Song 163: The Five Stairsteps, “Ooh Child” (1970)

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For me, “Ooh Child” does just what it sets out to do: when those snares hit and the horns sound, I’m immediately soothed and happy. It’s just the right tempo, just the right temperament, to work it’s magic on me, every time.

I think the arrangement of this song is really something else, especially in the first verse, in which those light piano chords drop the song gently in your lap. The song slowly build from there: strings, brass, some funky drums, a single note sung by background vocals out of a boys’ choir. Then the thing folds in on itself, like a burst of the sunshine promised in the lyrics. It’s all very reassuring.

Speaking of the lyrics, I love that the words to this song aren’t promising perfection, just improvement. Things are gonna get easier, not totally fixed. I also love the phrase “We’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone,” not only because of the way the syllables rest perfectly in that spot, because it’s not the order you expect. We’ll put it together, only to disassemble it? But that’s the great thing about this song: it’s about working it out, even if it means starting over. Things will get brighter, but not without a little work, time, and patience.

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