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"2017-08-10 17:08:28"
Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys' Pop Masterpiece
\\is it possible for a song to simultaneously be revered and under appreciated if so I think good vibrations by the beach boys falls into this category music critics have lauded the song and even placed it near the top of several top songs of all time lists yet you seldom hear brought up at parties or played on rock radio it seems at least to me that the song hasn't been canonized and immortalized in the halls of so called classic rock not in the way that bohemian Rhapsody or a day in the life how and I think that's wrong good vibrations is a masterpiece of song writing and production and one that helped set the pace for a golden age of music let's take a closer look I the year was 1966 and psychedelic era was beginning to emerge in American music the Beatles were innovating with their seminal album revolver and across the Atlantic the beach boys were working on their own revolutionary offering pet sounds this is where Brian Wilson began what would become his openness originally meant for sounds good vibrations quickly grew into something else entirely keep in mind this is just a year removed from the beach boys releasing summer days and summer nights that's a fine album but it's one full of simple 2 minute rock and roll this is what a lot of Paul looked like at the time these songs being pumped out in a day or 2 usually using just a few recordings but this isn't the case for good vibrations which took the beach boys more than a dozen sessions across 4 different studios by the time they were done recording the band had more than 90 hours of material on tape including a dozen different instruments and even more vocal harmonies all in all the budget for the single was between 50 and $75000 which is equivalent to somewhere between 370 and $550000 today and the result was incredible and take later in the whole melody and car many through each other the most in use the wall of sound production date the lyrics were simple yet in rapturous and the song structure was absolutely trailblazing let's take a walk through that structure the first verse is built around an ethereal descending chord progression in E. flat minor we assume why players of who and then 24 seconds and we hit the first chorus chorus starts in G. flat major which is the relative major to the verses E. flat minor and then with each repetition the chorus climbs up for providing a counterpoint to the verses descending then we go back to the verse there's a lot we could talk about with the verse but one of my favorite quirks is the baseball hall close and so please listen to how high it is instead of just playing the root of the main chord in the song the base is actually creating a counter at the time almost nobody was using baselines in this way after this verse we return to the chorus carried by a cosmic electrotherapy and of course the beach boys patented harmonies a minute and 40 seconds and we hit the first of 2 interludes music theorist Daniel Harrison called these episodic digressions this section is greeted with a sudden tape splice which is a clear and it between 2 sections that were recorded at different times and studios here we hit my favorite lyric of the song which is beautifully simple but incredibly avaki might normally hold this section a bridge but its musical relationship to the rest of the song isn't quite as clear and instead of coming back to the chorus like a bridge might we cut into another episodic movie this takes place is even more dramatic than the first transitioning into a slow moving mellow episode and now just as were floating through space with the beach boys stunning 5 part harmony wakes you back up as we punch back into the chorus chorus is the reverse direction of the others starting at the flat and working down to G. flat then a series of harmonies carry us to the final section the coda where we ride out on chugging cellos and cosmic therein by the time the song fades we have walked through 6 different sections and journeyed through all 7 degrees of the songs E. flat minor scale in just 3 minutes and 39 seconds Brian Wilson and manage to put together a song dense enough that you could teach on entire music course on it all while maintaining a devotion to have radio friendly ear catching hooks lyrically the song works as a simple upbeat love song but also hints at the eastern philosophy and cosmic thoughts that would soon be taking over the American mainstream with the advent of the psychedelic era Derek Taylor the band's publicist dubbed the song up pocket symphony after the dedication to musicality unique instrument melodies and movements throughout the song good vibrations was one of the first songs to attempt something so ambitious and it succeeds with flying colors the production elements and symphonic structure of the song would be echoed in dozens of songs in the decades to come so whenever you're talking about the greats in rock be sure to give Brian Wilson and the beach boys a little love AMNH yeah hi everyone thanks for watching this video if you like it please like subscribe and share and check on my patriotic you wanna help me make more I also want to shout out right hand file I used one of his essays a lot making this video find a link in the description //
