Song of the Day #5,160: ‘Miss Jones’ – The Negro Problem

Here’s a song from the debut album of The Negro Problem, a four-piece band that was the brainchild of singer-songwriter Marc Stewart (who goes by the stage name Stew).

Stew released two albums with The Negro Problem before recording under his own name, in a very different (less overtly pop) sound. His last solo album was 2003’s Something Deeper Than These Changes, a record I have featured on the blog a few times.

As often happens on Random Weekends, looking up this song led me to the discovery that Stew has released two more albums with The Negro Problem since I last paid attention.

Those albums, Total Bent and Notes of a Native Song, came out in 2018. Both projects were written for a theatrical stage (as was Stew’s Passing Strange, a rock musical that was later filmed by Spike Lee).

All of that material is a bit too heady and arty for my simple tastes. I prefer Stew when he’s writing off-kilter art-pop like today’s SOTD.

I still see them dancing in the yard
The radio is blasting, man, these kids are so hard of hearing
But growing up ’round here I heard it’s hard
You see the ghosts creep down the alleys and the sirens always cheering
Always cheering

Every week they’ve got a brand new dance
The big kids teach the babies shake your pants when you get the notion
While the big boys search for something to enhance
This Friday evening feeling, get on the phone, put your paw in motion
Put your paw in motion

You see my grandma’s in the house but she sees all
A little boy said a curse word and there she was at the kitchen window
She said “punk, don’t talk like that in my front yard”
She said “punk, don’t talk like that in my front yard”
While the police cruise by slowly, looking hard for some place to go, go
Hi Miss Jones

Miss Jones, yes, I know, the daughter’s fallen out of your house
Oh, Miss Jones, yes, I know, the son has fallen out of your house
Fallen out of your house
Oh, Miss Jones, yes, I know, the daughter’s fallen out of your house
Oh, Miss Jones, yes, I know, the son has fallen out of your house
Fallen out of your house
Fallen out of your house

And what if we tried to change our minds tonight
Would you say “I don’t know, let’s ask Miss Jones, see what she says”
“She got this college education, she must know something about the world”
“Except government loans, see what she says”
“Children, advice to you is to die in school”
“Would you say you got no case or cause for alarm?”

And what if we tried to change our minds tonight
Would you say that’s a case or cause for alarm?
And what if we tried to change our minds tonight
Would you say that’s a case or cause for alarm?

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,160: ‘Miss Jones’ – The Negro Problem

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’m surprised you hadn’t kept up with Stew as you were quite into him back in the day. However, if his music became even more theatrical and artsy, I can see why.

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