Phantom Songs: Snap! – “The Power”
This story starts right after your downfall. While leaning up against your locker, pretending to look cool, the bully Fredrerick McPudge pulls your pants down and kicks you in the ass. And right in front of the illustrious Susan Doyle at that! Your life is over. There is no saving you now. You might as well drop out of school, buy a motorcycle, smoke cigarettes, and get sent to a secondary school in which your bad boy persona wins over the heart of many. That is, until Sinbad [or a guy that looks like Sinbad] takes you under his wing. This man obviously knows what it takes to be cool, and he’s going to show you the way. He teaches you how to walk, talk, even breathe. He takes you to the mall, and after several comedically failed attempts, [like you’d really look good in a suit anyway] Sinbad finds the outfit that defines you. The new you. And the escalator that leads to the food court is running slow today. As you slowly go down the escalator, you can see all the people staring. This is not the you they knew earlier that day. The you that cried when having to learn about sex-ed. No, sir. This is the new you! Mouths gape open at your stunning coolness. You lower down your shades, and take a good look at Susan Doyle. The pure electricity sends her to an early puberty. All of Frederick’s friends flock to you, leaving him by his lonesome. The is the greatest moment of your life.
And as Sinbad raises the roof behind you, and you relish in your glory, what song is playing?
Ahh, yes. THIS song. Now this. This is a good song. Or is it?
Lets retain standards for a second, and regurgitate some background information on this song. The Power was the 3rd single by the German “Eurodance” group, Snap!. The real masterminds behind the group were Michael “Benito Benites” Munzing and Luca “John ‘Virgo’ Garnett III” Anzilotti. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Luca’s nickname has a nickname. Allegedly [according to wikipedia], they formed the group because they felt that people had “negative preconceived ideas about German music”. So what do they do? They make a song that has hardly anything original about it! Not only did they steal/sample the drum loop, but also the chorus, and the entire rap. After Chill Rob G made the un-chill move to threaten legal recourse, they re-recorded the song. They brought in Pittsburgh rapper, Turbo B, and Penny Ford to recreate the awesomeness of the song, and this is what we hear today.
But what song do we really hear today? Although I have a really clear memory of the song, all the memory consists of is the lady saying “I’ve got the power!”. Every time I think I know the rest of the song, it ends up being “Everybody Dance Now” by C+C Music Factory. I’m serious. Try to imagine the song in your head, without it turning into “Everybody Dance Now”. I tried this trick on Roscoe, while we were walking down the street yesterday:
T- “You know that shitty song from the Super Mario Bros. Trailer?”
R- “I’ve got the power?”
T- “Yeah, that one! Where there actual words to that song?”
T- “You’re thinking of “Everybody Dance Now”, aren’t you?”
I don’t know how this happened, but the 90’s were so convoluted that even songs bled into each other. When I watched the actual music video this morning, I was floored. This song has been heavily whored out over the years, in various forms of media, and I am of the understanding that each time only a 20 second loop is used. There is only a small snippet of the song that actually sounds somewhat familiar. In fact, it might even be safe to say that I have NEVER heard this song before. The chorus was just some amped-up shit to play when some cool dude ended up having a power trip. I even remember hearing this song at rollerskating rinks, but must have zoned out staring at girl’s asses to even care about the rest of the song. But the chorus, we all knew the chorus by heart! Let’s break down the rest of the song, so then we can know that by heart!
The song starts out with a man speaking in Russian. He says “Американская фирма Transceptor Technologies приступила к производству компьютеров «Персонaльный спутник»”. And the translation? “The American company Transceptor Technologies has started production of the ‘Personal Companion’ computer.” Okay, so this song starts out with an advertisement. But for what? I tried to find information about this device, but most links lead to other articles about this song. From what I have gathered, Transceptor Technologies was an Ann Arbor, MI based company that made devices for the handicapped to utilize computers. Here’s a more in-depth description from abledata:
“Personal Companion is a microprocessor-based non-portable information aid that provides voice input and voice output access to a variety of functions. After the system has been trained to recognize the user’s voice, the user may speak preset commands into the device to access any of the following components: Clock, Calculator, Datebook, Notepad, Library, Telephone, Bankbook, and Appliance Controller. Personal Companion includes a built-in modem and communications software that can be used to automatically download daily news updates from USA Today into the Library function. The Library also contains an on-line version of the operating manual. Personal Companion comes in three models: Model 100, which weighs 36 lbs., is $5,850.00; Model 100-M, which includes a video display terminal for visual access and weighs 57 lbs., is $7,500.00; Model 100-MPC, which allows running of IBM-PC compatible sofware and a voice-controlled keyboard and print scanner, is $11,190. 00. A standard microphone is included; a wireless remote microphone may be purchased from the manufacturer. Contact manufacturer for information on using Personal Companion with a keyboard or other applications. DIMENSIONS: 6.5 x 16.5 x 17.5 inches (excluding video display). WEIGHT: Depending on the model, 36 – 57 pounds.”
