Funk Break: “Can You Get to That” by Funkadelic

When my dad was in college, one of the male dorms used to have a “Funk Break” every Thursday night. They’d listen to funk music and hang out. Funk music is a genre that I’ve only scratched the surface of (Sly and the Family Stone, etc.), but one that I definitely want to dive deeper into.

Today’s post is all about “Can You Get to That” by Funkadelic, one of the first funk groups that I ever got into.

Here’s the Wikipedia-style overview, for those of you that are unfamiliar: The group, and its sister group Parliament (both headed by George Clinton), helped pioneer funk music during the 1970s. Picture Soul Train-style outrageous fashion and deep, groovy beats – that’s Funkadelic in a nutshell.

I was first introduced to the group because Sleigh Bells samples them on their song “Rill Rill.” I love how Sleigh Bells reinterprets that groove into a driving, electric sound…while still retaining its funky core.

“Can You Get to That” brings up an essential question for me, every time I hear it. Do I listen to a song more for its lyrics, or its beat? With this song, it’s both. The acoustic-y guitar hook is hypnotic and draws you in from the first few beats. And then you’re hit with powerful lyrics like, “I once had a life – or rather, life had me.” It’s instantly relateable: the whole song is about reflecting on past relationships and how you’ve lived your life. That’s the universality of music that I love: one nation under a groove, indeed.

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