“The making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.” (High Fidelity)
Over the past few weeks, one of my work projects has me thinking about playlists a lot: about how they can capture a mood perfectly, about how they can change your mood more effectively than almost anything else, and how they indeed are a very subtle art.
As the first of what might become a regular feature of this blog, I’m going to share a playlist. This one seeks to capture the feeling of the song title that wraps it up: one Sunday morning.
Here’s the screen shot of the songs and artists; below is a link that will take you to the music itself (technology willing). Enjoy.
Is digital technology decimating our attention spans? With anything (literally, anything) just a few clicks away, it would seem quite logical to conclude that our collective cultural focus is destined to flit about at ever more fickle speeds.
Yet, intriguingly, the evidence stacks up to the contrary. If you check the top rated TV shows, few titles are new. And, amidst the rubble of what once was the music industry, Adele proved that even today you can freeze the world in a musical Medusa gaze for months upon months upon months.
Of the many important factors that propelled her gravity-defying ubiquity, remixes and covers played an unheralded but central role. It was not Adele alone who kept “Rolling in the Deep” on replay. Rather, a lengthy roster of artists who are superstars in their own right jumped on board to do their part to keep the bandwagon rolling. Here are two of the better remixes/covers that give even the most familiar song a bit of fresh life.
When an artist sells 13 million copies of an album, it’s bound to draw a follower or two. Though there’s good reason why you haven’t heard much of the many Adele-ites that have developed a sudden fascination with soul, a soulful voice that’s worth watching is Cold Specks. Though she hails from Canada and currently lives in London, Cold Specks (nee Al Spx) sounds as if she were plucked from an antebellum choir. Such songs don’t exactly scream “pop hit,” but one might have said the same of Adele. Take a listen.
Once a DJ, always a DJ. After you’ve spent some time looking to match music to moments, you never can quite get that need out of your system. Dinner party? I’ve got the soundtrack. A long run? I’ve got the playlist.
Yet another trip to St. Louis? Well, if I must, this might help.
In his new mixtape, Mike Posner nods to the DJ in us all by tagging tracks with the activity for which the track is recommended. Here are two travel-worthy tracks that give new life to Elton John and Oasis.
In today’s digital music landscape, what’s a good bellwether for the real cultural resonance of song?
I’d suggest that, as we can see now with Adele, the metric of the moment is the number of remixes and remakes a song sparks.
“Rolling in the Deep” is, in itself a good song. Maybe a great song (maybe). But the number of headline-worthy acts that have been inspired (or encouraged) to reinterpret the song is striking. And, as is the case with many markers of popularity, these homages don’t just serve to identify this song as hot; they in turn serve to further the song’s popularity. In this music landscape fueled by what’s hot this very moment, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd of constantly new takes on a hit.
Here are three of the better ones. The first, a soulful a capella take from John Legend.
To take this meta for a moment, here is someone by the name of Copycat who is re-mixing the John Legend re-make of the Adele hit. Phew. I think this version sort of sucks, but it sure does make the point doesn’t it?