"2017-07-27 16:47:10"
Understanding Arcade Fire: Love in the Reflektive Age
\\over the past century many musicians have sought to write about their place in history to situate themselves in that time period and explore what makes it unique and important I think one of the bands doing that best right now is arcade fire the band have always written incredibly human stories set against the backdrop of modern life so it should come as no surprise that they've tackled one of the biggest questions of our time how does our relationship with technology affect our relationships with each other the band provides a compelling answer in their 2013 album reflector let's take a closer if we really want to dive into reflector a good place to start is Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard his 1846 work to ages a literary review was 1 of front man wind Butler's biggest influences when writing reflector here's one of Butler's favorite quotes from our age is essentially one of understanding and reflection without passion an age which flies into enthusiasm for a moment only to decline back into intellects this sentiment resonated to Butler who thought that it applied to our current age one of reflection devoid of passion thanks in part technology in the opening lines of the album Butler touches on the 2 biggest themes to calm technology and romance WNED the narrators are trapped in the ever pervasive prison of technology falling in love is still a private act but in the modern age everything is a projection a performance in Kierkegaard's reflective age falling in love is something to be judged not celebrated when we fall in love on a stage we're putting forth a character for a friends and love interest we're not being who we truly are this is where regime shot sign chines in in French the digital age how put us in this purgatory then no space between life and death night and day without any true connection the brilliance of this line comes in the dual meaning you could take it to mean land we and all are but also known we in your world meaning boredom and for despite all that we have to entertain us this reflective age has left us in a state of on we unable to find passion the second verse of the song is a straightforward continuation of when we move to the chorus and rage Butler puts forth his judgment yeah it's creating and corrosion Alan favor of riffs my idea over and over team of technology stays strong is the simple message on the third track flash apple pie old photographs deal the spirit of a concept that becomes all the more terrifying in a world where photography is unavoidable and ubiquitous but in this world Butler stand strong he feels he's honest to his true self so he can stand up to the reflective flash no when we the the and well Butler touch form NY of spotlight and that's this NDA school towards the the band erupts stalwart resistance collective judgment Nnamdi the first disc ends on Joan of arc story of someone who became inspired and defied convention only to be brought down and killed by her own people it stresses the reflective nature of this pattern when we enter a reflective age we kill those who dare break free from conformity the isolation that this causes is brought up in here comes the night to dark side causing struggle to a way to the real tragedy the lost found in awful sound and ... over whichever retell the myth of 4 PS and to reduce Greek tragedy did on the album's cover is one of the great love stories of all time when the musicians Orpheus ventures into the underworld to save his dad love Eurydice he is able to cut a deal with Haiti's Orpheus can bring Eurydice out of the underworld under one condition at no point in there were sent to the surface is he allowed to look back at her just a few steps from the surface Orpheus turns around and loses his love forever this is a 14 story that plays into the metaphor of connection for Butler the modern age has us living out his Smith we lead each other blindly in the darkness and when we turned to try to connect we may find each other lost for ever so is there a way to break free from this reflective age is there a way to connect and find passion once more climax of the album afterlife poses this question and the 3 strange you know low in the region if we want to connect people if we want to create as artists we must green and she if we loudly pursue our hopes and dreams if we have no fear what others might say and think then we can break free from this digital prison we can break the mirror and we can and the reflective age //
"2017-07-13 18:35:50"
What Makes John Bonham Such a Good Drummer?
