Throwback Thursday: Arrested Development – “People Everyday” (Methamorphosis Version)
This week’s TBT pick is one of my favorite songs of all time and a fine example of music that provides
a message without sacrificing melody.
“Everyday People” was released as the second single from Arrested Development’s debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…. The song narrates an encounter between a young man who has to defend his lady from a group of men who are harassing her. Weaved into this story are themes of black unity and upliftment, a stratification of black people (“African” vs. “nigga”). On its face, it is a simple enough story with an agreeable message, but looking back through 2021 lens, there’s a lot that can be dissected in the song’s lyrics, some of which would definitely be flagged for playing “respectability politics” by the intellegentsia of today.
However, whatever your stance may be on the lyrics, everyone can agree that “People Everyday” is a classic. Based on samples of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” the song is a musical casserole that mixes funk, hip-hop, reggae, and R&B. The album version, which your average fan has probably never heard, has a more prominent reggae sound and a slower tempo. The version released to radio, referred to as the “Methamorphosis version,” is more upbeat and includes a sample of Bob James’ “Tappan Zee.”
“People Everyday” would go on to become one of the group’s signature hit, peaking in the top 10 here and abroad. Check it out below.