Also, if you’re still interested, here’s a transcript of a catalog that features this product, along with several similar ones. Now, I know what you’re wondering. What does all of this have to do with a ’90s dance song? Why did a couple of German guys start a song with a guy speaking in Russian? Let’s go deeper into the lyrics to see…
“I’ve got the power!”
Well, there’s your first hint already! This song is obviously about handicapped people having the power to use personal computers! Of course! And I’m sure that Turbo B can back that up! Right, Turbo?
“Like the crack of the whip I snap attack
Front to back in this thing called rap
Dig it like a shovel rhyme devil
On a heavenly level
Bang the bass turn up the treble
Radical mind day and night all the time
Seven to fourteen wise devine
Maniac brainiac winning the game
I’m the lyrical Jesse James”
Alright, well that’s some cool stuff! I’m not exactly sure what this has to do with the personal companion, but let’s try to decipher this. The first line is obviously about attacking. Maybe he’s tackling technology with the great new device that he got! That sounds like fun! And then the second line, well, it’s about rap music. And rap music is good, right? You don’t have to be able-bodied to love rap music, and Turbo B is proving this. Some may even call him a pioneer! He goes on to talk more about rap music, which is pretty dope and fresh. Then he tells someone to adjust the sound levels, because obviously, he can’t do it himself. Then he brags about his intelligence.
So, from the first verse, we can assess that this song is about a gangster version of Stephen Hawking. Let’s continue.
Of course, you’re excited about this new device! What else do you have to say?
“Gettin’ kinda heavy
It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda heavy”
Technology is a growing thing. I don’t think there’s any argument here, right fellas? High-Five!
“He’s gonna break my heart
He’s gonna break my heart of hearts”
Wait, what? Who’s going to break your heart of hearts? Is that like the heart inside your heart? Do you think Turbo is going to break that? Do you really think he’s going to go after some other wheelchair-clad bimbo? You be mistaken, babeh!
“It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda hectic”
Stop freaking out! You’re going to hurt yourself! Turbo?!?!? Where the hell are you?
“Quality I possess something I’m fresh
When my voice goes through the rest
Of the microphone that I’m holdin’
Copywritten lyrics so they can’t be stolen
If they are snap
Don’t need the police to try to save them
Your voice will sink so please stay off my back
Or I will attack and you don’t want that”
Wait, so you’re not going to reassure Penny’s doubts about you? You ARE going to break her heart, you asshole! You’re just too busy talking about rap music, and how this song used to contain stolen lyrics, but now there are new ones and they’ve been copywritten. But wait, now he threatens the people from the future that steal his lyrics. Maybe the handicapedness is all a ruse. Maybe he was never handicapped to begin with!
Let’s restart my analysis: Turbo buys his handicapped girlfriend a Personal Companion, so she can check her e-mailz and send her faxezes. She has the power. But soon, Turbo’s rap career gets the best of him, and it starts to worry Penny. She’s afraid the he’s going to break her heart, and her heart of hearts. I’m assuming she’s telling this to her Personal Companion. Then Turbo goes farther off the deep end, when some dude tries to steal his lyrics. Penny becomes afraid that it’s getting too heavy and hectic. She wants to get out of the relationship, but her low self-esteem and disabilities stop her from doing so. Turbo starts to get violent. The song ends on a cliffhanger. Does Penny have the Power to leave him or make him change his ways, or is Turbo going to bash the Personal Companion right upside her head? The world may never know….
There are still a few things that bother me about this song. For example, in the music video, there is a different girl singing the chorus.
This is Penny Ford. She is much more attractive than the other girl in the video. I have yet to find any information as to why she was not involved with the music video.
Also, absent completely are the masterminds behind the group itself. It seems like the actual members of snap got ousted out during the creative process. We saw a similar beast in my analysis of “I like To Move It”. In between hiring rappers, singers, and music video singers, the world has all forgotten about the actual german dudes behind Snap!. It seems that they tried so hard at tapping American culture [and failing miserably by thinking that referencing Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor were good ideas] that the song and the duo got lost within itself.
The song went platinum, or course. There was a remix in ’96 called “The Power ’96”.
Now, that’s where the German influence went! I don’t think I can comment anymore about this song.
You hear it all the time during “cool guy” montages, and every time a hockey team is on a powerplay. Now you know a little bit more about the song that only samples on a 20 second loop.
Oh, and one last thing…
When Chill Rob G attempted to sue Snap!, the record labels agreed that Rob was to record his own version of “The Power”. And it is leagues better than the real version. It also seems debatable at this point of who said “It’s getting kind of hectic” first. This whole controversy. It’s a little hectic. Too hectic for me. Till next time…