(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘pop

“So sa-a-a-ad that you’re leaving”*…

 

autotune-header-edit2

It happened exactly 36 seconds into the song—a glimpse of the shape of pop to come, a feel of the fabric of the future we now inhabit. The phrase “I can’t break through” turned crystalline, like the singer suddenly disappeared behind frosted glass. That sparkly special effect reappeared in the next verse, but this time a robotic warble wobbled, “So sa-a-a-ad that you’re leaving.”

The song, of course, was Cher’s “Believe,” a worldwide smash on its October 1998 release. And what we were really “leaving” was the 20th century.

The pitch-correction technology Auto-Tune had been on the market for about a year before “Believe” hit the charts, but its previous appearances had been discreet, as its makers, Antares Audio Technologies, intended. “Believe” was the first record where the effect drew attention to itself…

And an era was born.  We’ve looked at Auto-Tune before (see here for an example of the difference the technology can make, here, and here); now, from our friends at Pitchfork, an in-depth history of the most important pop innovation of the last 20 years: “How Auto-Tune Revolutionized the Sound of Popular Music.”

* Cher, “Believe”

###

As we pine for authentic imperfection, we might recall that it was on this date in 1901 that the Victor Talking Machine Company was incorporated.  A phonograph manufacturer and record company, it operated on disc record patents that it soon licensed to the Columbia Record Company as well (reinforcing Victor’s position as the leading phonograph manufacturer).  In 1929, Victor was merged into RCA.

 

Written by LW

October 3, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Pop music has been exhausted”*…

 

 

… and so it becomes the subject of art.

A year ago, local artist Elle Luna challenged artists from around the world with her “100-Day Project,” an idea with a simple premise: do the same thing every day for a hundred days — draw a doodle, write a poem, whatever — and document the results.

San Francisco–based designer Katrina McHugh responded by making infographics based on popular song lyrics that reference the natural world, mirroring the style of vintage encyclopedias she inherited from her grandfather. The project, titled “100 Days of Lyrical Natural Sciences,” is a gorgeous and hilarious exercise in taking metaphor too literally…

Try your hand at identifying the songs in question at “Classic Pop Songs, Reimagined as Infographics.”

* Brian Wilson

###

As we tap our toes, we might spare a thought for Cabell “Cab” Calloway III; he died on this date in 1994.  A master of scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s to the late 1940s, regularly performing at the Cotton Club in Harlem.  His band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton.  His “Minnie the Moocher” was the first jazz record to sell 1 million copies.

email readers click here for video

Written by LW

November 18, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Shapeshifting requires the ability to transcend your attachments”*…

 

Felix van Groeningen’s film Belgica is fueled by a soundtrack featuring 16 very different bands, from electronica…

email readers click here for video

to emo…

email readers click here for video

And from rock…

email readers click here for video

to metal…

email readers click here for video

… and a dozen more.   Or so, at first glance, it seems.  In fact, all sixteen bands are the fabricated products of a single protean group– Soulwax.

Zeena Schreck

###

As we decide that it’s time for a change, we might recall that it was on this date in 1981 that Australian actor and musician Rick Springfield released his first #1 hit, “Jesse’s Girl.”  He followed with four more top 10 US hits, “I’ve Done Everything for You”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Affair of the Heart” and “Love Somebody,” and with two US top 10 albums, Working Class Dog (1981) and Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet (1982)– all while starring as surgeon-playboy Noah Drake in television’s longest-running soap opera, General Hospital.

email readers click here for video

 

Written by LW

February 23, 2016 at 1:01 am

“It’s really hard to imagine there ever being the kind of impact there was when punk rock happened in the late 70’s”*…

 

The late 1970s pulsated with an electric energy. Conceptual art and interdisciplinary art replaced Minimal Art. Rock musicians and artists alike were graduating from art schools. Painters were making films. Writers were doing performance art. Sculptors were doing installations. Artists were acting in films, making music and collaborating with each other.

It was in this milieu that I taught photography at Queens College and NYU by day and went out every night to hear music at CBGB’s, Max’s and the Mudd Club, which was also a venue for various artistic events, film showings, readings and theme parties. Guilty at spending so much time in clubs, I convinced myself that my photographic forays into the night, were my art. After taking candid pictures backstage or in dressing rooms at clubs, I would often invite people to my studio for photo sessions where atmosphere could be generated, lighting could be manipulated and props could be employed. My work with the Soho Weekly News, New York Magazine and other periodicals gave me access to photograph people who were well known in the popular culture…

Photographer Marcia Resnick recalls her career, and explains the story behind her new book:

More bad boys (and girls) on Resnick’s site.