\\Led Zeppelin stormed onto the music scene in 1968 their raucous take on rock and roll redefined the genre and made them the biggest band on earth for the better part of a decade though every member of the band was musically gifted there was one who laid down a rock solid foundation for the group to grow on ask anyone in the band where they're powerful sound came from and they all give you the same answer drummer John Bonham let's take a look at what made Bonzo such a force behind a drum kit the I NDA do you just heard is the intro to good times bad times the opening track to led Zeppelin's debut album for most of the world this song was their introduction to John Bonham and from the first listen his style was evident listen to the bass drum throughout the song instead of playing the bass clean on every beat bottom accents the beat with triplets spices up the rhythm a triplet is a grouping of 3 notes played within the length usually assigned to widen let's give it a listen Nnamdi see how he adds flair to the drumbeat by breaking up the rhythm with these triplets this kind of groove isn't new mind you bottom was heavily influenced by jazz musicians like gene Krupa and Buddy Rich it's just that not many drummers had applied this to a rock contact until Bonham came along let's give a listen to satisfaction by the rolling stones this track was released in 19644 years before Zeppelin hit the scene I I this drumbeat is tight and on top of the beat giving the song that kind of steady urgency now let's compare that to a John Bonham beat check out heartbreaker had I'm notice how throwing in little accents and just changing the flow of the bar it's this kind of laid back rhythm that really helps the band jail with each other and get into a particular kind of groove Bonham got the idea for the syncopated groove I listened to a lot of fun Lee jeans brand this kind of drumming is impressive enough on its own but to truly appreciate John Bonham's greatness we need to look at the way that he worked with his band Ron never seen was an engineer who worked on several Zeppelin albums he said that part of what made the band work so well was the way that Bonzo played along with guitarist Jimmy Page the essence to me of the holes that when things with John Bonham following the guitar he would take the ref and he would make that his drum part instead of just doing it for 4 and getting with the bass player he got in with the guitar player getting in with the guitar riff helps tighten up and energize Led Zeppelin sound listen for it here in the immigrant song and here it is again in the wanton song it's time a little more calm I will give you one more example with when the levee breaks listen to how bottom stays tight with page even when the song changes it's freezing you hear it this kind of chemistry between the band becomes especially important when they move towards more complex pieces of music let's look at Kashmir for example one of the band's most iconic songs so the drum beat of the song is in 44 time meaning that there are 4 beats to a bar 0.25 note is worth one beat 44 time is a pretty standard time signature used in a lot of music especially rock however on top of Bonham steady 44 time the string in guitar are playing in a 34 feel meaning that there's only 3 beats to each phrase as a result the drum and string phrases only sing cop on the strong beat once every 12 beats let's give it a listen I the yeah I'm mixing kind signatures Zeppelin had a kind of tension to the song and it really meshes well with the intense feeling of the escalating strings in order to do these kind of time signature tricks the band needs to be rock solid with their rhythm which comes from Bonham this relationship is pushed to its limits in black dog the song is an acrobatic exercise in time signatures and phrasing but it keeps a steady rock field throughout thanks to bottom one of the most interesting parts of the song is the pre chorus in this section of the guitar and bass riffs actually moved by half a beat each repetition the band is effectively playing in 98 time over bottoms for for drums but you wouldn't know it without a close inspection listen to the way that the guitar hook moves around the drumbeat never matching up in the same part of the box did you hear the weight of the guitar and bass became out of sync with the drums it can almost sound sloppy if you don't realize that every member of the band is working meticulously has a tight unit to create this John Paul Jones called the kind of feeling that it creates a stomp groove and this kind of groove can't exist without Barnum locking down the beat with a less steady drummer this breakdown could have easily fallen into chaos so let's look at one more drum piece fool in the rain is hands down my favorite bottom beat and it's absolutely incredible there's a lot going on in this beat so let's see if we can't break it down so first of all the beat is polyrhythmic meaning that there are 2 different rhythms happening simultaneously one of the rhythms comes from the hi hat where Bonham lays down steady triplets opening and closing the hats for emphasis on certain notes he compliments this with ghost notes on the snare notes that are barely audible and more meant to provide a feel to the song than anything else but if this comes the second rhythm where bonds are plays a suong halftime shuffle on his bass and snare as if the B. wasn't enough piano and guitar lines are playing in 128 time over the 44 beat this gives a syncopated triplet feel to the song that's impossible not to get with let's give it a listen bottom was a truly one of a kind drummer and his steady foundation helped lead Zeppelin do you credible things me even in this video I've only begun to see surface of what made him such a great drummer so next time you're spinning Zeppelin listen a little closer the drum mmhm nnst //
