It’s been a really terrible few weeks for new music. So I present to you a favorite from 2015. Excellent studio production from British producer duo Snakehips. A fantastic, soulful vocal performance from Kaleem Taylor. Five years on, this holds up nicely.
When done right, Vocoder harmony is a really great sound. Imogen Heap’s Hide & Seek is the quintessential example. Chord OverStreet’s implementation is different, but really well done. The dreamy guitar with the attack removed, (a la Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,”) creates a fantastic atmosphere. I appreciate that he leaves nice pauses between the phrases in the chorus. Most popular music today doesn’t have the courage to take a moments like this, moments to let things breath and sink in. Claude Debussy is quoted as saying that “music is the space between the notes.” Glad to see that they decided to be patient and not rush through it. The chord choices are interesting and not just the obvious ones to go with the melody, and the multipart harmony in the bridge is a nice bonus. I would have liked the bridge to go a little further than it did.
This does fall under the category of “Pathetic Guy Song.” I would advise any guy who feels this way about a woman to seek therapy. You’re in for some really bad times.
When I saw the actual lyrics, I was disappointed. I liked what I thought I’d heard better:
I can take the losing sleep,
There’s pills to help anxiety,
I would take the mess you leave,
If I could give you what you need
A nice bubble gum pop record to groove out to. Nice rhythm guitar. The lyrics are a little silly… I guess he doesn’t have a girlfriend, so he’s decided his car is his girlfriend. Is he officially saying he’s a mechanophiliac? (You didn’t know that was a thing, did you?) Or is he just trying to turn his lemons into lemonade?
This is Max Martin’s 23rd number 1 record and with good reason. You can tell top shelf producers by what they decide not to do. Max Martin’s records are usually stripped down to their most basic parts. He takes those basics and perfects them. No gimmicks, no ProTools plug-in du jour, no adding unnecessary layers. He’s laser focused on just those elements that make a song great, catchy, and memorable. When in doubt, leave it out. 30 years from now, this will still be a great sounding record. Congratulations, Max. You make it look easy.
I’m not so into country music and yes, this song is a bit corny. But I think this track does what country music is supposed to do. This covid-19 thing is awful and singing along with a good ol’ boy while he sings the blues is an American tradition and I like it. By the way, I’d like to know exactly what it is that Luke Combs.
If you want to hear an artist do a cover that’s better than the original, this would be a good example. Post Malone’s original version makes some odd choices. The auto-tune on the vocals makes it sound flat and lifeless. The warbling effect on the vocals during the chorus is distracting, and the whole sonic presentation seems muted, accentuating odd and annoying frequencies.
Dashboard Confessional brings life back to this track addressing the problems mentioned above. Nice job!
For a second, I thought Kelly Ripa made a record. I like this track despite several things I don’t like about it. Way overboard on the auto-tune. The same three chords are repeated throughout the song, verses and chorus. How about changing things up for the Chorus, huh? And there’s no bridge. A really good bridge would have propelled this song into something quite excellent. Look for an acoustic version if you prefer that kind of thing.