Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: The Story

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  • Megan Wegan,

    I do have a worry that Haim will sound like Shania Twain.

    I've basically been listening to Lorde, Haim, and david dallas on repeat for months. I really like Haim, and their story. (Though, yes, Shania adjacent.) And so, here they are, crushing Miley's Wrecking Ball.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    "there are no orchestras"

    and thank goodness for that - there are a few moments on the album when I feared the introduction of a string section... just not needed given the sparse soundtrack her voice inhabits

    Cheese On Toast nails it:

    "Royals is how most people came across Lorde and it remains one of the best pop song’s written. In 10-20-30 years time your kid’s kids will know this song. Mark my words"

    http://cheeseontoast.co.nz/2013/09/27/pure-heroine-by-lorde-first-impressions-track-by-track/

    She is simply just fab!

    Next week is her best shot at the number one slot in the USA, according to more informed minds than mine - I hope she gets there and then the album follows suit...

    reggae remix of Royals

    https://soundcloud.com/namdrik16/lorde-royals-reggae-remix

    Great EDM links - stupid genre for stupid wealthy people, viva la dance!

    https://soundcloud.com/grass-green-recordings/darren-clark-suzy-128k-preview

    its been a bloody great music week!

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I don't think that EDM article's very nice. I'm sure Afrojack has a mum and family who'll be really offended by some snotty upperclass magazine suggesting he doesn't know what a bar is. (Every piece of production software I've ever seen works in bars. Even FL Studio. Unless he gets someone else to hit the keys, he's got to know what a bar is) It's just working on stereotypes of black people being dumb gangstas only interested in bling.

    Also, they seem to be upset that their hermetic world of mystical clubs with elitist door policies like the Paradise Garage has been corrupted into a commercial scene for drunken teens with fake ID, off their faces on PBR and heavily stamped on molly. They omit where that music's been between 1987 and 2013 - through the whole trance/hardcore scene in Europe, the UK (and even NZ) - then back into the US for a new generation that's tired of pretending to be a thug.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    When did you last see a chart-topping pop record sold on its words?

    Ummm.... never, I think. But I would argue that the mark of a truly great songwriter is that their lyrics can stand on their own as poetry. Not sure if Lorde's quite there yet, but she's certainly showing promise. Must go check out more of her songs.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Nora Leggs,

    Attachment

    Noticed in Lorne Street the Byword
    Lorde nearly engraved in stone...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 2700 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Given that the vast majority of the music I like is electronic, and much of it is intended for dancing, it took me a while to realise that "Electronic Dance Music" had become a Thing, a catch-all term for mainstream house/pop/brostep/electro/whatever. Hearing some of the music and seeing the culture around it, I can understand the hatred of the commercial side of it to some extent, but is it new? After all, in the 90s when I was geeking out to Orbital, Sven Väth and Autechre, the charts were full of Republica and 2 Unlimited, which were just as cheesy and commercial as Calvin Harris and Deadmau5. Or is this new to America?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    “Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’

    The fascinating thing for me about this quote is that Taylor Swift is not flawless. Her makeup might be, she certainly wears clothes that accentuate the positive, and she knows exactly how to smile and work the camera, but look at her face, she isn’t symetrical, she doesn’t have a perfect face at all. Yet she is perceived by Lorde as flawless.

    I would bet money that Taylor Swift doesn’t think she is flawless in the same way that Lorde implies that she herself is, well, normal.

    To me both of them have the beauty of all young people, enhanced by a smile and in Lorde’s case especially, interesting because she is expressive. I really wish they could see themselves that way.

    Oh and Nora that is a great picture, you have a special eye.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Tom Beard,

    the modern day EDM movement is relatively new(ish) to the US as it is shown in those links- ie brash, money driven and largely musically vacuous with posing DJs who gesture madly whilst a pre mixed CD or file plays (paris hilton et al) is the embodiment of its form. But its not new per se.

    There's always been a solid club culture in the US for electronic music in all its forms and always will be - this continues largely untouched by EDM.

    The "rave" scene that was big and flourishing with the alternative lifestyle and college kid crowd has to varying degrees been the platform for EDM to spring from - a highly commercialised variant of. Not that dissimilar to the superclubs trance ruled in the UK and the mecca that is ibiza for the party crew.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    ...

    but is it new?

    I don't if anyone else saw it but I've not seen it linked here but Questlove was interviewed on Democracy Now on Face TV last month:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/14/questlove_on_his_musical_upbringing_hip
    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/14/questlove_on_police_racial_profiling_stop (I've inducluded the link rather just the video for the transciption for those that prefer the words...)

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Tom Beard,

    It's just new to America.

    < gross oversimplification >
    Basically, dance music has evolved along various paths from the initial prototypes of disco, early house and electronic music pioneers such as Kraftwerk and New Order.

    Outside the US, you had the stuff you mention, plus acid house and its progeny. In the 90's, dance music did a big fork into ghetto (rap, garage, etc) and posh (trance, house, psy. And hardcore, really). The US wasn't part of this - apart from a small underground (like Rabbit in the Moon) their scene was pretty much rap.

    (This was affected by the US music industry taking a much less lenient approach to uncleared samples, inhibiting a lot of the creativity that European producers were able to bring in making and distributing white labels of dubious legality)

    In the last few years, the commercial music industry in the US has finally cottoned on to the dance-music-not-rap thing as something the kids might like. Also, MDMA. They've given this the new name of EDM, but basically, it's the same music than in 2005 would just have been a form of 'ouse.

    < / gross oversimplification >

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I really like Haim, and their story. (Though, yes, Shania adjacent.) And so, here they are, crushing Miley’s Wrecking Ball.

