One Track Mind: Dionne Farris, "I Know" (1994)

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by Pico

Here’s a One Track Mind that’s also a One Hit Wonder. Remember Dionne Farris?

If you do, then this song must have made an impression on you, too.

This is usually the part where I delve into the artist’s background and deliver the setup to the song of the moment. Well, there isn’t much to say this time. Dionne Farris had a guest vocalist stint with Arrested Development which led to a major record deal with Sony, put out one very good CD with a top ten hit, and followed it up with…virtually nothing.

If someone could tell me why Farris dropped out of sight after her Wild Seed – Wild Flower CD, I’d like to know why because it was smart, edgy and diverse. It’s not that far off from what the more widely acclaimed Me’Shell Ndeg√©ocello was putting out about the same time.

While not offbeat like most of the rest of Wild Seed, that top ten hit, “I Know,” is one of those songs that gives pop a good name. That’s because it’s pop with a touch of attitude. It’s got a shuffling funky beat, sassy lyrics and a rhythm driven by a Delta slide guitar. Farris has a very pliable voice; she can sound like a sweet soul diva on one song and an angry folk-rock singer the next. For “I Know,” she adapts a coy persona with a matching low-octave purr to match that conveys a slight annoyance to perfection. The bridge is pretty killer too, as the harmonies rise up to a higher register.

I couldn’t find the video on YouTube, but it’s likely that Sony pulled out all its videos there. That’s a shame; as I remember it’s a pretty good one (she’s dancing in the men’s room). So as a substitute, here’s a live performance of the song:

Purchase: Dionne Farris – Wild Seed – Wild Flower

“One Track Mind” is a more-or-less weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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