Daily Listen-Nina Simone-Do I Move You

Today’s listen is a bluesy piano ballad from the legend herself, Nina Simone. “Do I Move You” has the makings of a classic romance jam, setting the mood with all manner of sensual, rhetorical (or so we think) questions: “Do I move you/Is it thrilling/Are you loose now?” That is, until Simone subverts the cliche, warning whoever this partner is that, “The answer better be yes.” These questions aren’t sweet nothings, and she isn’t fucking around; you will be moved, you will be thrilled, and you will be loose. These commandments could just as easily apply to the listener as they could apply to the object of Simone’s attention. If that incredible line weren’t enough, Simone finishes the chorus off with a casual “That pleases me,” as if she already knows that the answer to the aforementioned questions is a resounding yes. This end-of-chorus reversal, which places an incredible amount of emphasis on a woman’s needs and agency, is damn near radical, even coming out of the progressive 1960’s. Without Simone’s commanding attitude on this song and others, we would have no Rihanna taunting a “rude boy” and no FKA Twigs commanding a lover to “hold that pose for me,” and the world would be worse off for it.

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