    I really dislike both versions of Wrecking Ball! But I think that song might work if delivered very straight and understated and slow. The lyrics are screechy enough without being screeched or yelled. Imagine how Norah Jones would do it. That’d be my pick.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I would bet money that Taylor Swift doesn’t think she is flawless in the same way that Lorde implies that she herself is, well, normal.

    I wouldn't want to put words in her mouth, but I think the "flawless" thing implies more than just her appearance. Swift has a very carefully crafted "good girl next door" thing going on. And yeah, the lyrics of some of her songs are really not doing much for young women.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to bob daktari,

    Not that dissimilar to the superclubs trance ruled in the UK and the mecca that is ibiza for the party crew.

    That's kind of what I was thinking: it doesn't seem that much different from Ministry of Sound, Gatecrasher and Slinky compilations of the 90s/00s, just with less open hi-hat and more sidechain compression. But now that it's hit America, after the failed 90s bid to get mainstream US success for "electronica" (what I knew as "Big Beat": Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Crystal Method etc) it seems to have become a thing that's attracted MSM attention enough to have these snarky "destroy your faith in humanity" articles.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    And yeah, the lyrics of some of her songs are really not doing much for young women.

    They've been doing great things for the master race, though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I wouldn’t want to put words in her mouth, but I think the “flawless” thing implies more than just her appearance. Swift has a very carefully crafted “good girl next door” thing going on. And yeah, the lyrics of some of her songs are really not doing much for young women.

    Swift is in her early 20s, but sings as an idealised version of a young teenager. I doubt being a teen was like that, even for her.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Lilith __,

    Swift is in her early 20s, but sings as an idealised version of a young teenager. I doubt being a teen was like that, even for her.

    Yep. The lyrics for Fifteen are...not very nuanced.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Tom Beard,

    the 90s bid was no failure - seeds sown... and all that

    EDM rides the "celeb" culture marketing train and as such will attract peoples condemnation (rightly so in my head). Not for music people.

    exhibit a:

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Basically, dance music has evolved along various paths from the initial prototypes of disco, early house and electronic music pioneers such as Kraftwerk and New Order.

    And the Chicago house pioneers , Derrick Carter et al in Detroit, Larry Levan et al in New York. They arguably invented it, and then started having Top 10 hits in Britain.

    In the last few years, the commercial music industry in the US has finally cottoned on to the dance-music-not-rap thing as something the kids might like. Also, MDMA. They’ve given this the new name of EDM, but basically, it’s the same music than in 2005 would just have been a form of ’ouse.

    I think Tom's closer linking it to big beat. There's the brostep element too. And it's in stadiums, and the DJs feel no compunction about turning up and pressing play on their pre-recorded sets. The booze thing too. I dunno, I just dislike most of what I hear with the "EDM" label on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lilith __,

    Swift is in her early 20s, but sings as an idealised version of a young teenager. I doubt being a teen was like that, even for her.

    I’d warmly recommend laying hands on Tracey Thorn’s Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be A Pop Star. Not your average rock memoir, and among much else really sharp (and more than a little pissed off) at how deeply inauthentic and damaging demands for some unattainable standard of “authenticity” can be.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Crystal Method etc

    Was it Gordon Campbell who called them "the Bachman-Turner Overdrive of dance music"? That was gold.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Basically, dance music has evolved along various paths from the initial prototypes of disco, early house and electronic music pioneers such as Kraftwerk and New Order.

    Mentioning those last two is important (at least for the way I understand dance music history: others may have very different outlooks). While Russell wrote of "modern dance music -- a form created by the most marginalised Americans in tough, urban environments", I think that there a few geeky white guys in Düsseldorf, Manchester, Munich and Basildon who had a fair bit to do with it too.

    But the cross-cultural linkages between black and white, Europe and America, streetwise and academic, dancefloor and headphones make the whole field ("genre" is too narrow a word) complex and interesting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    Well, if Royals is played on the background soundtrack at a Subway in Redmond, does that mean Lorde is already passe? I dunno.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Tom Beard,

    when you read interviews with the founders of techno and the visionaries of house from the US they all cite Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode the synth bands of the 80s and the like as major influences on what they went on to create - in many ways they were trying to emulate that which they heard but couldn't afford the gear, the stripped back minimal instrumentation which resulted is their homage

    I've been fortunate to meet and hang with a lot of these people over the years and the single best ice breaker I've found with them is to mention a fondness for 80s synth bands...

    Complex and interesting it is :)

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Beard,

    I think that there a few geeky white guys in Düsseldorf, Manchester, Munich and Basildon who had a fair bit to do with it too.

    Of course -- and the way Afrika Bambaataa et al paid attention to Kraftwerk is one of popular music's great synergies. But Arthur Baker was already working in the studio where New Order came and had the brilliant intuition of 'Blue Monday', and I think the context in which we see dance music was really created in the lofts and warehouses of American inner cities. DJ Pierre discovering that a bass synthesiser didn't have to sound like a lame bass guitar but could instead be made to sound like nothing on earth was a pretty big moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    There is something deeply wrong with me because I looked at and listened to every one of those sound and video tracks, and they just make me sad for the state of music/live entertainment. The entire scene appears to me to be about looking at everyone else and trying to get them to look at you. It reminds me of why I find it harder to enjoy live shows now because there are so many people trying to film themselves and the show on their smartphones so that they can upload their lives to Facebook. Actually taking time to appreciate the artistry of what is being presented is beyond them. Not that there is any great artistry in EDM. I really need to look at why I almost feel angry at seeing the seething masses of people with one arm in the air (the other holding drink or phone) and grinning stupidly at a man with his laptop open - yes, always a man. Obviously, I just don't get it. Sucks for me.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

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