On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) (1998)
” Doo Wop (That Thing)” is the debut solo single from American recording artist Lauryn Hill. The song is the lead single from her debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill . It was written and produced by Hill. The song was officially released in October 1998, after it was initially released as a radio only single, two months prior.
Welcome to 1998, dear reader. To start this new year we are leaving Australia behind and making our way back to the US. We find ourselves in New Jersey and in the company of Lauryn Hill. We were previously with her in 1996 as a member of Fugees but the group disbanded in 1997. One year on Hill is pursuing a solo career and released her debut album – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Doo Wop (That Thing).
In Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill reaches out to both African-American men and women, addressing each of the sexes in turn and offering some advice. She begins with the women and warns them of respecting themselves and their bodies, not being pressured into sex by men and taking control of their own choices in life. For the men, Hill admonishes them about focusing on the important things. While she laments men being more concerned with cars and attire, there are decent women in their lives who are merely an afterthought. To follow these paths men and women are on is to follow the road to ruin and it isn’t too late to turn back.
I am familiar with Lauryn Hill from Fugees and was aware that she had a solo career though I can’t recall listening to any of her material. Doo Wop (That Thing) is a powerful warning to men and women about the many trials that life offers and the thin ice on which they walk daily. The song would be a massive success upon release, topping the US charts, while her debut album was a huge seller. Success did not agree with Hill though and she retreated from the public eye for many years. She still performs to this day but an elusive second studio album is yet to appear.
Favourite songs so far: