Give It Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now

When it comes to made-up holidays, I am all about those that are riff-able for #ThematicStatic AND inspire us to be better, do better, give more. Ta-da, today is National Give Something Away Day. Maybe you should stream the funky > somber > ’90s bliss set on your way to drop off donated goods, or to volunteer at a food kitchen, or to lend a much-needed ear to someone who needs you, yeah? After all, you get what you give. ONE – TWO – ONE – TWO – THREE – OWWWW!

Stream the full July 15, 2021 #ThematicStatic show (listen!πŸ‘‡πŸΌ), and check below for a chronological, fifty-year progression of the aired picks plus some additional listener favorites that reinforce the spirit of generosity.

Listen to the show.

1960s

The Bar-Kays‘ raucous 1967 Stax/Volt release “Give Everybody Some,” co-produced by Isaac Hayes, set the tone for decades of giving… and for a mighty 8-song #ThematicStatic set today.

1970s

Early Bonnie Raitt, much like modern Bonnie Raitt, is queen material. Our own Jewly Hight requested “Give it Up or Let Me Go,” Track 1 from Raitt’s 2nd LP released in 1972 β€” a song revived by (as now rebranded) The Chicks on their 1998 record-busting country record Wide Open Spaces. Dig Jewly’s 2016 piece for Oxford American on the impact of the original artist on her young adulthood.

Parliament’s “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off The Sucker)” off 1975 release Mothership Connection is another one that rockets us to space in the best (non-billionaire kind of) way. We were so ’70s stocked with Bonnie and Marvin that I didn’t play this one in the 9 o’clock hour and all I can say is sorry. And here, enjoy:

OK, so Marvin Gaye made direct appeals for sexy stuff his whole (far too short) career. (See: “Let’s Get it On” 😳) However, I take 1977’s “Got to Give It Up” as more of a polite request to please get on the dance floor with him and forget everything else besides how daggum attractive you are when you are moving to the music, feeling free. Or something like that. Excerpt:

You can love me when you want to, babe
This is such a groovy party, baby
We’re here face to face
Baby, everybody’s swingin’
This is such a groovy place

Keep on dancin’ (baby, ha, like a lady, lady)
You got to give it up

The late great Marvin Gaye

1980s

Whew, we emerged from the disco era in one piece, so we can get back to some modest, family values music on the radio, right? WRONG, says Rick James in 1981. Smash hit “Give it To Me Baby” is…not subtle. I’m blushing too much to even embed the campy and cringe-y video, honestly. (#ThematicStatic is family show!) But the song itself is both lyrically problematic and basically irresistible.

1990s

It’s 1991 and surely we can count on a West Coast band called The Red Hot Chili Peppers for some wholesome content on the otherwise devilish cable network MTV! Nah, this video is weird as hell. But the song “Give it Away” β€” on a record called Blood Sugar Sex Magik, natch β€” is an undeniable, best-in-class rap/rock/funk ear worm. I don’t make the rules. Lissa made the request and I turned it waaaaay up in the WNXP studio. (Watch!πŸ‘‡πŸΌ)

I can’t think of many things more 1998 than the one-hit-wonder New Radicals‘ song “You Get What You Give” and its accompanying video, what with the suburban mall location, singer Gregg Alexander’s bucket hat and track jacket, and the names dropped in the savage little stanza transcribed below. If the song is good enough for Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff’s walk-up music, and the band’s Inauguration Day reunion, me thinks it’s a suitable entry for #ThematicStatic.

Health insurance, rip off lying
FDA, big bankers buying
Cloning while they’re multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You’re all fakes, run to your mansions
Come around, we’ll kick your asses!

The New Radicals

2000s

I distinctly recall listening to Magnolia Electric Co.’s What Comes After The Blues on a little white boombox, on a mattress on the floor, in the sweaty South Carolina summer of 2005 β€” my first year living out of the dorms, and before I had a bed frame. Like the bulk of Jason Molina’s songs, “Give Something Else Away Everyday” is sopping with steel guitar…plodding, gutting, and gorgeous. His unique, trembly voice over sad Americana chords cuts even deeper since Molina’s death in 2013 at age 39 from complications related to alcohol abuse. On my long list of music books to stop messing around and read is Erin Osmon’s bio, which she discussed on Wisconsin Public Radio last June.

Fiona Apple‘s Extraordinary Machine was more, well, extraordinary (if not continually sullen) songwriting from an artist who tends to wait several years before blessing us with each new album. But Kaylie agreed the piano ballad “Parting Gift” β€” also brought into this world in 2005 β€” was a good fit for our #ThematicStatic theme. Watch the official videoπŸ‘‡πŸΌ !

2010s

We’ll hop off the generosity train in 2015 with Alabama Shakes “Gimme All Your Love,” a stand-out on their 2nd (and final?) release Sound & Color. In the years since, frontwoman Brittany Howard has been omnipresent in modern music, recognized recently for her solo release Jaime and its remixes. Did you know the part-time Nashvillian β€” who also spends part of the year in New Mexico with wife and Bermuda Triangle bandmate Jesse Lafser β€” was the very first artist to be played on WNXP on November 30, 2020? Time flies when you’re rocking out and giving up thanks!

What β€” and/or to whom β€” are you giving today? We appreciate your generous listenership, and readership, of WNXP. Extra points when you give us ideas for #ThematicStatic songs on social media or via voice memo at wnxp.org/feedback. πŸ˜‰