Macklemore: Same love of the Thrift Shop

Beyond all the deep stuff my brother got into with his post about Macklemore, the one thing I find coolest about this song is how catchy it is without being annoying. The beats are fantastic and I think Ryan Lewis will do big things in that department.  Due to this phenomenon, I have seen everyone from four year-olds to middle-schoolers  and adults of all ages to my ninety year old mother react positively to this song. When I chaperoned an overnight trip to an ecology school on the coast in Maine last spring, I got up at 4:30 am to see the sunrise with a bunch of enthusiastic 8th graders. This one girl was wearing pajamas with footies and I wondered out loud where a grown man could find nightwear of this nature. She quickly replied, “I dunno, try the thrift shop.”

My brother wrote a very thorough and heartfelt review of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s album The Heist that impressed me as most of his posts do. I will definitely cover some of the same ground, however, I think one of the good things about our blog is the different ways we write and approach what we write about. At least that’s what people tell me who read our blog regularly, so I will try and keep it up.

He’s completely right when he says that we do not live in a post racist society. I have heard every in and out on the Trayvon Martin case from various media sources and numerous people’s unsought after remarks on the issue. My conclusion is that I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened but it’s too bad someone died and it almost certainly had to do with racial profiling. Even in Maine where diversity is not wide spread and perhaps because of that, many people harbor racist ideals and are glacial in their speed/ willingness to change their minds.  It’s one of the few things about country-living that bothers me and something I try to combat whenever possible. Like anything else, it’s wise to pick your battles and to know when to back down.

“Thrift Shop” is a breath of fresh air in the commercially driven hip hop culture that is prevalent in this country. I love the message to the youths of America and the generally positive lilt of the song. I think a lot of kids are not only going to spend time in thrift shops, which in itself is an education,  but also analyze why anyone would ever need a fifty-dollar T-Shirt. This is one of the biggest international hip-hop songs like ever and it’s so cool that it’s such a different song in tone, structure and message than anything else out there right now that’s in the popular consciousness.

I grew up on predominantly black rappers like the Notorious B.I.G.,  Tupac, and the Wu Tang Clan. I liked the fact that they rapped about inner city gangster stuff that was not at all related to my world view. I don’t even think I really believed that people died in drive-by shootings or that kids younger than I was sold crack on the street. I still like this music but not for the same reasons. My brother made a very good point about how one of the reasons he likes Macklemore is that he can identify with how he grew up. Not a lot of rappers  that I know grew up in the middle class  and then earned a college degree. I think it’s great that Mac doesn’t try and be something he is not and actually uses who he is to shape his music so it sounds honest.

This was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s hit before “Thrift Shop”. It sounds a little more mainstream  in both tone and message, but nevertheless a different song that much of what is on the radio now. It’s no Lorde but pretty damn good. 

This jam is not bad at all. It’s not the ground breaking social message of “Thrift Shop” or the song we are about to talk about with even wider ranging messages, but it does have that sort of Macklemore/Lewis vibe that is their own unique thing. It is sort of strange to bring in this song in between the two songs I used in the title of this piece. My goal was to make this post separate from my brothers in both content and structure. As stated, I loved what he wrote as I almost always do, but why would you the reader want to read the same thing twice with different vocabulary? You don’t and this song also shows another side of the artists and what they do. This one is still on the radio sometimes and is one I don’t skip over in the car. If you ever rode with me , you’d see why this is a big deal.

I picked this cut for you brother, I know of your love for Tegan and Sara. The woman who actually does it in the song is a lot more soulful, but this is fun and even more apt because the twins are major artistic icons for LBQTA rights.

No this isn’t the original that my brother wrote at length about and that so routinely sparks emotion for me when I hear it. But you know the song by now and even if you disagree with gay marriage, you can see why discrimination of any kind is basically Un-American. Let me say that I do support gay marriage because our constitution says we are all created equal and if members of the same sex can’t marry as those of the opposite, then we aren’t all equal. Simple.

My favorite part of the song besides  the parts about homophobia in hip hop that my brother is when Mack talks about how our country was “founded from oppression” He’s right. How can we still oppress so many of our own citizens when we are supposed to be a beacon of freedom for the whole world? I understand from a religious perspective why some conservatives are so against it, but it’s the same religion that says live and let live. Ultimately, you won’t win over some people on this topic ever, but hopefully they can at least understand the other side as I do.

The other powerful part of this song is the vocal part by Mary Lambert which repeats the line “She keeps me warm” twice at the end of the phase.  It’s so pure and direct. I literally can’t listen to this without feeling pretty emotional because she just hits the whole essence of what I think love is right on the head. In the end we all want someone to keep us warm, physically, spiritually, emotionally, sexually, whatever. Why can any government sanction the legal union of someone who keeps you warm? It gets personal for me here.

This will make sense in a second. Everyone loves this song though and every time any female asks to sing a song with my band, they want to sing this one. We don’t know it and until we find a chick who would really fit in with us, we probably won’t learn it.

One of my very good friends growing up and to this day, the daughter of the Angel of Death actually, has been dating  the same girl for some time. She has been trying to get our band to let her girlfriend sing “Jackson” with us forever and it has never worked out time wise. Last week, we finally got together with just the two girls, my friend on rhythm guitar and me on bass to do a little jamming and see what was up. It was fun. I sang with her on a Felice Brothers song, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show and a variety of other country tunes. One girl sang and the other played drums and we all drank a few beers and had some fun.

It struck me as we played that these two who seem perfect for each other only recently got the right to marry in our own state and nationally it’s still pending. I’m glad that the fight is making great strides, but Mack is right. We all need someone to keep us warm and I hope he and Ryan Lewis keep making beats and socially conscious music to push popular thought forward. I hope that my nieces and nephews live in a world where this is no question on if they can marry someone they love, regardless of their gender.

5 comments on “Macklemore: Same love of the Thrift Shop

  1. […] endeavor, especially since my introduction is on a topic for which they have both sufficiently posted already. Before delving deeper into Macklemore and Lewis’s The Heist, some transparency is required. I […]

  2. brook says:

    That was a blast! Thanks for the fun. .. I love you man!

  3. […] to start with, but it makes sense. I think. This is the first of a few posts about Macklemore. My brother writes about the song “Same Love” almost exclusively; our friend the one and only Moe writes about why he thinks The Heist is a great […]

  4. […] no fewer than three entries about Macklemore and Lewis’ The Heist in a week (one review, one reaction and one fine guest-post traversing between the personal and the artistic), I swore that I was never […]

  5. […] years. But I may be wrong about that. If you want to know far too much about what we think about Macklemore, read one of the multiple […]

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