RED PLASTIC BAG – “Arthritis”

I can’t even remember what kind of process led me to this, which is fine since I can hardly work out what kind of process led it to exist either. What is it? It’s a soca tune about arthritis. “In your hip! Arthritis! In your neck! Arthritis! In your hand! Arthritis!”. Galloping drums and horn presets, and soca’s usual sugar-rush approach to its hooks make this sound like a day-glo daytime TV medical ad: you wonder if dementia might not be more of a worry than joint pain.

It points up one of the things I love about Soca: its Calypso roots mean there’s an instant-songwriting ethic where no topic is unworthy of a song, however unlikely. So as a listener you never quite know what you’re going to get. On the singer Ras Iley’s 10th Anniversary collection, for instance, “Soca Ninja Turtles” rubs beats with “IMF Takeover”. Both tunes were written by Red Plastic Bag. (Info from the very useful Calypso Archives). Maybe it also goes some way to explaining why such a formally competitive music seems relatively egoless and good-timesy.