"2017-06-29 18:54:02"
What's the Yams? Kendrick Lamar's Literary References
\\if you're anything like me you might have noticed a particular line the first time you listen to Kendrick Lamar's name kuna this song is a funky braggadocio is wrapped that has Kendrick laying claim to hip hop's drone and then suddenly yeah I would it be so why is Kendrick bringing up starchy vegetables in the middle of this cocky rap well it turns out we can learn a lot about Kendrick Lamar and is 2015 album to pimp a butterfly by digging into this question to pay him the butterfly was one of the most exciting provocative records of its time throughout the album Kendrick taps into a long history of African American art to explore the modern black identity look at the first lines of the seventh track on the album alright the this line is a direct reference to speech and Alice Walker's novel the color purple I had to fight dead ahead to but not because I had to fight my brother jogging see and in the this reference frames Kendricks discussion of the struggles in his life many of which come directly from his blackness a concept that Alice Walker explores in depth in the color purple Kendrick uses these references to contextualize his own lyrics throughout the entire album track 13 the blacker the berry is named after a 1928 novel by Wallace Thurman Thurman's novel tells the story of a dark skinned black woman who experiences discrimination from her lighter skinned black years Kendrick takes on this exact same kind of discrimination in the block of the berry talking about his own relationship if his skin tone as well as that of other people that he knows Kendricks interested lined up well with Thurman's on a philosophical level unlike some of his contemporaries Thurman didn't want to pander to a white audience but instead celebrate and criticize black communities which included taking on issues like skin tone discrimination Kendrick uses the same approach on to pimp a butterfly it's not pandering to white audience it's a celebration of what it is to be black all of this brings us back where we started king Kouga I got a bone I don't want to let you know what the fuck is that number down again king cougar was the best selling and top charting song from flight but that doesn't mean that it's not a literate trash the song frequently references click it can take a character featured in Alex Haley's 1976 openness groups saga of an American family cougar kente is a slave on a Virginia plantation after 4 unsuccessful escape attempts to decapitate gets his feet cut off something that Kendrick references right here do you go to heaven but it won the Cup the lakes when he says that he's in kuta Kendrick is saying that he is both a king and a slave even though Kendrick is rich famous and successful he's still a black man in America one of the biggest artists in the world still struggles with racism and understanding his own identity something that drives the album and this is where the yams fit the yams are one of the most powerful references in the entire album in a perfect example of Kendrick's wordplay he referred to 2 different pieces of literature and then also throw in a sexual euphemism taboo the yams are an important symbol in Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel invisible man the novel is once again an exploration of the black American identity and in it yams are used to represent African heritage the character's roots and authenticity when the narrator eats yams he feels like he's being crude was heritage and there's been no longer cares what people think of so in this sense the answer for Kendrick's own black pride and authenticity a concept that has always been important in the rap community for the yams are just authenticity they can also be representative of fame wealth and power Xinhua check a user's yams in his novel things fall apart the book explores the pre and post colonial lives of Nigeria's evil people yams are one of the most important crops in Ipoh society so in a Chevy is novel P. represent wealth influence and social status or as Kendrick ledet they can just get me but power isn't all good as Kendrick goes on to warn in the next for when they'll fame was a struggle for comedian Richard Pryor who fought addiction and depression his entire career which eventually even culminated in a suicide as for Clinton Kendrick posits that power led him to temptation and corruption which eventually ended up with the Monica Lewinsky oval office the Clinton line is also a double entendre as yams can of course be slang for a woman's legs so the yams are sex power fame money and authenticity all tied up into one brilliant line a pimple butterfly is a masterful album that documents just what it is to be black and famous in modern America and Kendrick is only able to do so thanks to the rich history of African American literature that came before as Kendricks career progresses becoming more and more clear that he's not just a great rapper but he is the next step in a long and rich tradition of black American literature I //
"2017-06-15 19:00:01"
How Jack White Uses Color
\\legend has it early in the white stripes career they got an offer from an independent label called bobsled records the negotiations were going smoothly until the label made one demand they wanted their logo on the white stripes CD spine so why was this a deal breaker it's simple the green logo didn't fit the white stripes color scheme red white and black was a sacred part of what Megan die we're doing Jack White told The New York Times this kind of stalwart devotion to aesthetics has helped Jack White craft standout career let's take a closer look color is one of the most powerful tools and branding it's used by corporations sports teams and even entire countries to create a sense of identity and community yet musicians use it sparingly still often brand themselves for a period with album artwork or even keep a single logo across an entire career but they seldom have the singular color identity that other brands have this isn't the case with Jack White from the very beginning the white stripes were red white and black they wore only these 3 colors when performing on stage they featured only these 3 colors in there album artwork all of their music videos were dominated by these 3 colors even the bands name conjures up the color scheme white told the Rolling Stone why he used these particular colors they are the most powerful color combination of all time from a coca Cola can to a Nazi banner those colors strike chords with people in Japan there honorable colors when you see a bride in a white gang own you immediately see innocence and that red is anger and passion it's also sexual and black is the absence of all of that when the white stripes broke up Jack White maintained this devotion to color but with new schemes striking out solo he adopted the color combination of blue and black this cooler darker combination reflects shifts in his music to gone is the innocent minimalism for a darker of more cynical take on the world like with the stripes colors Jack White solo colors are present in music videos album artwork promotional material and even live performances according to The New York Times white's solo backing band was allowed to wear anything they wanted on tour under one condition it had to be blue so what's the point of all this meticulous color coding besides looking cool white gives some insight into this in an interview with you well I think that the newer generation especially needs to see music they need to see it in front of them as well as hear it if my brothers hadn't put albums in front of me when I was a kid I would have known anything about them design gives fans another way to interact with music when they're striking visuals you're more likely to pay attention to an artist to really listen to them humans are visual animals and having this visual can help dry out the different visceral reaction from the audience for me it's nearly impossible to even listen to the white stripes without thinking of thick bars of red white and black even more than that just playing the music over scenes with different color schemes can feel out of place and wrong let's listen to 7 nation army feel the way that the minimal visuals match the minimalism in the song well the intense beat is matched with the bright intensity of the red color from I don't I don't know and the issue calming now let's try this again but changing that read into a blue it's still a striking visual but it doesn't have the same visceral impact for me yes let's try the same experiment with one of his solo songs love interruption called blue matches the calmer feel to this song so what happens when we make it a brighter more intense red wow it just doesn't fit in the same way you'd think the schemes make it boring but Jack White is always finding new ways to interpret the colors look at conquest where the band uses the motif of red to conjure up images of matadors matching the feel of the music now let's look at freedom at 21 power in this video comes from Jack White subverting his own color scheme with the bright green car when you're used to all of the blues and blacks stands out like a punch in the face yes Jack white's relentless devotion to color scheme it's helped him stand out across his career and his willingness to experiment with in these schemes has created new ways to experience his music for him music is as much a form of visual expression as it is fun auditory expression music is meant to be seen and felt in the same way that it's meant to be heard whites obsessive design gives us a new way to understand and appreciate his sound and it helps cement his place as one of the most important and memorable acts of all time the //
"2017-06-01 20:43:29"
How Cohen and Bowie Faced Mortality