* “It’s really hard to imagine there ever being the kind of impact there was when punk rock happened in the late 70’s. I wish there would be one big change like that again, but I don’t know if that’ll ever happen.”  – Penelope Spheeris

###

As we strike a pose, we might send tuneful birthday greetings to Barry Mann; he was born on this date in 1939.  With his wife, Cynthia Weil, Mann wrote scores of hit songs including “On Broadway” for the Drifters, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” for the Righteous Brothers, “Kicks” and “Hungry” for Paul Revere & the Raiders, “We’ve Gotta’ Get Out Of This Place” for the Animals, “Walkin’ In The Rain” for the Ronettes, and “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” for Eydie Gorme,  Mann and Weil are members of both the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and fellow-tunesmith Carole King (whose birthday is also today)

source

 

Written by LW

February 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The empty vessel makes the greatest sound”*…

 

Hours of fun!

* Shakespeare, Henry V (quoting a proverbial saying often attributed to Plato)

###

As we become one with the Cosmos, we might recall that it was on this date in 1966 that Capitol Records released the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.”  Reputedly the most expensive single ever produced to that date, it’s in any case true that composer and producer Brian Wilson is credited with a huge step forward in the use of the recording studio as an “instrument” in its creation  The record was the Beach Boys’ third #1 song in the U.S. (their first in the U.K.) and has been included in both the Grammy and the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

 source

 

Written by LW

October 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment / You own it, you better never let it go”*…

 

From the good folks at Polygraph, Spotify playcounts analyzed to understand how generations remember music, over time: “The most timeless songs of all time.”

* Eminem, “Lose Yourself”

###

As we ponder our playlists, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that “The Loco-Motion” hit #1 on the pop charts in the U.S.  Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote the tune for Dee Dee Sharp (who then had a monster hit with “Mashed Potatoes”), but Sharp demurred.  Goffin and King then turned to their babysitter, Eva Boyd, who took the stage name “Little Eva.”

The song appeared in the American Top 5 three times – each time in a different decade, performed by artists from three different cultures: originally African American pop singer Little Eva in 1962 (U.S. No. 1); then American band Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 (U.S. No. 1); and finally Australian singer Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. No. 3). It was the second song to reach No. 1 by two different musical acts; the first, “Go Away Little Girl,” was also written by Goffin and King.

email readers click here for video

 

Written by LW

August 26, 2015 at 1:01 am

“We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones”*…

 

email readers click here for video

The very first motion picture filmed underwater, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1916 silent film adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel of the same name, as well as incorporating elements from his The Mysterious Island. Directed by Stuart Paton, the underwater scenes were not actually filmed using underwater cameras but rather a system of watertight tubes and mirrors which allowed the camera to shoot reflected images of underwater scenes staged in shallow sunlit waters. Made by The Universal Film Manufacturing Company (now Universal Pictures), not then known as a major motion picture studio, it was incredibly expensive to produce and, according Hal Erickson [bio here], put “the kibosh on any subsequent Verne adaptations for the next 12 years”…

Public Domain Review

* Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

###

As we dive, dive, dive, we might recall that it was on this date in 1963 that Peter, Paul, and Mary released their third single, “Puff, The Magic Dragon.”  Their most successful release to date, it reached No. 2 on the US singles chart. (And in a poignant reminder of how unifying a cultural force pop radio was in those days, this softest of soft folk tunes also made the top 10 on the R&B charts.)

The music was written by Peter (Yarrow), to lyrics by a 19-year-old Cornell student, Leonard Lipton, a friend of Yarrow’s housemate at the time.  Lipton, visiting when Yarrow was away, had typed the poem on Yarrow’s typewriter and left a copy behind by accident.  Yarrow searched for Lipton in order to share the songwriting credit, and found him (serving as a camp counselor).  Lipton, who went on to great success as a filmmaker and inventor of stereo-optic and 3D film techniques, still receives royalties on the song.

Beyond its appreciable success, the tune is noteworthy as the song that ushered in the age of veiled (or not so veiled) drug references in pop music… though Yarrow always insisted that it’s about the passage of time and the loss of childhood innocence.  More at MusicFilmWeb… or readers can judge for themselves:

email readers click here for video

 

Written by LW

March 16, 2015 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: