2015 January

In Time by The Black Keys

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TBK “In Time” – Another example of how the band’s sound has evolved.  Auerbach busts out a falsetto on this song, which starts off with a strong keyboard line.  But it doesn’t take long for the louder drums and guitar to kick in, but still at a slower pace.  Again, another track with a prominent bass line in the verse (remember these guys didn’t have a bass player for much of their career).  The chorus is a big sing-a-long, which is also unusual for these guys.  There are also great production touches throughout the track.  This song has a really nice groove, and when you’re listening to it you just need to latch onto it and go along for the ride.

Got Love by Tove Lo

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“Got Love” is from the “couple” section of the album.  This track is a good example of the solid pop hooks in her songwriting and how parts of the song can get stuck on loops in your head.    The verses do a great job of setting up the buoyant and joyful chorus on this track.  Tove does a nice job of hitting her lyrics right on the movements of the music, which creates a great flow.  In fact, what gets stuck in my head is the music and her voice, but I don’t even remember the lyrics and it doesn’t matter. Hope you enjoy it!

Not on drugs by Tove Lo

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“Not On Drugs” – One more song from the first section of the album, this track slows things down a bit and shows a slightly different side to Tove Lo.  Her album title is pulled from a lyric in this track.  Once again, Tove does a greatjob crafting her lyrics around the electronic sounds and beats, and setting up her hook-filled choruses. 

Timebomb by Tove Lo

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“Timebomb”– this track is from the “dating” section (actually Tove Lo has officially labeled the three sections as “The Sex”, “The Love” and “The Pain”).  Here again, is a great example of a well-crafted pop song.  The chorus once again is big and bombastic.  I bet Katy Perry would have loved to have got her hands on this song.

Waiting on Words by The Black Keys

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TBK “Waiting On Words” – Auerbach brings the falsetto out again at the beginning of this song, which has some nice subtle guitar work early on.  The main riff is timeless sounding, and adds a lot of emotion to the song.  This may be one of the most melancholy songs on the album.  You can feel the wistfulness throughout the track.  You can also hear the fingerprint of Danger Mouse on this song, as well as elements of Broken Bells.

I recommend going to Spotify to hear the song

Rent I Pay by Spoon

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Spoon “Rent I Pay” – This song kicks off the album and leads with a giant drum sound and nice cymbal sounds followed by a ringing crunchy guitar as the band locks into the groove.  Daniel’s vocals come in and he’s sounding looser and bouncier than typical to match the music.  As the track rolls along, you hear the slightly distorted bass popping in places, other guitars augmenting the sound and some really nice cymbal strikes.  This track is an early favorite, driven by its immediacy and hard hitting sound.  And even though you can’t hear it, the second track works so well following this one. 

Bullet in the Brain by The Black Keys

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TBK “Bullet In The Brain”– Possibly my favorite song on the new album, this track shows up right in the middle of the album.  It starts off really slow with Dan softly singing and strumming an acoustic guitar, as other instruments slowly come into the mix.  This provides a nice build for the song, which then launches into an entirely different gear after about a minute into the track.  At this point when the first verse kicks in, there’s a great bass line that is prominent in the mix along with some trademark Danger Mouse tinkling keyboard sounds.  There is also a haunting keyboard sound that permeates the song.  Anyway, this track is one I find popping into my brain all the time when I think about the current album. 

(could only find live versions of the song)

Marvin Gaye’s Heirs Win $7.4 Million for ‘Blurred Lines’ Plagiarism!

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Plagiarism occurs frequently in literature and books, but you don’t often notice it in musical writing unless you pay close attention to the music and are familiar with it. But, that still doesn’t stop some musical artists from trying to copy another musician’s beats and melodies. Recently the heirs of Marvin Gaye were awarded $7.4 million after winning a plagiarism lawsuit against recording artists known as Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. A civil jury believed they committed plagiarism against the late soul singer with their very popular “Blurred Lines” song. The court believed that many elements from the song were taken from Gaye’s 1977 hit song “Got to Give it Up.” The heirs of Gaye received $ 4 million in damages from the plagiarism and an additional $3.4 million from the profits made by Williams and Thicke.
Over the years there have been other lawsuits formed by the heirs of Gaye’s estate, which primarily consist of his children. Rapper T.I. and a few other music recording companies had been sued by the estate, but they were cleared of any copyright infringement claims. But, Thicke and Williams were not so lucky. It is just very clear that their song is similar to Gaye’s song. Under United States Copyright laws, someone is guilty of copyright infringement if their work is significantly similar to someone else’s work. However, no one can copyright an idea or concept. So if someone wanted to write a song that was about the same topic as another person’s song, they would not be guilty of copyright infringement as long as their work was original. The same goes for the musical elements as well.
Pharrell Williams, who was the producer of Blurred Lines, acknowledged in court that he has been a fan of Gaye’s music since he was a child, but he claimed that “Got to Give it Up” and “Blurred Lines” were only similar by its genre. The defendants claimed the musical melodies only had a strong resemblance to each other. But the plaintiff pointed out there were several occasions where the musical melodies sounded the same and that it was a direct copy of Gaye’s song.
There are groups of people who may agree with both sides. It is really up to people’s interpretation on what they think. The defendants did not claim to plagiarize Gaye’s work, but the heirs of Gaye believe otherwise. Perhaps the defendants were inspired by Gaye’s work and subconsciously implemented his tunes into their own song. This case should be a lesson to all musicians that their music has to come directly from them and nowhere else.