\\when ... I've always been interested in the relationship between art and death it's the artist's job to capture question and reflect on life so how do they react when it ends 2016 gave us 2 new answers to this long standing question thanks to David Bowie and Leonard Cohen both Bowie and Cohen released albums within a month of their own death by looking at the title track's of black star and you want it darker we may be able to come to a better understanding of our own relationship with mark how the Leonard Cohen is one of the most meticulous songwriters of all time he's known for spending years writing individual songs and poems making sure everything is exactly where it should be you want it darker is not just any song but the culmination of many meditations on Cohen's own mortality the result is a hauntingly accusatory song towards his own god let's look at the first verse you if you are broken Cohen compares the world too over rigged game god at the helm she will not fix or save Cohen from death even though that should be well within his power if scientists to good or you want to talk Coen and all other believers spend their time freezing and glorifying god yet when the time comes and god asks for it to be darker they must obey and kill the flame the second verse uses a number of phrases borrowed from a Jewish prayer called cabbage kat issue is a mourner's prayer originally spoken in Aramaic it is traditionally recited to remember and mourn the dead despite the fact that there is no reference to death in it instead it offers praise to god co in practice to Judaism his entire life so this is him facing up to his god and submitting this feeling is compounded when we move to the chorus where Coen sings CNN in many is a Hebrew phrase meaning here I am Cohen is standing face to face with the lord and looking him in the eye Gideon Zeller Meyer is the cantor of the synagogue that provided the choir for this song he told the Montreal Gazette his take on Colin's head nanny I think him many is more a reference to Leonard as someone trying to come to an understanding with someone of reckoning with the final tallies in the book of life here I am I am ready though Cohen may claim to be ready he's not going without question throughout the song Cohen asks a question that many have before why must god do this take a look at this couplet Zulu for suffering paradox I believe him but that's isn't it idle Colin addresses the paradox of belief in an almighty god the fact that god has the power to stop so much pain and suffering in the world but chooses not to he points out that the scripture tells us this and reality reinforces it Cohen's anger at this deal comes out strongest in the next for and I didn't know why has current if god allows so much pain and suffering in the world why should human morals dictate that we should act any different in the final verse of the song Coen once again drives home the inevitability of death thanks to a repetition of the first verse and then he closes out on one final hidden and nobody wants to die Cohen included he understands his role and so he will submit so how can we soften the blow of this inevitable death but we offers up an option in black star cryptic and haunting Blackstar marked the last shift in a career full of reinvention is for Bowie pushing his sound into experimental jazz territories like with Cohen bow windows he is dying and accepts that it must happen just take a look at Boeing's cost you bandaged frail and well the bandage serves to represent wounds it can be also taken as a blindfold store cleat blindfolds are worn by those condemned Bowie is acknowledging that his fate is out of his own hands can't fully escape death like with Colin Bowie turns to religious symbolism and ceremony to better understand this predicament nmhg WNED theology snake eve to from the tree of knowledge this act leads to the fall of man wherein god expels mankind from paradise and dooms them to mortality Bowie is framing his song in the village of the serpent the post paradise world of mortal life it's at this point that some insight from Cohen becomes useful well but we has used some Christian imagery throughout his career culling is famous for in his 1963 novel the favorite game he had this to say about the topic our natural vocabulary is Judeo Christian that is our blood myth we have to rediscover the law from inside our own heritage and we have to rediscover the crucifixion Cohen even go so far as to say the crucifixion is a universal symbol because that's where mankind 6 on the cross Bowie has never been religious and I don't think black star is a submission to religious beliefs but instead it's using our cultural vocabulary to explore our relationship dad this becomes especially important when we look at the Christ like imagery that Bowie uses and saw some spring I'm all in this set Bowie acknowledges its own death find some salvation I would of Bowie's dad comes another great artist titular Blackstar in the midst of this dark song Bowie offers optimism you now we death may be one can experience a Christ like rebirth through the way that they other look at the video for black star features the bejewelled skull of an astronaut it could easily be Bowie or his character major Tom on a distant planet beneath the black star someone finds the skull and then brings it back to their people starting a new ceremony and new life while mankind can't cheat death we can still find immortality in the way that people remember us the legacy that they carry on humankind is fundamentally unprepared to understand our own death when faced with this find Audi we look for places to turn we can turn to family friends and religion sometimes maybe the most powerful place to find understanding is art //



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