Monday, May 7, 2012

Sometimes the Rain, Groovin' When I Hear The Sound: Song and Sample

(hey there, no, I do not know how to parse that line in the title either.)

One of the great joys of living in our modern era is that it is a time of great musical experimentation and homage. Critics of modern pop music, particularly of hip-hop and R & B, will try to convince you that we've reached a totally unoriginal, soulless point in music because so many popular songs use samples of older songs. I disagree. Also I should note that by "critics of modern pop music" I mean "a random sample of YouTube commenters"--because I spend a fair amount of time on what one might call the "old music" YouTube circuit, I've noticed that infallibly at LEAST one person will feel compelled by whatever 70s jam we are watching to comment that music is SO crappy these days and THIS is real music.

The thing is, everybody feels that way about everything and has forever. That is one of the main lessons of history.

And music history in particular has so many loops and swirls and everyone influences each other and uses everyone else, but I think that is joyful because it is music, it is supposed to connect people across times and cultures.

LET's do it again. And again and again.


The song: The Staples Singers and Curtis Mayfield, "Let's Do It Again"; 1975

The song: John Legend ft Kanye West, "Number One" (samples "Let's Do It Again"); 2004

(On a lyrical note, how wonderful/awful is that song?? Do I agree with the moral component inherent in a song that is basically saying Yes I cheat on you baby, but I am really good at cheating on you baby? No. Obviously not. But damn it, this is pop music not church. And if we're talking about grand traditions in history, living vicariously through the dirty deeds of musicians is Right Up There.)