Music Appreciation

Kanye: Unplugged

Heard 'Em Say by Vitamin String Quartet on Grooveshark

You're up on the Vitamin String Quartet, right? In case you aren't: they're an L.A. based musical group that does instrumental covers of every artist you already know and love. Their oeuvre is massive, with everyone from the Tupac to The White Stripes, KISS and the Beach Boys, and their Spotify is always good for spending too much time choosing a song blindly and trying to guess it. Among their best, though, is their tribute to noted rapper, producer and former MTV News Man of the Year Kanye West. His tribute [...]


Recording "Sweet Home Alabama" During the Civil Rights Movement

In honor of the release of 20 Feet from Stardom, a documentary about backup singers that comes out in NYC and LA tonight, Fader sheds some light on how new recording methods are leading to the disappearance of this already-hidden world:

“I did an interview with producer Paul Epworth [who's worked with Florence and the Machine, Paul McCartney, Azealia Banks, Bloc Party],” Neville recalled. “And he said, ‘I’ve never hired a professional backup singer in my life. When Adele did “Rolling in the Deep” she sent me a hard drive of 60 takes of her doing all the back-up vocals.’”

In the piece there's also a great [...]


“Break Free” vs. “Oops!… I Did It Again”: A Scientific Music Video Comparison of Girls In Space

On Tuesday, tiny pop star and popular Taco Bell order Ariana Grande released a music video for her latest single "Break Free," which is set in outer space and features an outsize amount of backstory yet does not in any way reference Britney Spears' important 2000 cultural contribution in "Oops I Did It Again." This posed for me an irresistible opportunity to examine each video in exhaustive comparative detail. 

The General Deal

Break Free

The song is a breakup track and the video is set in space. One might argue that space is the last place that a person might actually want to “break [...]


Why I Have To Be So "Rude"

"Rude" is the #1 song in America; “Rude” is a strong contender for the worst song I have ever heard. For the lucky uninitiated, I can only explain “Rude” like this: it’s the aural equivalent of a man listening to reggae for the first time in his racecar bed, slowly fucking the hole in a Kidz Bop CD.

Here, take a dip, the water's absolutely disgusting!

Ostensibly, the success of Magic!’s “Rude” can at least partially be explained by the history of American top 40's irregular dabbles in reggae, which have tended to appear in the form of one-offs rather than any tangible wave: “I Can See Clearly Now” in [...]