Jamaica Gleaner

Mu­sic al mag­netism and the com­pass

- Mel Cooke Gleaner Writer Entertainment · Jamaica · North Pole, AK · London · Japan · Finland · Taiwan · Iran · Greenland · Iceland · Canada · United States of America · Cuba · Santa Claus, AZ · Uganda


WHEN THERE is a strong con­nec­tion be­tween au­di­ence and live per­former, the at­mos­phere fig­u­ra­tively crack­les with elec­tric­ity. The strength of the bond cre­ated by mu­sic varies with the stature of the artiste on stage, as well as the over­all mood of the au­di­ence but, as in­tan­gi­ble as it is, it is pow­er­ful.

The pull or push be­tween mag­nets also can­not be seen, but is a pow­er­ful force, the pull re­sult­ing when they are op­po­site po­lar­i­ties, while the mag­nets will not meet if they are of the same po­lar­ity.

It is not sur­pris­ing, then, that there are in­stances in which the mag­net is used in mu­sic to show the pull be­tween per­sons, a pop­u­lar ex­am­ple be­ing the song Mag­net and Steel. The singer, Wal­ter Egan, may not be a house­hold name in Ja­maica, but the words of the cho­rus are stock in trade for the R&B lover: “With you I’m not shy To show the way I feel With you I might try My se­crets to re­veal For you are a mag­net and I am steel”

On the home-grown front, Pinchers also uses the im­age of the mag­net and steel to de­scribe the at­trac­tion a par­tic­u­lar woman holds for him. In his singing style which easily ac­com­mo­dates a near dee­jay de­liv­ery, for the late 1980s song, Pinchers sing of the woman’s pow­ers:

“Is it be­cause your love is so gen­uinely

Baby why are you do­ing these things to me Is like mag­net to steel Yes she pulling me Is like mag­net to steel The girl a pull me She give me love in the morn­ing Give me at sup­per­time She give me all of the kisses...” Pinchers also uses mag­netism in Agony, the sex­ual stage of the re­la­tion­ship af­ter the at­trac­tion has re­sulted in the meet­ing of bod­ies. The agony they cre­ate is the sweet pain of in­ti­mate in­ten­sity:

“You give her da love that is so real

That pull out to di Pinchers like a mag­net to steel I give her a love that is so strong Is like a bright light and it a guide her along”

Mat­ters of mag­netism are not al­ways about the flesh, though. In Know How Fe Chat (first done on the Sleng Teng rid­dim and then given a hip-hop remix), Shine­head ac­tu­ally speaks the op­po­site and iden­ti­cal po­lar­i­ties in choos­ing who to have rap­port with:

“Shine­head once again with ev­ery­thing in­tact

Any­thing a guy try I will coun­ter­act

Fic­tion and a ru­mour is sim­i­lar but a fact is a fact

A pos­i­tive charge and a neg­a­tive charge will al­ways at­tract

But forces with the same po­lar­ity will not make con­tact

Give me peace, give me love, give me har­mony Me no want no com­bat Or we can al­ways go our sep­a­rate ways we no make no con­tract”

There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween the ge­o­graphic and mag­netic North Poles. Not that many per­sons make the dis­tinc­tion, as the North Pole is just the place where Santa Claus comes from. In Gir­lie Gir­lie, Sophia Ge­orge names it among the places that a par­tic­u­larly driven young man wants to have a part­ner, go­ing on to list a num­ber of other places, even­tu­ally end­ing up be­low the Tropic of Can­cer close to Ja­maica: “And be­fore him grow old Him want one a North Pole. One inna Lon­don One inna Ja­pan One inna Scot­land One inna Fin­land One inna Tai­wan One inna Iran One inna Green­land One inna Ice­land One in Canada One in Uganda One in Amer­ica One in Cuba”

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