Monday, 21 May 2012

song reinterpretation

Unlike the previous post that looked at the evolution of a track, this post will look at one track that has seen various degrees of reinterpretation, however, each iteration has retained the key elements of the original track. The take-away here is that strong melodies, hooks, and musical lines can transcend genres and give a track a strong, yet distinct fingerprint. Each version uses the identity of the original to reinterpret the track within a new genre.

Original track: 'After Laughter (Comes Tears)' - Wendy Rene. The original youtube version has a ton of distortion, for some reason, so this one has less views but sounds better. (The original is here )

 Ahhhh, the Wu-Tang Clan!! This one was actually pretty popular among hip-hop circles...


For fun, building on the Wu-Tang version, here's some dancehall riddim:

I can't find much background on this next version. Here's the description from youtube: "Lykke Li and El Perro Del Mar sing "After Laughter Come Tears" in San Francisco, California, USA"

There's something I love about the idea of this. A spontaneous street performance - live music can be one of the most amazing and magical things we experience, that is, when it is not totally commodified and manufactured. I think that's why I like this so much...

And last, a tech house group called Filtertypen covered/remixed the track. I like their interpretation, and honestly can't believe how many views this has.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Better than the Original?

Here's 5 songs I think come very close and/or surpass the original song, which I don't think happens very often.

Love and Rockets - Ball of Confusion

Soft Cell - Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go?

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence

Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust

Streetheart - Under My Thumb

Thursday, 2 February 2012

song evolution pt.1

This week, 5 tracks are selected that all relate back to one song. The original track was remade, then sampled, then sampled again, then the sampled song was sampled...! The end result is one of the top youtube vids of all time...

Street Player by Rufus w/Chaka Khan. I won't go into great detail describing this as there are a ton of resources out there, but will say that this track was released in 1978 on an album with the same name. The album was Rufus' 6th album, by this point they were a supergroup but were beginning to split from their lead singer, Chaka Khan.

The track was covered by Chicago a year later in 1979 and released on the critically and sales-wise unsuccessful 'Chicago 13' album. Apparently the original was co-written by Chicago's ex-drummer, but the story gets a bit convoluted. These details are not important, but are interesting so check 'em out if you have time.

Flash forward to 1995 and the underground sounds of house music. The Bucketheads sampled the Chicago version and the song crossed to the singles charts hitting #5 in the UK. It topped the US Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1995.

August of 2008, although it is difficult to tell exactly, Nicola Fasano released '75, Brazil Street' which took the Chicago hook even further.

Then, American rapper Pitbull took the Nicola Fasano version and basically recorded 'I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)' over top. Apparently, the style of singing overtop of an existing record is popular in countries like Cuba. Turns out Pitbull's take on the original Street Player sample took him to #2 on the hot 100 in both Canada and the US, and at one point was the 8th most viewed music video of all time on youtube with over 200 000 000 views. (I won't cite this because these stats change all the time, but I had a look Feb 2012 and it had 204M views). The vid is completely unremarkable and the 30 seconds or so I actually watched were enough for me to know it's probably not something that you want to be watching at work...! One note is that in the first few lines of the song, Pitbull references 75 Brazil Street.

All for this go round, stay funky until next time!

Friday, 27 January 2012

1960s: Mod and Soul

Some oldies for this week's belated picks. As much as I would have loved to have posted live performances (some are really boss!), the sound quality is generally lacking, so I'm going with the better audio quality video stills:

The Sonics - Have Love, Will Travel

Probably one of my more favourite songs from this genre:
13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me

Love that fuzzy guitar sound:
The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)

And now, from the ladies. Such a great voice:
Brenda Holloway - Every Little Bit Hurts

2 Live Crew sampled this song extensively on one of their songs:
Barbara Acklin:

Monday, 23 January 2012

Jay's mini-picks, Jan 23 2012

So just a teaser here... 2 tracks, both amazing in their own right.

First, 'Colder Weather' by the Zac Brown Band is one of the best country songs I know of. The songwriting is stellar, and the build-up and release interweave with the story.

"When I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again..."


And, a special bonus, live from Red Rock (naturally...!)

Second track, a Canadian band called Hey Rosetta!. This track was featured on the CBC TV show 'Heartland' (keeping with the country theme) but is more of a folky-rock but still upbeat number. This has been one of my personal favourites for a few years now.

Until next time...!


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Moody 1 (Jay's picks 2012-jan-15)

So many moody songs, so little time. How do you narrow it down? It is the age old question... so, rather than over thinking things, let's get to it.

I just discovered this album yesterday, Bon Iver by you guessed it, Bon Iver. Besides the distinct and haunting melodic character each song seems to possess, every track from the album seems to have a stunning video to go along with it. This week's selections by me are bookended by two BI tracks, Holocene (which is up for a couple of Grammys this year, if I'm not mistaken) and Calgary. I just can't believe I never listened to this album sooner...!

Next up, a Radiohead track. I haven't followed these guys too much lately. Kid A was really my last obsession with them but the latest crop of tracks shows restraint, poise, and incredible craft of song-smithing. Add to it exponential technological advancements in the last decade that allow a wide range of homemade bootlegged remixes, you have Reckoner, the Paul Keeley Remix. Pretty much beats just layered over the track, it fits the mood of the track and shows the same level of consideration that the original track exhibits.

The next selection is Wonderwall, a cover of the great Oasis classic, this one done by Ryan Adams. I haven't heard this track covered well often, but this version in my mind captures the essence of a highly successful remake. It forges its own identity btu retains enough of the original to still be the track. Haunting, beautiful, and memorable. I think I first heard this onThe OC a few years back...

I have to beat Jer to the punch on this one. Sorry Jer..! The video, like the track is so well written and assembled...

And without any further ado, the bookender:

See ya' next time...!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Fuzz, Feedback & NOISE (jer's picks 01/09/12)

I'm going with a theme for this week's post...

Jesus and Mary Chain - Never Understand
One of the most obvious choices for this week's theme is the Jesus and Mary Chain, and while they toned down the noise later on in the band's career, many of the tracks off Psychocandy were just like this one, but this is one of the more feedback-laden numbers on the album:

My Bloody Valentine - Sometimes
Also associated with shoegaze, My Bloody Valentine knew how to make some interesting sounds come out of their guitars and the results are sometimes spectacular, like this song, one of the more popular off the Loveless album:

A Place to Bury Strangers - I Know I'll See You
Following in the footsteps of these older bands is a new-ish band called A Place to Bury Strangers, and this isn't their loudest song, but it's their most popular:

Suicide - Cheree
Another noise band from the early 1980s was Suicide, who, at times, is almost hard to listen to. But there's a certain fascination and beauty I find with their songs, a bleakness that is projected from the heart. This is more of a quiet song but if you want intense, check out Frankie Teardrop, which clocks in at over 10 minutes long. Wow:

The Castaways - Liar Liar
And I'm throwing in this 1960s gem, as certain aspects of the song seem to have influeced some of the above bands. I wonder what people thought of the screaming back then in the song? And just for the record, for the longest time I thought this was sing by a woman...