The lead song in Patrick Ames’s new album The Virtualistics was the last one written of the virtual octet during the pandemic lockdowns (May 2020 – May 2021). I wrote HPU for @JoeBiden and @VP Kamala Harris in late January right after they were inaugurated. I wanted something joyous, something to fit the mood of the country and the good news after a year of virus and years of political strife. And I wanted it funky right from the first note, from the shoutout “We the People” (an homage to Biden), to the overlapping funky bridges and cascading vocals in the outros. There are only a few words in the song: Help people up, give people hope, feed people love, everyday.
It’s meant to be simple. It’s meant to be sung along with. I want you to sing the lyrics because they are the message that should be tattoo’d inside our brains.
And the track is smokin’. To my ears it sounds like the Neville Brothers especially with Jon’s amazing bass work, but there are elements of Sly and the Family Stone (especially the group-chanting of lyrics), Dr. John’s funky cannon, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, and many more. Chana sings down in my register so we can get that mantra effect while Mikaela creates sparks along the top of the entire song – she is becoming more and more powerful with every session. Jon plays bass, guitars, organ, percussion, and lead guitars. As we get into the final bars, he turns it into this tight-knit outro with a pulsating bass and butt-wiggling congas. It simmers and cooks for awhile with my treble guitar accents and then the voice-over: We Believe…. in the People. I love it. Welcome to The Virtualistics, an LP with verve.