodity. Those decrying music’s demise are clueless.
There is more and — statistics would imply — better music now than there ever has been in the history of the world. I’m not sure how you could argue that point. Huge barriers and gatekeepers have been eliminated, the cutting and pasting of musical phrases (data) is effortless, and the market has been flooded.
Sometimes that means more carbon copies of the past. Other times it means Oh My Goodness, a two-piece featuring former Mainers, now Brooklynites Therese Workman and Tyler Wood. On their self-titled debut EP, released last summer, they’re part of the leap forward. Emerging from traditions of hip hop, horn-flavored soul, pop, and the purely digital traditions, these six songs — and the nine guest remixes of those six songs released last month — are architectural wonders. They are dynamic and surprising, mood-swinging, and highly enjoyable.
Just don’t think it’s background music. Works like the first single, “OMG OMG,” demand your attention. Especially in the headphones, the clacked sticks and handclaps are bitingly crisp, and the hook has a heavy bounce, with Workman lilting a repeated pair of phrases: “Oh, my goodness/oh, my God.” The meaningless exclamations become mockery. Then she turns to a flat, clipped rap that moves from accusatory to sarcastic.
Bring back the open, shake it around, throw in some strings. Do whatever feels good. These are long songs that operate pretty independently. They have lifespans.
“Not Lying” grows and swells incrementally from simple cycling piano chords into a floor-pounding club anthem you can really bounce to. “I know it sounds absurd,” Workman sings of an opening that includes “a great white shark swimming in the public pool/If you were there you might believe it, too.” The all-stops at the 3:30 mark make you catch your breath.
“Everything All” grabs you by the lapels and shakes. The horns pop and move, and Workman goes with a detached chant: “It’s okay/I’ll hide under the bed/And you can leave a message at the tone instead.” It’s industrial and contemporary EDM, but with a P-Funk performance quality. You can see the crowd bouncing on the balls of their feet and finally just jumping because they can’t help it.
Remixed? The officerfishdumplings (take that, traditional naming conventions) remix alternately transforms into Nicki Minaj and Tiffany, turning the emotional dial expertly until it settles on an updated Manchester sound.
How’s this for indulgence? “You can’t come/This is invitation only/And I didn’t send an invitation/That means you can’t come.” The finish is filled with a repeating phrase by way of explanation: “You shouldn’t have kept me waiting all night.”