Sometimes you find a song that seems to follow you around. For a while, and even now, Pandora constantly plays You Wish by Nightmares on Wax. The 2006 song samples William Bell and Judy Clay’s Private Number, transforming the fluid and antique beat into an inviting breath of calm. This has become one of my favorite songs to practice yoga to.
NoW’s version removes the overlays from Bell and Clay’s version as well as those present in a more famous sampling of the 1968 song from my childhood, Players Club (1994) by Rappin’ 4 Tay.
Wherever I hear this curving beat, it makes me think of a specific memory.
When I was a child, my mom would sometimes volunteer to lead P.E. classes for each grade in my school, giving our P.E. teacher, Mrs. Durner a day to go rest her ever-aching knees and feed her Baskin Robbins addiction (she went to the ice cream shop, without fail, every day at 3:00, just in time to beat the 3:10 dismissal rush).
My mother usually taught gymnastics, but sometimes she made use of her background as a dance teacher. She taught the older grades some funky jazz number with a bit of hip-hop groove. All the kids loved counting out the beat and trying, to the best of their abilities, to follow the choreography and my mom’s ever expressive a-shish-koom-ba counting techniques. It wasn’t until my sister and I got in the car at 3:10 that afternoon and reported on the day’s events that my mom realized that the song she’d chosen solely for its rhythmic, mesmerizing beat was ripe with swear words and references our teachers would not have found appropriate. Luckily I doubt many of them were paying close attention, or could even understand the lyrics, but it certainly made for an educational P.E. class for the students.