Music Dump - Kanye and Jay-Z's Robyn Warrants Eric Clapton Auto-TuneA recurring feature where we scour the web to bring you the most interesting music articles this week.
Rap Responds To The Riots: ‘They Have To Take Us Seriously’ by Dan Hancox (The Guardian): UK rappers like Lethal Bizzle and Wiley very often come from the same kind of areas where the riots happened, and the same demographic behind the riots is often the same demographic of their fans. Which means that people like Lethal Bizzle are worth listening to when it comes to understanding why the riots happened. Especially as their lyrics have been talking about the lives of lower-class British youth long before anyone else cared. And will probably continue to talk about their lives long after the media starts to focus on other things.
Klosterman Remembers Warrant’s Jani Lane by Chuck Klosterman (Grantland): Recently, the lead singer/songwriter of Warrant – Jani Lane - passed away, dead in a hotel room. In a lot of ways, Chuck Klosterman is the perfect person to write a sympathetic obituary about Jani Lane; he wrote both Fargo Rock City about his shameless love for cheesy glam metal bands from the '80s, and Killing Yourself To Live, about the meaning of rock and roll deaths. And it probably says a lot about the way we relate to music that Lane only wrote 'Cherry Pie' after the record company thought that 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' - the song about race relations that Lane wanted to be the first single - was too sophisticated; he shat out 'Cherry Pie' in 15 minutes, and basically regretted it ever since.
Girlfriends And Whores by Isabel Cole (Very Filled With Dreams): One of Swedish pop whiz Robyn’s more controversial songs is 'Call Your Girlfriend', in which Robyn sings from the point of view of ‘the other woman’, telling her lover to call his girlfriend in order to tell her he has been having an affair. Part of the genius in the song is its ambiguity; Robyn doesn't make it obvious whether we're supposed to like or dislike her character. Is she doing the honorable thing, or is she a scarlet woman, manipulating her man? Isabel here argues that Robyn is neither of those things; she's merely a person who makes mistakes, like anybody else. The adulterer in the situation can make their own decisions about who they wants to sleep with, and if they choose to sleep with Robyn, that's their choice as much as hers.
The Gregory Brothers Auto-Tune The World by Dave Itzkoff (New York Times): A profile of the family group who first came to prominence with their ‘Auto-Tune The News’ YouTube videos, and who have since made a tidy income for themselves, making novelty tunes by 'songifying' viral videos.
They're also the group responsible for turning Antoine Dodson's outburst about his sister's attempted rapist into a hit song, 'Bed Intruder Song'. A modern success story!
The author argues that the key component in their success, to their comedy, apart from their ability to latch onto big memes really early, is their musical nous - they have an unusual ability to pick which speakers most naturally have a musicality to their speaking voice, and how to arrange the vocals to get the best musical effect.
Eric Clapton To Release New Album Inspired By Blues Music (The Onion): The title is self-explanatory. In other news, the next AC/DC album is likely to involve puerile double entendres, raspy vocals, nasty grooves, paeans to the existential necessity of rock and roll, and a couple of really good guitar riffs.
Watch The Throne: Uneasy Heads Wear Gaudy Crowns by Nitsuh Abebe (New York Magazine): Nitsuh Abebe's not the first to point out that Jay-Z and Kanye West’s new album about how rich they are, isn't necessarily the most sympathetic topic matter. Nor that the album is pretty average. But he has an interesting, clear-eyed perspective on the album; he feels it's the kind of thing that, in 50 years, will be seen as a fascinating document of its era. Also see his outtakes post on Tumblr - his editor figures everyone already knows that Kanye’s a jackass, and so edited out some of Abebe’s best lines about him.
Torn And Frayed: The Story of The Replacements’ 1987 Classic Pleased To Meet Me by Ted Drozdowski (Gibson Guitar News): One thing to remember with all those hopelessly drugged up/fucked up musicians who somehow make transcendent music, is that the more fucked-up they are, the more the record you like is probably the result of a good producer. And there’s an art to keeping people like that focused in the studio. So, the Replacements were a famously unreliable, inebriated 80s band who were not inclined to take shit from people; the kind of band with the chutzpah to call an album 'Let It Be'. Which is cool romantic mythology and all, but if they were so wasted, how the hell did they manage to record any half-decent albums? Here the author talks to the studio personnel who recorded their album Pleased To Meet Me – including Jim Dickinson, who recorded Big Star’s Third - on how they tiptoed around the band dynamics and drunkenness in order to come up with something worth discussing 24 years later.
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