BARRY HELAFONTE “Neon Beach” (Orange Milk)

I heard a Harry Belafonte song on the radio the other day – for realz. It made me happy. (And no, it wasn’t “Jump in the Line,” but I can’t remember the name of it.)

This is somewhat unrelated, I know, except for the juvenile initial switch (well, I giggled anyway), and also except for the fact that Barry Helafonte is the King of Also Calypso, a title I just made up right now because of the name connectivity. Keep up! Actually, it’s not a stretch to mention Harry B and Barry H within the same thought, as the vibe kicked up right in your future funk face on Neon Beach isn’t as much of a stretch from traditional calypso as you’d think. Naw, the island jamz, while synthesized and doped to oblivion, could be blasted from Kingston to Curacao without a second thought or a weird look from the pilot of the cargo plane you flew in on. (Somebody’s gotta drop off those tapes.)

Curacao’s not in the Caribbean, is it. FML.

Neon Beach – back to the point – jiggles in the breeze blowing MS Paint palm trees across an imaginary shoreline, where relaxed rhythms and atmospheres, barely sticking a tongue in a cheek, if at all, demonstrate the therapeutic effects of full-on vacation mode. Yeah man, drunk on daiquiris by noon is the way to be, island living and all that, fully removed from smartphone notifications because this is no working holiday. And Neon Beach is the jam, whether it’s the recreational club fodder of “On Your Mind” or the romantic evening chillax attax of “Sunset.” Now we’re talking – we might not necessarily be on the family friendly “Banana Boat” trip or anything, but we’re a far cry from Secrets as well, probably. Unless Secrets is your idea of a getaway. It’s not mine. At all. No, the lounging on Neon Beach is solitary, meditative, head-clearing. You feel it in your sinuses. You pretend you’re a whelk, or a starfish.

And just like all great getaways, Neon Beach is over before you know it, and you’re packing your bags for the return trip to Sioux Falls, Iowa, where it’s 33 degrees at noon in the winter. Wait a minute, who says you gotta return? Toss that oversize rolly suitcase, stuff a duffel with only the necessities, and hop on the next floatplane that happens by. Why not just ride the island circuit along with the mail for a while? Barry H. would approve. #CalypsoLife

Barry Helafonte
Orange Milk

--Ryan Masteller